Golan Heights (UNDOF)
Council members were briefed on 3 September by peacekeeping head Hervé Ladsous under “any other business” on a series of events that began on 27 August, when armed opposition forces overran government forces at the Quneitra crossing on the Syrian side of the armistice line. The next day, Al-Nusra Front detained 45 Fijian peacekeepers and besieged 72 Filipino peacekeepers. In response to the incidents, Council members released three press statements (SC/11540, SC/11546 and SC/11548). The Filipino peacekeepers quickly escaped, while the Fijian peacekeepers were held for two weeks only to be released on 11 September. On 17 September, Council members were briefed in consultations by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmund Mulet on the regular UNDOF report (S/2014/665) and on the relocation of UNDOF personnel and equipment to the Alpha (Israeli) side of the mission’s area of operations. On 19 September, the Council adopted a presidential statement requesting the Secretary-General to update the Council within 30 days on the steps necessary to maintain UNDOF’s ability to carry out its mandate while adjusting the mission’s posture to minimise risk to personnel (S/PRST/2014/19).
On 4 September, the troop-contributing countries for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) held a meeting chaired by US Ambassador Samantha Power (S/PV.7258). Special Representative Karin Landgren briefed via video teleconference and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous was present. The principal topic was the measures being taken to protect the health of peacekeepers from being infected with ebola. On 9 September, Landgren briefed the Council on the UNMIL report (S/2014/598), as well as on the rapid escalation of the ebola outbreak (S/PV.7260). Also briefing were Mårten Grunditz, Permanent Representative of Sweden in his capacity as Chair of the Liberia PBC configuration, and Liberia’s National Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai. The briefing was followed by consultations where Council members discussed the Secretary-General’s recommendation to adopt a technical rollover of the mission in light of the ebola outbreak (S/2014/644). On 15 September, the Council adopted resolution 2176, which requested an update on the situation by 15 November and renewed the mandate of UNMIL for a period of three months.
Children and Armed Conflict
On 8 September, the Council held an open debate on children and armed conflict (S/PV.7259). Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Yoka Brandt and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed, as well as Forest Whitaker as UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a victim of the conflict in the DRC. In addition to Council members, 44 member states spoke, as well as representatives from the EU and the League of Arab States. In presenting the latest report on children and armed conflict (S/2014/339), Zerrougui highlighted the impact of activities of groups like ISIS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria on children, as well as the toll on children as a result of the conflict in Gaza. Many member states also focused on emergent threats, such as ISIS and Boko Haram and the situations in Syria and Gaza. The “Children, Not Soldiers” initiative was also highlighted and progress in some countries was noted.
On 15 September, the Council was briefed (S/PV.7264) by Bernardino León, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2014/653) and by Rwanda as the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee. The briefings were followed by consultations.
Central African Republic
On 15 September, Council members issued a press statement (SC/11562) welcoming the transition of authority from the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). They stressed the importance for MINUSCA to accelerate the deployments of its civilian, police and military capabilities, including the necessary logistical support and command and control structure, in order to reach its full operational capacity as soon as possible.
On 15 September, the chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), presented his quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work to the Council (S/PV.7265). There were no Committee meetings during the reporting period. The Council also received two reports on Iran from the Director General of the IAEA. On 5 September they received the quarterly report on implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Council resolutions on Iran. According to this report, Iran had only implemented three of the five practical measures (S/2014/681) agreed with the agency in May under the Framework for Cooperation initially agreed in November 2013. The two outstanding measures related to information sharing on its research into high explosive detonators that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon and on studies that could be relevant to calculate the explosive yield of a nuclear weapon. Iran had also yet to propose new practical measures. On 23 September, Council members received the report on the status of Iran’s implementation of the joint plan of action agreed with the P5+1 in November 2013. It concluded that Iran had continued to comply with the measures agreed under the plan. On 18 September, a new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 began in New York and continued over the ministerial week of the General Assembly’s general debate.
The Council held its quarterly debate on Afghanistan (S/PV.7267) on 18 September. Jan Kubiš, Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), briefed via video teleconference from Kabul on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in Afghanistan (S/2014/656). Kubiš advocated for the formation of a government of national unity to break the electoral stalemate between the two presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, arguing that “all other options are either accompanied by heavy risks or undermine the country’s constitutional framework.” On 21 September, Council members issued a press statement (SC/11572) in which it welcomed the agreement by Ghani and Abdullah to form a government of national unity.
On 19 September, US Secretary of State John Kerry chaired a ministerial-level Council debate on Iraq—the culmination of US coalition-building that resulted in some 50 countries, including ten Arab countries, agreeing to back the US-led action against ISIS in military, humanitarian and support capacities (S/PV.7271). Special Representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov briefed along with the new Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. In addition to Council members, 24 other member states participated, largely representing the “coalition countries”. Iran and Syria also participated. Council members adopted a presidential statement that day, urging the international community to strengthen and expand support for Iraq as it fights ISIS (S/PRST/2014/20).
On 24 September, the Council held a summit-level open debate chaired by US President Barack Obama (S/PV.7272). The Council adopted resolution 2178, expanding the current counter-terrorism framework by imposing obligations on member states to respond to the threat of foreign terrorist fighters. On 6 and 14 September, Council members condemned ISIS for the murders of a US journalist, Steven Sotloff (SC/11550) and a UK aid worker, David Haines (SC/11557). On 24 September, Council members condemned the murder of French citizen Hervé Gourdel by Jund al-Khilafa, a group claiming allegiance to ISIS (SC/11581).