Visiting Mission to Africa
Council members are planning to visit Addis Ababa, Kigali, Goma, Kampala and Kinshasa in early October. A briefing on the mission is expected on 21 October with a written report to follow.
Since 2000, Council members have travelled to Africa at least once a year. Some of these missions were to one location—for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2006 and 2010—but recent visits have covered two to three places. Since 2007, the itineraries of the visiting missions to Africa have included Addis Ababa every other year, for an annual consultation with the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).
The practice of co-leads for African visiting missions, which started in 2007, continues for most of this mission. France and Morocco will co-lead on the DRC leg (Goma and Kinshasa) while Azerbaijan and Rwanda will do so on the Addis Ababa leg. The US will lead on the Rwanda leg (Kigali) and the UK in Uganda (Kampala).
From 1993 to 1999, only non-permanent members led these missions. In 2000 the US was the first P5 member to lead a mission when Council members visited the DRC. It is now rare for the P5 not to lead Council missions when visiting destinations of which they are the penholder of the relevant agenda-item. Currently there are over 40 penholder arrangements (see our February 2013 Monthly Forecast), with about 30 being split more or less equally among the P3, making it highly likely that the P3 would be involved in leading on Council missions.
The DRC, Rwanda and Uganda Legs
In visiting the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, Council members may be looking to encourage the political momentum of recent weeks in the DRC as well as follow-up on the 25 July high-level Council debate on the Great Lakes and the DRC (S/PV.7011 and Resumption 1). The visit is also expected to send a key message to all parties that the Council is closely following the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes region (PSC Framework) signed in February. Meetings are expected with senior members of the government, including possibly the heads of state, of all three countries.
The visit to the DRC will be the first since the Council last visited on 13-16 May 2010. For a decade, between 2000 and 2010, the Council visited the DRC every year, making it the situation with the most Council visits. While in the DRC, Council members are expected to visit both Kinshasa and Goma. A key focus will be the security and humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC due to the activities of the March 23 Movement (M23) and other armed groups. Council members are expected to also want to show support for the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and follow-up on resolution 2098, which called for the reconfiguration of MONUSCO and the creation of an “intervention brigade”. Of particular interest will be recent military operations jointly conducted by the DRC armed forces and MONUSCO against the M23 and other armed groups. Given the effects of the conflict in eastern DRC on civilians, Council members may also focus on protection of civilians, sexual violence and child protection.
While in Rwanda, Council members may want to discuss the impact of the DRC situation on Rwanda. Since Rwanda came on the Council in January, consensus-based decisions on the DRC have been difficult, often leading to a delayed reaction from the Council on the DRC. Some Council members may want to emphasise the importance of stability for the eastern DRC and the need for Rwanda and the DRC to work together with the UN to ensure this.
The visit to Uganda is expected to also focus on relations between the countries in the region and is likely to cover Uganda’s concerns over recent developments, particularly in the DRC. Another area of discussion is likely to be the UN regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army and the role of Uganda in this effort.
Council members may also want to discuss the Kampala peace talks between the M23 rebels and the DRC, which re-started on 10 September, given that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and mediator of the talks. While supportive of the process, Council members are somewhat ambivalent about the Kampala talks. Most Council members oppose an agreement that would allow the reintegration of M23 rebels into the DRC military without addressing accountability issues and are concerned that reintegrated rebels may remain loyal to non-government forces.
The communiqué adopted at the end of the 2012 meeting between members of the AU PSC and UN Security Council stated that the next consultative meeting would be held at the headquarters of the AU no later than July 2013 (S/2012/444). While there was some talk of a Council visiting mission to Africa in February and in May, difficulties in agreeing on Council visits for the year as well as scheduling problems appear to have led to this visit taking place considerably later than anticipated.
Azerbaijan, as the President of the Council in October, and Rwanda will co-lead the Addis Ababa segment of the trip, which will be focused largely on the institutional relationship between the two Councils. The AU PSC is the only international body with which members of the Security Council have regular interaction. They have been meeting since 2007, alternating between their respective headquarters.
On 17 September the AU sent a letter to the Council on preparations for the upcoming consultative meeting with the members of the Security Council, which contained a proposed draft agenda. It contains a number of issues of overlapping interest to both Councils. These include the situation in the Central African Republic, the Great Lakes, Mali and the Sahel, Somalia and Sudan/South Sudan. Recent Council decisions on some of these issues, notably Mali, have led to complaints from the PSC that Africa had not been properly consulted. It is unclear if some of this discontent might lead to a more contentious meeting that could result in less productive discussions.
UN Documents on Council Visiting Missions
|Security Council Resolution|
|28 March 2013 S/RES/2098||This resolution renewed MONUSCO’s mandate and created an intervention brigade.|
|Security Council Letter|
|13 June 2012 S/2012/444||This letter was from Ambassador Baso Sangqu (South Africa) containing the joint communiqué issued after the sixth consultative meeting between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council.|
|28 June 2013 S/2013/387||This was a report on the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|25 July 2013 S/PV.7011||This was a high-level debate on the Great Lakes and the DRC presided by US Secretary of State John Kerry.|
|25 July 2013 S/PV.7011 (Resumption 1)||This was a high-leveldebate on the Great Lakes and the DRC presided by US Secretary of State John Kerry.|