On 5 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the ISIL terrorist attack on Kabul the day before in which at least 15 people were killed and 25 injured (SC/13153). From 13 to 15 January, the Council conducted a visiting mission to Afghanistan. The main purpose of the mission was to reiterate the Council’s support for Afghanistan and its government’s efforts to restore peace and stability, and to provide the Council with better understanding of the situation on the ground. During the visit, the Council met with a wide range of stakeholders in the country. These included the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani; Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah; and other senior government officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani, Chairman of the High Peace Council Mohammad Khalili, and several other ministers. The Council also held meetings with representatives of women’s NGOs, civil society, electoral management bodies, UNAMA and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. The Council held a briefing on the mission on 17 January (S/PV.8158). On 19 January, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, chaired a ministerial-level debate on “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development” (S/PV.8162). Rabbani and representatives of the Central Asian countries also addressed the Council. During the debate the Council adopted a presidential statement which emphasised the importance of advancing regional, interregional and international cooperation to achieve stability and sustainable development in Afghanistan and the Central Asian region (S/PRST/2018/2). On 22 January, council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attack at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, which resulted in 22 people killed and nine injured (SC/13172). On 25 January, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attack in Jalalabad targeting international humanitarian organisation which resulted in at least five people killed and numerous injured (SC/13180).
On 5 January, the Security Council held a public meeting, requested by the US, on the recent protests in Iran (S/PV.8152). Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun briefed and Council members gave statements. A number of members expressed the view that the situation did not meet the criterion for Council consideration as a threat to international peace and security. While referring to the recent demonstrations, several members stressed the importance of upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iran nuclear deal. Iran’s Permanent Representative Gholamali Khoshroo also addressed the Council.
On 8 January, Security Council members issued a press statement congratulating Liberia for the peaceful conduct of the 26 December 2017 presidential runoff election (SC/13154). While referring to the upcoming withdrawal at the end of March of UNMIL, the statement encouraged the international community and donors to remain engaged and to assist Liberia’s continued efforts to achieve sustainable peace, including in support of the commitments made in the Liberia Peacebuilding Plan.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 9 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed the Council on recent developments in the DRC (S/PV.8153) and on the latest MONUSCO report (S/2018/16). The briefing was followed by consultations, in which Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour also participated. Council members issued a press statement on 16 January, calling on all stakeholders to remain committed to the 31 December 2016 Agreement, which remains the only viable path out of the current political situation (SC/13163). The DRC Sanctions Committee held a briefing open to all UN member states on 26 January.
On 10 January, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the 60-day report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID (S/2017/1113) and on the joint assessment by the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Secretary-General of phase one of the reconfiguration of UNAMID (S/2018/12) (S/PV.8155). As UNAMID moved towards the implementation of phase two, he recommended that a review should take place to consider a new mission concept.
On 10 January, the Council received a briefing on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia from Special Representative Jean Arnault (S/PV.8154), focusing on the Secretary-General’s recent report on Colombia (S/2017/1117). The briefing was followed by consultations. On the same day, members issued a press statement (SC/13160) in which they “urged continued momentum towards full implementation of the peace agreement” with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) and hoped that the Colombian government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) “would resume work to agree a renewal and strengthening of the ceasefire…”.
West Africa and the Sahel
On 11 January, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative and head of UNOWAS, briefed the Council (S/PV.8156) on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the region (S/2017/1104). Several Council members made public statements before continuing discussions in consultations. On 30 January, the Council adopted a presidential statement on the West Africa and Sahel region and activities of UNOWAS (S/PRST/2018/3). The statement, inter alia, looked forward to ongoing activities undertaken by UNOWAS in the areas of conflict prevention, mediation and good offices, welcomed the regional countries’ efforts to address terrorism and transnational crime, and reiterated that the Secretary-General include assessing implementation of resolution 2349 on the Lake Chad Basin in his regular UNOWAS reporting, with specific attention in his next report on the region in July.
On 17 January, the Council was briefed by Ghassan Salamé, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UNSMIL, and Hajer Sharief, co-founder of the civil society organisation Together We Build It (S/PV.8159). Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden, briefed the Council on the work of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee.
Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
On 18 January, the Council held a high-level briefing on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction focused on confidence-building measures (S/PV.8160). President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan presided, and Secretary-General António Guterres briefed. Guterres highlighted “information-sharing on military budgets, strategic outlooks and troop movements” as measures that can “help to decrease tension and avert conflict”. He expressed concern that “Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the Cold War”.
On 18 January, the Council adopted a presidential statement on conflict prevention (S/PRST/2018/1) that states that a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy should include early warning, preventive deployment, mediation, peacekeeping, non-proliferation, accountability measures, and post-conflict peacebuilding, recognising that these components are interdependent, complementary and non-sequential (S/PV.8161).
Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict held a formal meeting on 22 January to discuss its conclusions on the Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict in Myanmar (S/2017/1099).
UNRCCA (Central Asia)
On 22 January, the Council held consultations on UNRCCA. Special Representative and head of the UNRCCA Natalia Gherman briefed Council members in consultations on key regional issues, including the threat of terrorism and extremism, the impact on the region of the situation in Afghanistan, drug trafficking, trans-boundary water management, and tensions linked to border-related disputes. On 25 January, Council members issued a press statement on UNRCCA in which they welcomed further cooperation and coordination between UNRCCA, the Central Asian States, and relevant regional organizations, including those organisations of which the Central Asian States are members (SC/13179). This is the first time since January 2015 that Council members were able to agree on a press statement on UNRCCA.
On 23 January, the Council was briefed by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (S/PV.8163), who presented the 26 December 2017 report of the Secretary-General on Mali (S/2017/1105). The Foreign Minister of Mali, Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly, also participated in the meeting. On 24 January, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the renewed commitment of the government of Mali and the coalitions of armed groups to the expeditious implementation of all of their remaining obligations under the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali by the end of March 2018 (SC/13177).
On 24 January, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Michael Keating and Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission Francisco Madeira briefed the Council on the situation in Somalia (S/PV.8165) and the 26 December 2017 report of the Secretary-General (S/2017/1109). On 25 January, Council members issued a press statement that welcomed Somalia’s political commitment to security sector, economic and political reforms and the progress made to date, and in which the members of the Security Council agreed that all parties should make 2018 a year of implementation (SC/13181).
On 25 January, the Council held its quarterly open debate under the agenda item, “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (S/PV.8167). Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov briefed via video teleconference from Jerusalem.