Status Update since our March Forecast
On 1 March, Council members issued a press statement, condemning the terrorist attacks of 28 February along the Mukkah Almukaramah road in Mogadishu, which killed and injured innocent Somalis (SC/13729). On 27 March, the Council renewed the mandate of UNSOM until 31 March 2020 (S/RES/2461).
The 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee met on 6 and 14 March. On 22 March, the committee added an individual to its sanctions list. On 15 March, Council members condemned the terrorist attack that took place at Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier that day, which resulted in at least 50 killed and many wounded. On 28 March, the Council held an open debate on combatting the financing of terrorism, with briefings by the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov (via video teleconference) (S/PV.8496). The Council adopted a resolution on the topic (S/RES/2462).
On 7 March, Slovakian Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák briefied the Council in his role of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office (S/PV.8479). Lajčák presented three main priorities during Slovakia’s chairmanship of the OSCE which include: preventing, mediating and mitigating conflict, focusing on the people affected; providing for a safer future; and effective multilateralism. The discussion at the meeting was mainly centered on the crisis in Ukraine given that the OSCE has a significant presence in the country and it is the organisation tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Minsk agreements. During the meeting Council members expressed their support for the work of the organisation and welcomed greater UN-OSCE cooperation.
On 8 March, the Council received a briefing from Special Representative and head of UNMISS David Shearer (S/PV.8480). A civil society representative based in South Sudan also briefed. Council members held consultations following the briefing. On 15 March, the Council adopted resolution 2459 renewing the mandate of UNMISS for an additional year, by 14 votes in favour with Russia abstaining (S/PV.8484). The resolution maintains the troop ceiling of 17,000 troops. Language was added specifying that “advice or technical assistance, within existing resources” can be a part of the mission’s good offices efforts to support the peace process and also calling on the mission to “support the facilitation of the safe, informed, voluntary, and dignified return or relocation of IDPs from United Nations protection of civilian sites”. Following the vote, statements were made by China, Kuwait, Russia and the US.
On 11 March, there was an Arria-formula meeting on “human rights, accountability and justice: contributions to international peace and security”, co-hosted by France and Peru. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares, and former President of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and currently of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Theodor Meron, briefed.
On 12 March, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy briefed the Council on cooperation between the two organisations (S/PV.8482). She addressed the EU’s involvement in and support for various peacekeeping operations in Africa and its support for the UN-led political process in Syria. Furthermore, Mogherini emphasised the importance of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran and support for other non-proliferation efforts. During the meeting, Council members welcomed the cooperation between the UN and EU.
Women, Peace and Security
On 13 March, there was an open Arria-formula meeting on the inequalities between women and men in political processes, co-hosted by France and Germany. Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, and Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, briefed at the meeting. AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop; Fatima Maïga of the Malian Coalition des femmes maliennes pour l’agenda Femmes, Paix et Sécurité; and Delphine Djiraibe, a Chadian attorney and co-founder of the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, also participated.
On 15 March, the Council unanimously adopted as a “technical rollover” resolution 2460 extending the mandate UNAMA for six months (S/PV.8485). Although Council members held several rounds of negotiations and bilateral meetings, no agreement could be reached on the original draft resolution after which the decision was made to pursue a technical rollover. The US and China were deadlocked on whether to maintain a reference to the Belt and Road Initiative in the context of welcoming regional economic cooperation. Ahead of the adoption, on 11 March, the Council held a briefing followed by consultations on the situation in Afghanistan (S/PV.8481). Briefers included Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto; Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib; and Deputy Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Network Storai Tapesh. The discussion during the meeting centred on, among other things, the political situation including the preparations for the 2019 presidential elections, ongoing negotiations on reaching a political solution, and security and humanitarian situation in the country.
On 15 March, Arria-formula meeting entitled: “A symbolic date: Fifth anniversary of the beginning of Russia’s occupation of Crimea: A blatant violation of international law” was held. The meeting was organised by Council members Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US, in partnership with Ukraine. The meeting provided an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from civil society and experts on the latest developments with regard to Crimea. Briefers during the meeting included Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine; Alim Aliev, Program Director of Crimean House; Ayla Bakkali, executive member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars; and Ahtem Chyihoz, Vice Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar.
