Central African Republic
On 5 January, Council members were briefed under “any other business” on the situation in the CAR by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous. On 27 January, the Council adopted resolution 2262 renewing the CAR sanctions regime. Ahead of the renewal, Council members considered the final report of the 2127 Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts (S/2015/936). At press time, it seemed likely that the Council would soon adopt another resolution on CAR to authorise an increase in the number of corrections officers in MINUSCA.
On 8 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks claimed by a group with an allegiance to ISIS. On 15 January, Special Representative and head of UNSMIL Martin Kobler, briefed Council members by video teleconference under “any other business” on challenges to the implementation of the peace agreement in Libya. On 20 January, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the announcement by the Presidency Council of the formation of the Government of National Accord and looking forward to the House of Representatives endorsing the Government of National Accord (SC/12214).
On 11 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed the Council (S/PV.7600) on the latest MINUSMA report (S/2015/1030). On 12 January, Council members issued a press statement urging the government of Mali, the Platform and Coordination armed groups to prioritise the implementation of key provisions of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali in order to bring concrete peace dividends to the populations of Mali (SC/12198).
On 13 January, the Council was briefed by Special Representative Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane (S/PV.7601) on the latest UNOCI report (S/2015/940). In light of the successful October 2015 presidential election, the report recommended a drawdown of UNOCI’s military component from 5,437 to 4,000 troops. On 20 January, the Council adopted resolution 2260 that approved the proposed troop reduction.
On 13 January, the Council held a meeting with the troop- and police-contributors to UNFICYP. On 15 January, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim and Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. Buttenheim briefed on the latest UNFICYP report (S/2016/11). Eide reported on the ongoing unification talks and presented the report of the Secretary-General’s good offices mission (S/2016/15). On 28 January, the Council adopted resolution 2263, extending UNFICYP’s mandate for six months.
On 14 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS in Jakarta (SC/12202).
On 14 January, Special Representative Mohammed Ibn Chambas briefed the Council on the latest UNOWA report (S/2015/1012). Following the briefing and consultations, Council members issued a press statement that stressed the importance of the upcoming elections in Niger, Benin, Cabo Verde, Ghana and the Gambia to be free, fair and peaceful (SC/12207). The press statement also highlighted issues such as the political tensions in Guinea-Bissau and efforts to combat Boko Haram. On 25 January, Council members discussed under “any other business”, the Secretary-General’s 14 January letter proposing the merger of the Office of the Special Envoy of the Sahel with UNOWA, which would rename the two offices the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In a 15 January press statement, Council members condemned the attack by Al-Shaabab against the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) (SC/12205). In a 22 January press statement, they condemned another Al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu in which at least 14 people were reported to have been killed (SC/12216). On 28 January the new head of UNSOM, Michael Keating, and the new head of AMISOM, Francisco Caetano José Madeira, briefed the Council via video teleconference (S/PV.7614). Keating presented the latest Secretary-General’s report on Somalia (S/2016/27). On 28 January, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the agreement on an electoral model announced on 27 January while stressing the importance of further progress in the electoral, federal and constitutional review processes and also condemning recent attacks by the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab. In addition, Somalia was briefly discussed at a meeting held in Addis Ababa with the AU on 23 January during the Council’s 21-23 January visiting mission to Africa.
On 16 January, the IAEA submitted a report to the Council confirming that Iran had taken the steps required under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for nuclear related sanctions to be lifted, thus marking the arrival of the plan’s implementation day (S/2016/57). In accordance with resolution 2231, previous Council resolutions on Iran were automatically terminated and the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee disbanded. A note by the president of the Council issued that same day outlined the practical arrangements and procedures for how the Council would carry out the tasks related to the implementation of the new provisions that came into effect on implementation day (S/2016/44). On 17 January, Council members issued a press statement announcing the removal of Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International from the UN sanctions list related to Iran, now referred to as the 2231 List (SC/12209). On 26 January, the Council received a letter from Federica Mogherini, in her capacity as coordinator of the JCPOA’s joint commission, relating to the procurement channel established in accordance with the agreement.
On 16 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, during which at least 29 people were killed and many more injured, and for which Al-Mourabitoune, a terrorist group affiliated to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility (SC/12208).
Protection of Civilians
On 19 January, the Security Council held an open debate on the protection of civilians (S/PV.7606). Uruguay, which held the presidency for the month, prepared a concept paper in preparation for the debate (S/2016/22), highlighting themes underscored in the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the protection of civilians (S/2015/453), as well as the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (S/2015/446) and the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the High-Level Panel’s recommendations (S/2015/682). Briefers included Deputy-Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, ICRC Vice-President Christine Beerli and Oxfam Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor Eveline Rooijmans. Statements were made by 64 member states and two regional organisations.
On 21 January, Council members issued a press statement in which they condemned a terrorist attack carried out by the Taliban on 20 January (SC/12215).
Security Council Visiting Mission
Council members went on a visiting mission to Burundi and the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 21 and 23 January. Angola, France and the US served as co-leads on the Burundi leg of the mission, the highlight of which was a meeting with Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, and Egypt led the Addis Ababa portion of the trip, where Council members held an informal meeting with the AU Peace and Security Council. The Council was briefed on the visiting mission on 29 January (S/PV.7614).
On 25 January, the Council adopted resolution 2261 establishing a political mission to monitor and verify the laying down of arms and the bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP (S/PV.7609). The adoption follows a 19 January letter to the Council from Colombia that included the Joint Communiqué issued by the government and FARC-EP in Havana on 19 January (S/2016/53).
On 26 January, the Secretary-General briefed the Council at a ministerial-level open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine (S/PV.7610).
Arria-Formula on Missing Persons
On 27 January, the UK hosted an Arria-formula meeting open to UN member states, UN entities, civil society and the media on the “The Global Challenge of Accounting for Missing Persons from Conflict, Human Rights Abuses, Disasters, Organized Crime, Migration and other Involuntary Causes.” Brief introductory remarks were made by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft (UK) and Ambassador Thomas Miller, the Chair of the Board of Commissioners of the International Commission on Missing Persons. Panelists included Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Sister Consuelo Morales, the President of CADHAC, a Mexican human rights organisation; Vittorio Piscitelli, Italian Government Commissioner on Missing Persons; and David Tolbert, the President of the International Center for Transitional Justice.