Children and Armed Conflict
On 2 August, the Security Council held an open debate on children and armed conflict (S/PV.7753) focused on the annual report of the Secretary-General (S/2016/360). Among the topics highlighted in both the report and the debate were the impact of extreme violence and displacement of children. The Secretary-General, his Special Representative, Leila Zerrougui, and Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake briefed the Council. Sixty-nine delegations delivered statements during the debate. The concept note (S/2016/662) for the debate noted the achievements over the last 20 years and highlighted key developments in the children and armed conflict agenda in 2015 and 2016.
DPRK (North Korea)
On 3 August, during consultations, Council members received a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun at the request of Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US on the two ballistic missile launches conducted on 2 August by the DPRK. On 24 August, they received a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on the DPRK’s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine on 23 August. The 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee met on 26 August to consider implementation of resolution 2270 and discuss the mid-term report submitted by its panel of experts. In a press statement issued later that day, Council members condemned the 2 and 23 August ballistic missile launches, as well as launches conducted on 9 and 18 July, as grave violations of the DPRK’s international obligations under relevant Council resolutions (SC/12494). They called on UN member states to redouble their efforts to implement the measures imposed by the Council on the DPRK, in particular those contained in resolution 2270. On 30 August, the chair of the Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), briefed Council members in consultations on the Committee’s work.
On 3 August, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, briefed Council members in consultations on peace talks in Kuwait. Following the meeting, members were unable to agree to press elements. Three days later the talks concluded without an agreement and fighting soon intensified. On 5 August, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee met with the Yemen Panel of Experts to consider the Panel’s “midterm update”, which was circulated in a report to committee members on 27 July. Of the Panel’s three recommendations, committee members subsequently approved two of them while taking note of the recommendation to issue an implementation assistance notice regarding information to include in member states’ reports of interdictions. On 25 August, following a meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the UK, the US and the Special Envoy in Jeddah, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement on a “renewed approach to negotiations” that would “simultaneously” address security and political tracks. On 31 August, the Special Envoy briefed the Council on the details of the new initiative, which was followed by consultations.
Central African Republic
On 5 August, the coordinator of the Panel of Experts of the 2127 Central African Republic Sanctions Committee briefed members on the Panel’s mid-term report. Also on 5 August, Zainab Bangura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence, briefed members, emphasising the important role of the UN and humanitarian actors in ending impunity with regard to sexual violence in the Central African Republic. On 23 August, the Committee imposed targeted sanctions on Ali Kony and Salim Kony, deputies in the Lord’s Resistance Army (SC/12487).
Council members held straw polls on 6 and 29 August in the process to select the next Secretary-General. The candidates were undifferentiated as between the elected and permanent members. By the second straw poll two candidates had withdrawn, leaving ten candidates to be voted on in the third straw poll. In the second straw poll, the number of “discourage” votes went up by 64 percent, while the number of “encourage” votes dipped by 23 percent and the number of “no opinion expressed” ballots fell by 24 percent. In the third straw poll, there was no change in the “encourage” votes, the number of discourage votes went up by 13 percent, and no opinion expressed votes decreased by 25 percent.
On 8 August, Council members condemned the terrorist attacks that occurred between 5 and 7 August against MINUSMA in the northern region of Kidal, killing one peacekeeper and injuring another six (SC/12473).
On 8 August, the 1267/1989/2253 Al-Qaida/ISIL Sanctions Committee considered the latest reports by the Ombudsperson (S/2016/671) and the Monitoring Team (S/2016/629). The Committee also received the Monitoring Team’s quarterly oral assessment of the implementation of resolutions 2199 and 2178. On 22 August, Council members condemned a terrorist attack at a wedding ceremony in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey on 20 August, during which at least 54 people were killed and over 200 injured (SC/12484). They also condemned the terrorist attacks that took place over the prior week in Turkey, during which several Turkish police officers and civilians were killed.
