Status Update since our February Forecast
On 1 February, the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee met with its Panel of Experts to discuss their programme of work for the year. On 7 February, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed Council members on her 30-31 January visit to Somalia.
On 4 February, the Security Council held a high-level debate on “Mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa” (S/PV.8456). Equatorial Guinea circulated a concept note in preparation for the debate (S/2019/97). President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea presided. UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Moussa Faki Mahamat (via video teleconference), Chairperson of the AU Commission, briefed. Other than Council members, the CAR, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Rwanda and Sudan participated in the debate.
Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met on 4, 5 and 8 February to negotiate its conclusions on the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Syria (S/2018/969). On 12 February there was an Arria-formula meeting on the protection of children affected by armed conflict in contexts where humanitarian space is shrinking, with a specific focus on the CAR. It was organised by Belgium, the CAR, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and France, in partnership with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba. In her introductory remarks, Gamba highlighted the child protection provisions, which were included in the recent peace agreement signed in the CAR and provided data on recent attacks on humanitarian personnel and infrastructure which shrank humanitarian space. The briefers were Ambassador Ambroisine Kpongo (the CAR); Nathalie Ben Zakour Man, Senior Child Protection Adviser in MINUSCA; and Hichem Khadhraoui, Director of Operations, Geneva Call. Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium) moderated.
Crime at Sea
On 5 February, the Security Council held a debate on transnational organised crime at sea (S/PV.8457). Equatorial Guinea circulated a concept note ahead of the meeting (S/2019/98). Equatorial Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Simeón Oyono Esono Angue, chaired the meeting. Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission Florentina Adenike Ukonga and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov briefed.
On 7 February, the Security Council adopted resolution 2455 extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee until 12 March 2020 (S/PV.8458). The resolution expressed the Council’s “intention to establish clear, well identified, and measurable key benchmarks that could serve in guiding the Security Council to review measures on the Government of Sudan”. On 25 February, the Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita on UNAMID and the Secretary-General’s 90-day report (S/2019/44). Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Development Programme Mourad Wahba and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco also briefed. The briefing was followed by consultations.
On 7 February, Special Representative and head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2019/102) and recent developments in Kosovo (S/PV.8459). Leading up to the meeting, the Council was unable to agree on a programme of work for February due to disagreement among members on whether Kosovo should be discussed during the month. The US, together with the EU members, objected to holding the meeting in February in line with their common position that the Council should reduce the frequency of meetings on Kosovo. Russia and some other members strongly opposed this, however. A compromise was reached, to avoid future disruption of the work of the Council, to hold the meeting on 7 February, while also specifying a new schedule of meetings. Members agreed on a note by the president (S/2019/120) which stated that, in addition to the 7 February meeting, the Council will hold briefings on Kosovo in June and October 2019 and that as of 2020, the briefings will be held twice a year (in April and October).
Women, Peace and Security
On 8 February, there was an open Arria-formula meeting in the Trusteeship Council Chamber on the preventive impact of criminal accountability for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence. The meeting was organised by Germany, in partnership with Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, France, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, South Africa and the UK. The meeting was chaired by Katarina Barley, the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany.
Military Staff Committee
On 8 February, the Military Staff Committee discussed the UN Intelligence Policy Framework and the work of MINUJUSTH. On 22 February, it discussed the work of MINURSO and UNISFA.
On 12 February, the Council held a meeting on the situation in Ukraine (S/PV.8461). Russia requested the meeting to mark the anniversary of the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, also known as the Minsk II agreement, adopted on 12 February 2015. Assistant Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Miroslav Jenča; Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller; Chief Monitor of OSCE Special SMM Ertuğrul Apakan; and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Martin Sajdik briefed. The discussion was marked by the longstanding divisions among permanent members of the Council on this issue. Russia accused Ukraine of not adhering to the Minsk agreements and escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine. On the other hand, the US and the EU members of the Council emphasised the Russian role in the conflict and its violations of the international law. The members agreed on the importance of upholding the Minsk agreements and the need to implement all its provisions.
Central African Republic
On 13 February, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the signing of the Global Peace Agreement in the CAR (SC/13701). On 21 February, Departing Special Representative and head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Anyanga briefed the Council (S/PV.8467) on the latest MINUSCA report (S/2019/147). Ambassador Smaïl Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security; Koen Vervaeke, the European External Action Service Managing Director (via video teleconference); Ambassador Gbolié Desiré Wulfran Ipo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire, which chairs the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s CAR configuration, also addressed the Council. On 22 February, the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee discussed the Panel of Experts’ “progress update” with its coordinator.
