Status Update since our November Forecast
On 2 November, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda delivered the semi-annual briefing on recent developments concerning cases in Libya (S/PV.8388). On 5 November, the Council adopted resolution 2441, extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and renewing measures related to the illicit export of petroleum products from Libya, with 13 votes in favour and China and Russia abstaining (S/PV.8389). On 8 November, the Council was briefed by Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and head of UNSMIL (S/PV.8394). In his remarks, Salamé focused on a new comprehensive security plan for Tripoli, the conditions in prisons around the country, the parallel existence of two “central banks”, the upcoming elections, and the situation in the south of Libya.
Somalia and Eritrea
On 6 November, the Council adopted resolution 2442, renewing for 12 months authorisations allowing international naval forces to fight piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia (S/PV.8391). On 10 November, Council members issued a press statement condemning a terrorist attack in Mogadishu the day before resulting in several civilian casualties (SC/13572). On 14 November, the Council adopted resolution 2444, lifting sanctions on Eritrea and extending various elements of the Somalia sanctions regime until 15 November 2019 (S/PV.8398).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 6 November, the Council held its semi-annual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina and unanimously adopted resolution 2443, renewing the authorisation of EUFOR ALTHEA for an additional year (S/PV.8392). High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Valentin Inzko briefed the Council on his latest report (S/2018/974).
On 6 November, the Council received a briefing on UN policing (S/PV.8393) from Alexander Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the DPKO, and the heads of police components of three UN peacekeeping operations: Unaisi Lutu Vuniwaqa (UNMISS); Awale Abdounasir (MONUSCO); and Serge Therriault (MINUJUSTH). A civil society briefer, Tuesday Reitano, the Deputy Director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, also participated in the meeting.
On 7 November, the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations held a meeting on peacekeeping safety, security and performance in asymmetric environments. On 20 November, the Council held an open debate on strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa (S/PV.8407). Secretary-General António Guterres and Smaïl Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, briefed the Council.
Protection of Environment Arria-Formula Meeting
On 7 November, current Council member Kuwait convened an Arria-formula meeting, co-sponsored with incoming member Germany, on the “Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict.” Panelists included Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General and head of the New York Office of the UN Environment Program, and Carl Bruch, Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute and co-founder of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association.
From 11-16 November, the Military Staff Committee conducted a field trip to Mali. On 21 November, the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee held a meeting.
Central African Republic
On 12 November, the Chair of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Léon Houadja Kacou Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), briefed on his recent visit to the country. On 15 November, the Council adopted resolution 2446, extending the mandate of MINUSCA until 15 December, in a “technical rollover”. On 18 November, Council members issued a press statement condemning an attack by suspected members of an armed group, which resulted in the death of one MINUSCA Tanzanian peacekeeper (SC/13588).
On 13 November, the outgoing Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Ján Kubiš, briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMI (S/2018/975), the Secretary-General’s 20th report on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, and the most recent developments in the country (S/PV.8396). Kubiš focused his remarks on the ongoing Iraqi government formation, the elections in Kurdistan and the activities of the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh. He also reported the return of some Kuwaiti property from Iraq to Kuwait.
At the request of Bolivia and Kuwait, Council members received a briefing on 13 November under “any other business” on the recent violence between the parties. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča briefed. He recounted the developments of the previous three days, culminating in the 13 November ceasefire. He further emphasised the need for the parties to maintain this ceasefire, spoke about the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza, and reiterated the need to promote political dialogue between the parties based on a two-state solution. On 19 November, the Council held its monthly meeting on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) (S/PV.8405). Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov provided the briefing (via video teleconference from Jerusalem), which was followed by statements from Council members. Mladenov called for calm in light of the escalation of violence that had occurred between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza from 11 to 13 November. He further observed that continued settlement-building undermined the prospects for peace.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 13 November, Special Representative and head of MONUSCO Leila Zerrougui briefed the Council (S/PV.8397). Josephine Mbela of the Congolese Association for Access to Justice, a non-governmental human rights and rule of law organization, also briefed. On 15 November, Council members issued a press statement condemning the killing of seven MONUSCO peacekeepers in North Kivu (SC/13583). The meeting was followed by consultations. Council members issued a press statement on 21 November on the electoral process in the DRC (SC/13599).