On 11 August, Council members held consultations on the situation in Ukraine at the initiative of the Ukrainian delegation. Abassador Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) briefed Council members on rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia over the alleged acts of sabotage and terrorism in Crimea committed by Ukrainian forces. Yelchenko denied the accusations made by Russia while blaming Russia for its attempt to escalate the tensions in eastern Ukraine. Russia condemned Ukraine for alleged offensive actions and for obstructing the Minsk agreement. Yelchenko noted that Ukraine would initiate another meeting on Ukraine, with briefers from the OSCE and DPA, if the situation on the ground deteriorated.
On 11 August, Council members held consultations on Sudan and South Sudan. Nicholas Haysom, Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, briefed. Following the meeting, they issued a press statement welcoming the signing on 8 August of the Roadmap Agreement by opposition groups and commending the government of Sudan for having signed the agreement on 16 March (SC/12474).
On 19 August, the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee met to discuss the Secretary-General’s 16 August report on the Guinea-Bissau sanctions regime (S/2016/720). The report recommended maintaining the sanctions regime as a signal to spoilers regardless of political or institutional affiliation and adjusting the measures and designations as necessary; establishing a panel of experts; establishing benchmarks to lift sanctions; and reviewing current individuals subject to travel ban sanctions for their role in the 2012 coup to determine whether they still meet the designation criteria. On 30 August, the Council held a briefing followed by consultations on Guinea-Bissau. Modibo Touré, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, briefed on the Secretary-General’s 2 August report on the situation in Guinea-Bissau (S/2016/675). Also briefing were Deputy Permanent Representative Luis Bermúdez of Uruguay, which chairs the Committee and Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil) as chair of the PBC Guinea-Bissau country-configuration (S/PV.7764).
On 22 August, a meeting of troop-contributing countries to UNIFIL was held. On 24 August, Council members met in consultations to discuss the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate. On 30 August, the Council adopted resolution 2305, which renewed UNIFIL’s mandate for an additional year and requested the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review of UNIFIL by February 2017.
On 23 August, the Council held an open debate on the challenges in addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials (S/PV.7758). The meeting was chaired by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. The Council was briefed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Emmanuel Roux, Special Representative of INTERPOL to the UN; Gregory Koblentz, Director of the Biodefence Graduate Programme of George Mason University and Kim Won-soo, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Malaysia circulated a concept note ahead of the meeting (S/2016/712).
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 16 August, Council members issued a press statement condemning the killing of at least 50 civilians on 13 August in the area of Rwangoma village, North Kivu Province of the DRC, by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (SC/12477). On 24 August, the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee briefed Committee members on it programme of work.
On 25 August, Zahir Tanin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, briefed Council members on recent developments and the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2016/666). Tanin emphasised the need to renew efforts on the implementation of the existing agreements between Belgrade and Pristina. Tanin also informed Council members about the latest developments related to the impasse in the Assembly of Kosovo concerning the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. Ivica Dačić, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, addressed the Council, and Vlora Çitaku, Kosovo Ambassador to the US, also made a statement (S/PV.7760).
On 25 August, Farid Zarif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMIL, briefed the Council on the latest UNMIL report (S/2016/706) as well as recent developments (S/PV.7761). Joakim Vaverka (Sweden), Chair of the PBC Liberia Configuration, also briefed. Zarif devoted significant attention on the government of Liberia’s assumption of UNMIL’s security responsibilities on 30 June. While commending the successful transition, Zarif called on the Liberian government to implement pending legislative and institutional reforms. In his briefing, Vaverka said that the Commission would continue to promote national reconciliation, security sector development and the rule of law. In addition, Vaverka added that the Commission would pay special attention to the preparation of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
On 26 August, Council members were briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, on the recommendations included in an 18 August report of the Secretary-General on the size, operational aspects and mandate of the UN Mission in Colombia (S/2016/729).
On 26 August, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El-Ghassim Wane briefed Council members in consultations on the situation in Western Sahara. The briefing was requested by Venezuela in light of allegations by the Polisario that Morocco had traversed the berm in Al Guargarat, just north of the Mauritanian border, in violation of the ceasefire signed between both parties in 1991.