Council members condemned the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) for the murder of a Japanese journalist on 1 February (SC/11762) and the murder of a Jordanian air force pilot on 3 February (SC/11764). On 12 February, the Council adopted resolution 2199 targeting some of the sources of funding of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. The resolution focuses on the way in which illegal oil exporting, traffic of cultural heritage, ransom payments and external donations improve the operational capacity of ISIS and Al-Nusra. It also imposed the obligation on neighbouring countries to report to the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on the interdiction of vehicles used to transfer economic resources departing from or going to ISIS or Al-Nusra held areas of Syria and Iraq. On 25 February, in a press statement, Council members condemned the abduction by ISIS of hundreds of Assyrians in northeast Syria (SC/11799).
In February, Council members issued three press statements condemning Boko Haram attacks: SC/11763 on 2 February, SC/11768 on 5 February and SC/11780 on 13 February. In addition, the 2 February statement urged enhanced regional cooperation to combat the group and commended Chad’s assistance. The 5 February statement also welcomed the expert meeting being held in Cameroon to complete the concept of operations for the Multinational Joint Task Force.
On 4 February, the Council was briefed by Special Representative Nicholas Kay, the head of the UNSOM, on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2015/51) (S/PV.7375). Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and head of AMISOM, briefed the Council via video teleconference from Mogadishu. The briefing was followed by consultations with Kay. Council members issued three press statements during the month. The 5 February statement expressed concern at the ongoing political crisis in Somalia, particularly delays in the formation of a government (SC/11769). On 10 February, Council members welcomed the approval of the cabinet by the federal parliament of Somalia (SC/11773). On 20 February, Council members strongly condemned the terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu, which caused the death of dozens of people, including members of government (SC/11791). At press time, Council members were due to hold consultations on 26 February with Ambassador Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño (Venezuela), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee. They are expected to discuss recommendations due on 27 February from the Monitoring Group regarding exemptions to the arms embargo for commercial ships in Somali ports.
On 5 February, the Council was briefed (S/PV.7376) by Special Representative Miguel Trovoada on the Secretary-General’s latest Guinea-Bissau report and strategic assessment of UNIOGBIS (S/2015/37). Statements were also made by Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil) as chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country configuration for Guinea-Bissau, and representatives of Guinea-Bissau, ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. The briefing was followed by consultations with Trovoada. The Council adopted resolution 2203 on 18 February, renewing UNIOGBIS until 29 February 2016.
On 6 February, the Council adopted a presidential statement ahead of the start of the fifth round of the inter-Malian negotiation process in Algiers scheduled for 8 February (S/PRST/2015/5). The statement expressed the pressing need to reach a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement that addresses the root causes of the crisis in Mali. It underlines the need for the government of Mali and the armed groups that are party to the June 2013 Ouagadougou Preliminary Agreement to engage with sustained political will, a spirit of compromise and in good faith through senior and fully empowered representatives in the inter-Malian negotiation process in Algiers.
On 6 February, Special Representative and head of UNMIK Farid Zarif briefed the Council on the most recent UNMIK report (S/2015/74) and latest developments (S/PV.7377). First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dačić and First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi also addressed the Council.
During 10 February consultations, under “any other business”, Council members were briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on Burkina Faso. Feltman had been in Burkina Faso on 4 February, the same day that members of the presidential guard called for the resignation of the interim prime minister. He told Council members that Burkina Faso’s transition is still fragile and stressed the need for the Council to support the transition, which envisages elections to restore constitutional order in October. Feltman also briefed on his visits to Ghana and Togo and said there are political tensions in Togo ahead of presidential elections in March.
On 10 February, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members in consultations on UNISFA. Ladsous reiterated key recommendations outlined in the Secretary-General’s 30 January UNISFA report (S/2015/77). He underscored the recommendation that the mission engage more systematically in disarming individuals and armed groups. He also highlighted that the mission’s mandate could be adjusted to enable UNISFA police to engage in community protection committees—which have been established to fill the vacuum created by the lack of legal and security institutions in Abyei—and are particularly important given the rising criminality in the area. On 26 February, the Council adopted resolution 2205 and renewed the mandate of UNISFA until 15 July 2015.