On 13 February, the new Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed the Council on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2019/101) and recent developments in Iraq (S/PV.8462). She expressed concern over the slow pace of completing the process of formation of the new government and called on Iraqis to focus on addressing the immediate needs of the country and refrain from factional politics. On 19 February, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2019/1) welcoming the cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the return of missing Kuwaiti property, including national archives (S/PV.8463).
DPRK (North Korea)
The 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee held two meetings, on 13 and 21 February, to discuss the final report of the Panel of Experts. On 25 February, the chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany), briefed the Council in consultations on the work of the committee during the past three months.
Security Council members undertook a visiting mission to Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau from 14 to 16 February, co-led by Council president Equatorial Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. In Côte d’Ivoire, Council members held meetings with Ivorian Foreign Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh and with Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan to take stock of Côte d’Ivoire’s ongoing transition from peacekeeping to peace consolidation since the departure in 2017 of UNOCI. This was followed by a roundtable discussion with the resident coordinators of the UN’s Ivorian and Liberian country teams to consider the experiences and best practices on the transitions of UN peacekeeping operations to non-mission peacebuilding settings in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. In Guinea-Bissau, Council members encouraged political actors, including President José Mário Vaz, to keep to the 10 March date for legislative elections, which were delayed twice last year, and indicated that the presidential election should also be organised during 2019. Members further stressed the importance of the legislative elections in order to begin institutional reforms, which Bissau-Guinean political parties committed to doing in a stability pact signed the day before the Council’s arrival. Members used the visit to consider the Secretary-General’s proposed plan to reconfigure and then withdraw the mission by the end of December 2020. On 26 February, the Council was briefed by the co-leads of the visiting mission.
Council members issued a press statement on 14 February that condemned the terrorist attack in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Iran, on 13 February, in which 27 people were killed and 13 others wounded (SC/13703). On 21 February, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 14 February suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that over 40 Indian paramilitary forces had died and dozens had been wounded in the attack, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility (SC/13712).
The Council visited Guinea-Bissau from 15 to 16 February. On 28 February, the Council adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of UNIOGBIS for one year. The resolution sets out that the reconfiguration of UNIOGBIS, as a streamlined good offices mission (as proposed by the Secretary-General in a 5 December 2018 special report [S/2018/1086]), should begin after the current electoral cycle in 2019. Earlier in February, the Secretary-General submitted his report on Guinea-Bissau and the activities of UNIOGBIS (S/2019/115). The Guinea-Bissau 2048 Sanctions Committee met on 7 February, receiving a briefing from Pierre Lapaque, Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for West and Central Africa, on drug trafficking and transnational organised crime in Guinea-Bissau and the region.
On 19 February, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, briefed the Council on Burundi (S/PV.8465). Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), the chair of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, and Permanent Observer of the AU to the UN Fatima Kyari Mohammed also participated in the meeting, which was followed by consultations.
On 20 February, the Security Council held a briefing, followed by consultations, on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) (S/PV.8466). Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefed the Council via video teleconference. He reviewed developments on the ground and said that a heavy toll is being exacted on Palestinian society by unilateral measures, unceasing violence, and financial pressures. Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller also briefed on this issue for the first time in several months. She urged progress toward a political solution and for member states to increase support for the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan.
On 21 February, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed Council members in consultations on Eritrea-Djibouti relations, including on the 18 February letter from the Secretary-General to the president of the Council on the issue (S/2019/154).
“Silencing the Guns” Open Debate
On 27 February, the Council held a high-level open debate on the AU “Silencing the Guns by 2020” initiative. It was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea. It followed an Arria-formula meeting held in October 2018 on this issue. Equatorial Guinea held the meeting to address several questions on AU-UN cooperation for this initiative, such as how to preserve gains made and how to strengthen tools to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. There was a wide range of participation by UN member states.
On 26 February, the Council held a briefing on Venezuela (S/PV.8472).
On 27 February, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the 26 February meeting between Cypriot leaders and progress on confidence building measures (SC/13722).
At press time, the Council was expecting a briefing followed by consultations on 28 February on the situation in Myanmar from Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener, who visited the country at the end of January.