Status Update since our July Forecast
UNRCCA (Central Asia)
On 2 July, the Council met in consultations for a briefing on the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) by Special Representative and head of UNRCCA Natalia Gherman. She updated Council members on the activities of UNRCCA since her last briefing in January, addressing issues such as terrorism, foreign terrorist fighters, drug trafficking, organised crime, transboundary water management, and the role of youth in the region.
On 2 July, Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener briefed Council members on Myanmar during “any other business”. The closed briefing allowed members to raise questions about the situation in Myanmar including likely tensions in the run-up to the general elections in 2020, the Rohingya situation, and the continuing clashes between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar government forces. The UN’s activities in Myanmar were also discussed.
On 3 July, the Council met in consultations after a 2 July airstrike on the Tajoura migrant detention centre in a Tripoli suburb that killed 53 people and injured over 130 people. On 5 July, Council members issued a press statement condemning the attack and stressing “the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation and to commit to a ceasefire”. It further called upon all UN member states to fully respect the arms embargo. On 29 July, the Council held its bimonthly meeting on UNSMIL and Libya sanctions. Special Representative and head of UNSMIL Ghassan Salamé, briefed via video teleconference. The Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany, Ambassador Jürgen Schulz, briefed the Council on Libya sanctions in his capacity as chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committees. The briefings were followed by consultations.
On 3 July, Council members issued a press statement condemning in the strongest terms a terrorist attack claimed by the Taliban on 1 July in Kabul. The attack resulted in the death of at least 35 people and more than 70 injured. On 26 July, the Council had a meeting following a recent trip to Afghanistan by a high-level UN delegation with a focus on women, peace and security (S/PV.8587). The delegation, which was in Afghanistan from 20-21 July, was led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and included Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund Natalia Kanem, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Briefings were given by Mohammed, DiCarlo and women’s rights activist Jamila Afghani who participated at the 7-8 July intra-Afghan talks in Doha.
On 3 July, Council members issued a press statement taking note, inter alia, of the ECOWAS call for the president of Guinea-Bissau to sign a decree of nomination of the government by 3 July on the basis of the proposition made by the Prime Minister, and for the president to stay in office until the holding of the next presidential election, while leaving the full management of government affairs to the newly formed government.
Maintenance of International Peace and Security
On 8 July, Peru convened an informal interactive dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Briefers included Renata Dwan, Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research; Rahma A. Hussein, the former Legal Fellow of the Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights Project at Columbia Law School; and Thomas Markram, Deputy to the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
On 10 July, the Council held a debate on improving triangular cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat, and troop- and police-contributing countries (TCCs/PCCs). The Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix; the Force Commander of MINUSMA, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre; and Dr. Alexandra Novosseloff, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute. Six TCCs/PCCs were invited to participate as well, and a concept note was circulated ahead of the meeting.
On 16 July, the Council was briefed on the situation in Ukraine by Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Lamberto Zannier. Russia requested the meeting to discuss the recently enacted Ukrainian language law which formally took effect on that same day. In his briefing Zannier focused primarily on the language law and noted that Ukraine’s sovereign right to strengthen the role of state language should be balanced with efforts to accommodate the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the country. In addition to the law, DiCarlo addressed the broader political situation in the country and issues related to implementation of the Minsk agreements. Russia emphasised the dangers posed by the language law while other speakers, mostly the EU members of the Council, stressed that the law does not pose a threat to international peace and security. These members used this opportunity to raise other issues including the political and security situation and the investigation into the downing of MH17.
Youth, Peace and Security
On 17 July, the Council held a briefing on the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda under the agenda item “maintenance of international peace and security”. The briefers were Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Wevyn Muganda from Kenya, the program director for HAKI Africa; and Sofia Ramyar from Afghanistan, the Executive Director of “Afghans for Progressive Thinking”.
On 17 July, the Council held its semi-annual debate on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) with briefings by the IRMCT’s president, Judge Carmel Agius, and prosecutor, Serge Brammertz. Agius and Brammertz briefed on their respective assessment reports.
Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
On 18 July, the Council held a briefing on “Strengthening partnerships for successful nationally-owned transitions”, under the agenda item Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace. Peru’s Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio chaired the session. Briefings were made by Secretary-General António Guterres; Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo of Colombia, on behalf of the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission; Franck Bousquet, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group; and Yero Baldeh, Director of the Transition States Coordination Office of the African Development Bank. A concept note, prepared by the Council presidency, was circulated ahead of the meeting.
On 18 July, Council members issued a press statement that condemned the attack on 16 July by unknown assailants on peacekeepers of UNISFA, which resulted in the death of one peacekeeper.
The co-leads of the 11-14 July visiting mission to Colombia, Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru) and Jonathan Allen (UK), briefed the Council on the visit on 19 July. Also on 19 July, the Council was briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu on the 27 June report of the Secretary-General. Foreign Minister of Peru Néstor Popolizio chaired the meeting, and Foreign Minister of Colombia Carlos Holmes Trujillo participated as well. On 23 July Council members adopted a press statement stressing the importance of implementing the peace agreement as an interlocking set of commitments.
On 19 July, Council members were briefed in consultations by Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative and head of UNFICYP, on recent developments and the latest Secretary-General’s report. She also expressed hope that the Cypriot leaders will meet soon. During the meeting, members welcomed recent confidence-building measures, but some also expressed concern over the lack of political process on the island. On 25 July, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2483 which extended the mandate of UNFICYP in its current configuration until 31 January 2020. The resolution expressed regret over the lack of progress on the political settlement and called for reduction of tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. It further called on all sides to increase efforts to establish, with UNFICYP as facilitator, a mechanism for direct contact at military level in order to alleviate the tensions.
On 22 July, Council members held consultations to discuss the situation in Haiti. They were briefed by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Helen La Lime on the upcoming transition from MINUJUSTH to the special political mission, due to take place in October.
On 23 July, the Council held its quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed. She urged member states to make a conducive environment for peace talks. Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy and Special Representative for International Negotiations, spoke on behalf of the US and urged member states to reserve judgement on Trump’s proposed peace plan, though still not saying when it may be released. The representative of Senegal also participated in his capacity as Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and used the meeting to condemn the recent demolition of Palestinian homes. This was echoed by many speakers. While most spoke about the Palestinian question, the representative from Israel focused his remarks on Iran and what he called the “duty to preserve the forces of order by confronting the forces of chaos”.
On 24 July, Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MONUSCO, briefed the Council. She highlighted the gains made in the six months since elections were held in the DRC. However, she stressed that challenges remain in terms of armed groups in the East and Ebola. Ebola has now killed more than 1,700 people. On 17 July, WHO declared the situation in the DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Alotaibi (Kuwait), chair of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, described the work of the committee over the past year and briefed on his late April/early May visit to the DRC. At press time, the Council was scheduled to hold an informal interactive dialogue on Ebola in the DRC on 31 July.
On 24 July, the Council held its semi-annual briefing on West Africa and the Sahel. Special Representative and head UNOWAS Mohammad Ibn Chambas briefed, presenting the Secretary-General’s 5 July report on West Africa and the Sahel. After the meeting, Côte d’Ivoire circulated a draft presidential statement that it had prepared with Belgium, as co-penholders on West Africa and the Sahel, and negotiations on the text began at the end of July.