Children and Armed Conflict
The Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met on 15 and 18 March to continue negotiations on its conclusions on the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Syria (S/2018/969).
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 18 March, the Security Council received a briefing, followed by consultations, on MONUSCO (S/PV.8486). The Council was briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Leila Zerrougui and Anny Tenga Modi, Executive Director of Afia Mamaa, a civil society organisation. A representative from the DRC mission participated in the briefing. As of press time, Council members were negotiating a resolution on MONUSCO, whose mandate expires on 31 March.
On 20 March, the Council was briefed by the Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salamé, and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany, Ambassador Jürgen Schulz, who chairs the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee (S/PV.8488). Salamé announced that the National Conference on the future of Libya will be held in April. On 26 March Council members issued a press statement welcoming Salamé’s announcement that the National Conference will take place from 14-16 April 2019 in Ghadames, Libya (SC/13749).
Mali and the Sahel
On 20 March, the Security Council held an informal interactive dialogue with the PBC on the Sahel. Germany, as the informal coordinator between the Council and the PBC, organised the meeting in preparation for the Council’s visiting mission to Mali and Burkina Faso later in the month. The Chair of the PBC, Ambassador Guillermo Fernández de Soto (Colombia) and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernández-Taranco provided briefings. Côte d’Ivoire, France and Germany co-led a visiting mission to Mali and Burkina Faso from 22 to 24 March. The focus of the mission was to assess the implementation of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement in Mali, the operationalisation of the joint force of the G5 Sahel and the deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso. Upon returning to New York, on 27 March, the co-leads briefed the Council on the mission and on 29 March the Council held a ministerial meeting on Mali chaired by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, featuring a briefing by Secretary-General António Guterres and with the participation of Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga. Separately, on 28 March there was a high-level meeting on the G5 Sahel at UN headquarters in New York.
On 20 March, the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee held a meeting during which committee members discussed the recommendations from the final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2019/171).
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten briefed Council members under “any other business” on 20 March on her visit to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from 5 to 8 February. She provided Council members with information on her meetings with Myanmar government officials and the follow-up to the joint communiqué signed on 8 December 2018 between the UN and the government of Myanmar to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence.
Middle East and West Africa
On 21 March, Security Council members held an informal interactive dialogue on “Fostering dialogue and cooperation as a response to conflicts and common challenges in the Middle-East and North Africa” to explore ways to better take into account regional dynamics, root causes of conflict in the region, and common security challenges. France and Germany organised the meeting, which included briefings by Marie–Joëlle Zahar representing University of Montreal, the International Peace Institute and Folke Bernadotte Academy; Joost Hilterman, the Program Director, Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group; and Mourad Wahba, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the UN Development Programme.
Central African Republic
On 22 March, the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee met with the Group of Experts assisting it, to discuss their programme of work for the year. On 26 March Special Representative and head of MINUSCA Mankeur Ndiaye briefed the Council under “any other business”.
UNDOF (Golan Heights)
On 25 March, in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on the same day that UN Secretary-General António Guterres considers “that the status of Golan has not changed.” Council members cancelled previously scheduled consultations and held a briefing on 27 March to discuss this as well as the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNDOF, covering the period from 21 November 2018 to 14 March 2019 (S/2019/248). Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs, and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, briefed and representatives from Israel and Syria participated (S/PV.8495).
On 26 March, Council members issued a press statement congratulating Guinea-Bissau for the peaceful conduct of legislative elections held on 10 March (SC/13746). Members recalled the importance of organising the presidential election within the legal mandated time frame in 2019, and called upon national authorities to expedite the review of the constitution.
Great Lakes Region
On 26 March, outgoing Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Said Djinnit briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2019/229) on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region (S/PV.8490). The briefing was followed by consultations.
On 27 March, the Council held consultations on the implementation of resolution 1701 which called for a cessation of hostilities between the Shi’a militant group Hezbollah and Israel in 2006. Council members were briefed by newly appointed Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ján Kubiš; Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix; and UNIFIL Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col.