The Council issued three press statements in January in response to escalating sectarian terrorist attacks linked to the spillover effects of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon (SC/11239, SC/11249 and SC/11256). All of the statements stressed national unity and the importance for all parties to respect Lebanon’s policy of disassociation and to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis. Separately, on 16 January, the Council welcomed the opening of the trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in a terrorist attack that also killed 21 others (SC/11250).
On 2 January, the Council issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks on 1 January in Mogadishu by Al-Shabaab (SC/11240). The Council also reiterated its resolve to continue supporting efforts by the AU Mission in Somalia and the Somali National Security Forces to reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.
On 9 January, Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed Council members in consultations on the deteriorating security situation in Fallujah and Ramadi. The Council adopted a presidential statement the next day supporting government efforts to address the security situation and condemning attacks perpetrated by Al-Qaida affiliate ISIL (S/PRST/2014/1). The Council also stressed the critical importance of an inclusive political process, the holding of free and fair elections in April 2014 and the right to peaceful protest as guaranteed under the constitution.
On 13 January, the Council was briefed on the situation in the DRC and the latest MONUSCO report (S/2013/757) by Special Representative Martin Kobler (S/PV.7094). Special Envoy Mary Robinson also briefed on the latest report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region (S/2013/773). Council members were briefed on 23 January by the chair of the DRC Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), on the Group of Experts (GoE) final report (S/2014/42). The Committee met with the GoE to discuss the report and their recommendations on 17 January. The committee itself met with the GoE to discuss the report and their recommendations on 17 January. The Council renewed the sanctions regime and the mandate of the GoE on 30 January (S/RES/2136).
The Security Council issued a press statement condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attack by the Taliban at a Kabul restaurant on 17 January that caused numerous deaths and injuries to Afghan civilians and international personnel, including UN employees (SC/11251).
On 20 January Jordan’s foreign minister presided over the Council’s quarterly open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.7096). The Secretary-General briefed and said, in reference to the US framework for the peace process, that the year 2014 would be decisive in helping Israelis and Palestinians draw back from a perilous and unsustainable status quo.
UNRCCA (Central Asia)
On 21 January, Council members held consultations with Miroslav Jenča, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNRCCA. The Council released a press statement supporting the ongoing work of UNRCCA (SC/11255).
On 22 January, Council members were briefed in consultations by Lisa Buttenheim, the Special Representative and head of UNFICYP, on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2013/781). In addition, Alexander Downer, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, also briefed Council members on the status of negotiations. On 30 January, the Council adopted resolution 2135 extending the mandate of UNFICYP for another six months.
On 27 January, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2133 proposed by the UK calling on states not to pay ransom to terrorist kidnappers (S/PV.7101). The resolution, which does not impose new obligations on member states, reaffirms resolution 1373, in particular its provisions that all states shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts. It also calls on all member states to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions and to secure the safe release of hostages. Argentina offered an explanation of vote after the adoption.
On 27 January, the Security Council was briefed by Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, the Special Representative and head of UNOCI, on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2013/761) via video-conference (S/PV.7102). Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba (Côte d’Ivoire) also made a statement. As requested by resolution 2112, the Secretary-General’s report included refined strategic benchmarks to measure progress in the achievement of long-term stability in the country, as well as information on the ongoing analysis of the comparative advantages of UNOCI and the UN country team. The briefing was followed by consultations.
On 28 January, Council members were briefed by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference and the next steps ahead of Yemen’s political transition.
Maintenance of International Peace and Security
At the initiative of Jordan, President of the Council in January, the Council held an open debate on 29 January on “War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace”. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council (S/PV.7105). Earlier in the month, Jordan circulated a concept note for the open debate to member states (S/2014/30).