In a 1 January press statement, Council members condemned the attack that same day at a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey during which at least 39 people were killed and 69 injured. In a 9 January statement, Council members condemned the attack in the northern Sinai city of Al-Arish, Egypt during which nine policemen were killed and over 13 injured. On 26 January, the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee held a meeting to discuss its 2017 programme of work.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 4 January, the Council adopted a presidential statement welcoming the signing on 31 December 2016 of a comprehensive and inclusive political agreement on the electoral calendar in the DRC. On 11 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, briefed the Council on the latest MONUSCO report. Monseigneur Marcel Utembi, President of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo, also spoke. At press time, the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee was scheduled to meet on 30 January to discuss the latest midterm report by the Group of Experts assisting the Committee.
In a 4 January press statement, Council members welcomed the announcement of the final presidential results from the 20 November 2016 elections in Haiti. They urged all political actors to accept the results, refrain from violence and work together to build a stable and prosperous country.
On 8 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Jerusalem that day in which four Israelis were killed and 15 injured. On 17 January, the Council held its quarterly open debate on the Middle East, with Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov briefing. At the request of Bolivia, Mladenov also briefed Council members under “any other business” on 25 January on Israeli settlements following Israel’s approval of 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank a day earlier.
Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met on 9 January for the introduction of the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Colombia. This was followed by meetings on 16 and 24 January to discuss the Working Group’s draft conclusions to the report.
On 10 January, the Council held a ministerial-level open debate on conflict prevention and sustaining peace chaired by Margot Wallström, Sweden’s minister of foreign affairs. Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the Council for the first time, outlining his plans for reforms aimed at equipping the UN to do a better job at preventing conflict. Sweden, which produced a concept paper in preparation for the meeting, has announced its intention to draft a summary highlighting key points made in the discussion. Ninety-one member states, the EU and the OAS participated in the debate.
On 11 January, there was a Council briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in Colombia Jean Arnault, followed by consultations. Arnault updated Council members on the implementation of the mission’s mandate and the challenges highlighted in the Secretary-General’s latest report.
On 11 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Taliban in Kabul and Helmand the previous day, claiming the lives of over 133 people. The statement also condemned a10 January terrorist attack in Kandahar.
UNOWAS, including The Gambia
On 12 January, the Council received briefings from Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun and OCHA head Stephen O’Brien on the Lake Chad Basin crisis precipitated by the Boko Haram conflict. Fatima Yerima Askira of the Borno Women Development Initiative and Youth Programmes Coordinator at Search for Common Ground Nigeria also briefed via video teleconference from Maiduguri, Nigeria. A number of Council members expressed support for a proposed Council mission to the Lake Chad Basin region.
On 13 January, the Council was briefed by the head of UNOWAS, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the region. The meeting was followed by consultations where issues discussed included the political crisis in The Gambia, the independent evaluation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and Boko Haram. In subsequent elements to the press delivered by the Council president, Council members reiterated the full content of the Council’s 21 December 2016 presidential statement on The Gambia.
On 19 January, the Council adopted a resolution on the presidential elections in The Gambia, endorsing the decisions of ECOWAS and the AU recognising Adama Barrow as the legitimate president of the country. On 20 January, the Council adopted a presidential statement on developments in the region, welcoming among other things the conclusion of the independent evaluation on the UNISS. Following the adoption, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman updated members on the quickly evolving situation in the Gambia under “any other business” during consultations. On 25 January, Council members received a follow-up briefing on The Gambia from Chambas via video teleconference, which included discussing the 21 January joint declaration issued by ECOWAS, the AU and the UN following former President Yahya Jammeh’s agreement to transfer power to Barrow and to leave the country.
On 18 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed the Council on the situation in Mali. Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop of Mali and Ambassador Sabri Boukadoum (Algeria) also spoke. During consultations following the meeting, Council members were briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, and discussed challenges to the implementation of the 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation outlined in the Secretary-General’s 30 December 2016 report . In a subsequent press statement, they condemned the attack—claimed by terrorist group Al-Mourabitoun—against the camp of the Operational Coordination Mechanism in Gao which caused the deaths of dozens of persons. On 24 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the attack against a MINUSMA camp in Aguelhoc that caused the death of a Chadian peacekeeper.
On 18 January, the Council met to discuss implementation of resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear programme. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed on the Secretary-General’s 30 December 2016 report on implementation which covered the six-month period since the Council’s last meeting on Iran on 18 July 2016. In addition, there were briefings by the head of the EU delegation, Ambassador Joâo Pedro Vale de Almeida, on behalf of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in her capacity as coordinator of the JCPOA’s Joint Commission, and Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), who took over the role as 2231 facilitator from Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain) on 1 January. The Council received a written report from the Joint Commission on 27 December 2016 (S/2016/1113), and from the facilitator on 17 January (S/2017/49). In an 18 January letter, Iran asserted that the Secretary-General had misinterpreted his reporting mandate and should cover not only implementation of annex B of resolution 2231 but also annex A (S/2017/51). Iran also contended that the report contained unsubstantiated information and false allegations. On 31 January, under “any other business” during consultations and at the request of the US, Council members discussed the ballistic missile test conducted by Iran on 29 January, with a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenča.
On 20 January, the Council held a meeting with the troop- and police-contributors to UNFICYP. On 23 January, Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar and Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide briefed Council members in consultations. Spehar briefed on the latest UNFICYP report while Eide reported on the latest developments regarding the unification talks. On 26 January, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2338, renewing UNFICYP’s mandate for another six months.
On 27 January, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Michael Keating briefed the Council on the latest Secretary-General’s report on Somalia and the activities of UNSOM, while AU’s Special Representative to Somalia Francisco Madeira briefed on AMISOM. Asha Gelle Dirie, the Chair of Goodwill Ambassadors for the 30 percent reserved seats for women in the Somali elections, also addressed the Council. On 20 January, the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee met with members of the newly appointed Monitoring Group assisting the Committee.
On 27 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous briefed Council members during consultations under “any other business” on MINURSO’s return to full functionality and the situation in Al-Guergarat, at Uruguay’s request.