Status Update since our May Forecast
On 2 May, the Security Council members held consultations on Cyprus to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General on his good offices (S/2019/322). After the meeting they issued press elements in which they welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to ask Jane Holl Lute to continue her consultations. They emphasised the urgent need to work toward the political settlement and urged both sides to agree on terms of reference for result-orientated negotiations. Council members furthermore stressed the need to avoid any actions that could jeopardise the chances of success and urged the implementation and further development of confidence building measures.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 8 May, the Council held its biannual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (S/PV.8522). The High Representative for BiH, Valentin Inzko, briefed and presented the latest report of the Office of the High Representative (S/2019/364). Inzko told the Council that no state-level Council of Ministers or new federal government has been appointed since general elections seven months ago and divisive and destabilising rhetoric persists.
Arria-Formula Meeting on Israel Settlements and Settlers
The permanent missions of Indonesia, Kuwait and South Africa organised an Arria-formula meeting on 9 May entitled “Israeli Settlements and Settlers: Core of the Occupation, Protection Crisis and Obstruction of Peace”. Present at the meeting were Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi; the Foreign Minister of the Observer State of Palestine, Riyad al-Maliki; the US special representative for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt; and many other representatives from both Council members and the wider UN membership. Four panellists spoke about the history and legal ramifications of Israeli settlements. At the end of the meeting, Marsudi said that a summary would be written to assist the Council in further deliberation on the issue.
On 14 May, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2469 renewing the mandate of UNISFA until 15 November 2019 (S/PV.8524). The resolution decided to reduce the authorised troop ceiling to 3,550 and increase the authorised police ceiling to 640 personnel. It also requested the Secretary-General to appoint a civilian Deputy Head of Mission for UNISFA.
On 14 May, the Council held closed consultations on the implementation of resolution 1559. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report and the most recent developments in Lebanon. After the meeting, Council members agreed on press elements in which they reaffirmed strong support for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon; welcomed institutional progress and reconstruction efforts followed by the formation of new government; and reiterated that Lebanese Armed Forces are the only legitimate armed forces in the country.
On 14 May, Council members were briefed under “any other business” on developments in Venezuela at the request of Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the UK. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed Council members. France also gave an update on the work of the International Contact Group.
G5 Sahel Joint Force
On 16 May, the Council held a briefing on the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (S/PV.8526). Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the force (S/2019/371). The Council also heard briefings from Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Alpha Barry of Burkina Faso (as the rotating presidency of the G5 Sahel), AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel Pierre Buyoya, EU Special Representative for the Sahel Angel Losada, and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov. Council members issued a press statement following the meeting, welcoming the recent steps taken by the G5 Sahel states towards the full and effective operationalisation of the force and encouraging its continued scale-up to demonstrate tangible operational results (SC/13811).
On 20 May, Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), chair of the 1540 Committee, which focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, briefed the Council as part of an annual briefing by the chairs of the counter-terrorism-related committees. He emphasised the importance of full implementation of resolution 1540 and prevention of proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to terrorist groups and other non-state actors (S/PV.8528).
On 20 May, Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), chair of the 1540 Committee and of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; and Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez (Peru), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) delivered the joint annual briefing by the chairs of three of the Council’s subsidiary counter-terrorism bodies (S/PV.8528). On 16 May, the ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee was briefed by the Ombudsperson. On 23 May, the CTC convened to discuss the interrelation between counter-terrorism and international humanitarian law.
On 20 May, the Council met on Ukraine at the request of Russia because of concerns regarding a recently enacted Ukrainian language law that Russia said ran counter to the spirit of the 2015 Minsk agreements and resolution 2202 (S/PV.8529). Several delegations objected to holding the meeting on the issue, and a procedural vote took place. The meeting was not held, as the proposal failed to garner the required nine votes in favour. Five Council members voted in favour of holding the meeting (China, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Russia and South Africa), six voted against (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the US), and four abstained (Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Kuwait and Peru). General view among those members voting against the meeting was that it was not timely to discuss such an issue given that Ukraine was inaugurating its new president that day and that most members did not have enough time to examine the language law. Russia emphasised the threat posed by the new law, for the Russian speaking population in Ukraine.
On 21 May, the Council adopted resolution 2470, unanimously renewing the mandate of UNAMI until 31 May 2020 (S/PV.8531). Following the adoption, the Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest reports on UNAMI (S/2019/365) and the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives (S/2019/352).
Children and Armed Conflict
On 21 May, the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict was briefed by video teleconference by the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting of MINUSMA on the implementation of the Mali conclusions of the Working Group adopted last year. On 22 May, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba briefed Council members on her visit to the Central African Republic under “any other business”.
Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
On 24 May, Security Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on “Peacekeeping Impact on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace”, organised by Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia. Briefers included Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Alexander Zouev, and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
Ad-hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa
On 29 May, there was a meeting of the ad-hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa on: “The root-causes of conflicts in Africa: Illicit exploitation and trade in natural resources as a key driver of conflict, what options for conflict prevention, management and resolution”. The briefers were Bience Gawanas, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa; Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa; Léonce Ndikumana, Director of the African Development Policy Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Vital Kamerhe, President of the Union for the Congolese Nation.
On 30 May, 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. The briefing was primarily focused on developments related to the work of the committee and the implementation of the sanctions.