On 12 February, the Council was briefed by Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, his Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar and Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani (Qatar) on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (S/PV.7381). The briefing was followed by consultations. Three days later, the Council adopted resolution 2201 on 15 February in response to the political crisis. The resolution strongly deplored the Houthis’s actions to dissolve parliament on 6 February and take over government institutions, urged the acceleration of negotiations to reach a consensus solution regarding the political impasse, and placed a number of demands on the Houthis. It further requested the Secretary-General to report back on implementation of the resolution while declaring the Council’s readiness to take further measures in the case on non-implementation by any Yemeni party. On 20 February, the 2140 Yemen Panel of Experts transmitted its final report (S/2015/125) to the Council. On 24 February, the Council adopted resolution 2204, renewing the assets freeze and travel ban until 26 February 2016 and extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts until 25 March 2016. In a 25 February press statement, Council members welcomed that President of Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi was no longer under house arrest and demanded that the Houthis immediately release the prime minister and members of the cabinet (SC/11798).
On 17 February, the Council held its regular quarterly briefing and consultations on Iraq (S/PV.7383). Special Representative Nickolay Mladenov presented the most recent UNAMI report (S/2015/82) and the report on Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property (S/2015/70). It was Mladenov’s last briefing as the head of UNAMI, and he delivered several messages to the Iraqi government. He said it was important to reign in fighters acting outside the constitution (a reference to Shi’a militias carrying out revenge attacks on Sunnis); rebuild the security forces on a truly national basis; revise the laws related to de-Baathification and finalise national guard legislation to empower provinces to be responsible for their own security and bring arms under the control of the government.
On 18 February, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council in the regular monthly meeting on the Middle East (S/PV.7386). Feltman remarked that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues to threaten further escalation, which could potentially have irreversible consequences for both parties and for the two-state solution. He also reported that the Palestinians are facing acute fiscal challenges that must be urgently addressed and that in February, the Israeli government announced that, for a second month, it would withhold the transfer of the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for the Palestinian accession to the ICC. Feltman also reported that the Middle East Quartet met on 8 February to prioritise the urgent resumption of negotiations and a strengthening of its engagement to prepare for a revival of the peace process. Turning to Gaza, he stated that the Secretary-General continues to be very concerned about the fragile security situation, the volatile political dynamics and the persistently slow pace of reconstruction.
On 18 February, the Council adopted a presidential statement marking the termination of the mandate of BNUB on 31 December 2014 (S/PRST/2015/6). The Council welcomed the significant progress achieved in Burundi while noting that several challenges remain to ensure that progress is not reversed, including reports of intimidation, harassment, political violence, arbitrary arrest and detention and other curtailments of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression of political actors. The Council also stressed the crucial need for a free, transparent, credible, inclusive and peaceful electoral process in 2015.
On Monday (23 February), the Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on the UN Charter presided over by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (S/PV.7389). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed and 78 member states spoke. The open debate, which was held to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN and to commemorate the end of World War II, focused on the history of the Charter and how the world has changed since it was adopted and reaffirmed members’ commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter. China circulated a concept note prior to the debate (S/2015/87).
On 24 February, the Council was briefed by Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (S/PV.7391). Dačić presented the main objectives of the OSCE in 2015 and addressed the crisis in Ukraine.
On 24 February, the Council was briefed on the situation in South Sudan by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović (S/PV.7392). Ladsous highlighted the main findings of the Secretary-General’s report on UNMISS (S/2015/118), while Šimonović discussed his visit to the country in early February. In the consultations that followed the briefing, a draft resolution was circulated to members calling for the establishment of a sanctions regime on South Sudan.
Central African Republic
On 26 February, Council members were briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous under “any other business” at the request of the Secretary-General for a troop increase for MINUSCA contained in his 29 January letter to the Council (S/2015/85).