On 14 November, Special Representative and the head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin briefed the Council on the most recent Secretary-General’s report and latest developments (S/PV.8399). While Tanin described the situation on the ground as hostile, he said that prospects for meaningful progress in the EU-facilitated dialogue have improved amid ongoing talks between Belgrade and Pristina on, among other issues, the possibility of territorial exchanges. Addressing the Council, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić emphasised the importance of the continued presence of UNMIK and regular consideration by the Council of the Kosovo issue. Russia also reiterated the need for regular meetings on Kosovo amid ethnic tensions and lack of progress on the implementation of agreements between Belgrade and Pristina. The US and EU members of the Council called for lengthening the reporting cycle and reducing the frequency of meetings on Kosovo.
On 15 November, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2445, extending until 15 May 2019 the mandate of UNISFA (S/PV.8400). The resolution reduced the authorised troop ceiling of the mission from 4,500 to 4,140 and decided to reduce the troop ceiling by a further 295 troops following the start of the deployment of increased police personnel. As of 15 April 2019, the authorised troop ceiling will decrease by a further 557 troops, unless the Council decides to extend the mission’s support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
Group of Five for the Sahel
On 15 November, the Council held a briefing on the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5-Sahel) joint force or FC-G5S that Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger established last year to combat terrorist and criminal groups in the region (S/PV.8402). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the FC-G5S (S/2018/1006). Other briefers included G5 Sahel Permanent Secretary Maman Sidikou and AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel Pierre Buyoya. Pedro Serrano, the EU Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response, briefed via video teleconference from Brussels. Later that same day, Council members issued a press statement encouraging the G-5 Sahel states to take appropriate measures in order for the FC-G5S to conduct new operations and to be fully operational as soon as possible; calling on donors who have not yet honoured their commitments to the joint force to do so urgently; and encouraging the G-5 Sahel States to take appropriate action in order for MINUSMA to be in a position to deliver its specified operational and logistical support (SC/13584). The press statement also covered aspects related to human rights and broader political and development issues.
On 16 November, the Council held a briefing, followed by consultations, on Yemen (S/PV.8404). UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths informed the Council that he intended to convene the parties shortly for consultations in Sweden. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock provided an update on the five areas that he had asked the Council to support at a 23 October briefing, in order to avert famine. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley’s briefing focused on his first-hand observations of the food insecurity and economic conditions that he witnessed during a recent three-day visit to Yemen. Civil society representative, Rasha Jarhum, who is the founder and Director of the Peace Track Initiative in Yemen, also briefed via video teleconference, making a number of recommendations for Council action. During the meeting the UK, as penholder on Yemen, announced that it would soon circulate a draft resolution that it had been preparing in support of Lowcock’s five asks. At press time, Council members were still negotiating the draft resolution.
Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met on 16 November to negotiate its conclusions on South Sudan (S/2018/865).
On 20 November, the CTC held an open briefing for member states to discuss the “Madrid Guiding Principles”. On 24 November, Council members issued a press statement, condemning an attack the previous day against the Consulate-General of China in Karachi, Pakistan, which resulted in the deaths of two Pakistani police officers and two civilians (SC/13600). On 28 November, there were joint informal consultations of the 1267/1989/2253 and 1988 Committees. On 29 November, the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee held a formal meeting to discuss visits by the Committee to Australia, Mali, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.
On 21 November, Michel Kafando, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Burundi, briefed the Council (S/PV.8408) on the latest report (S/2018/1028). Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Burundi configuration, also briefed.
On 21 November, Council members held a meeting in consultations on implementation of resolution 1701 with briefings from UN Acting Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Bintou Keita. Council members were updated on recent developments and the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2018/1029).
DPRK (North Korea)
On 21 November, Chair of the 1718 Committee, Ambassador Karel van Oosterom (the Netherlands) briefed Council members in consultations on the work of the committee during the past three months. The Chair updated Council members on his outreach activities and the pending requests for the humanitarian exemptions from sanctions. Some Council members expressed their concern over the humanitarian situation in the DPRK. Most members emphasised, however, that the sanctions should remain in place until the DPRK takes concrete steps towards complete denuclearisation.
On 26 November, the Council held an emergency meeting, requested by Ukraine, on the situation in Ukraine after Russia captured three Ukranian vessels in the Kerch Strait (S/PV.8409). The Council first held a procedural vote on the provisional agenda item put forward by Russia “Maintenance of international peace and security: Violation of the borders of the Russian Federation”. The agenda item was rejected by a vote of seven against, four abstentions and four in favor. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on the events of 25 November. Although she said that the UN could not independently verify the circumstances surrounding the incident, she expressed concern over rising tensions. The US and the EU members of the Council strongly condemned the escalation of tensions and violation of international law by Russia in the Sea of Azov. Russia accused Ukraine of provoking the incident for political reasons.