Status Update since our August Forecast
Jammu and Kashmir
On 5 August Council members discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir under “any other business”. The discussion was initiated by China at Pakistan’s request. It followed letters in early August from Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmoud Qureshi to the Council president (S/2020/771) on recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir and on a legal review of the dispute and on human rights violations. Besides meeting in consultations in August 2019 to discuss developments after India rescinded Article 370 of its constitution, which provided semi-autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, the Council has held one other meeting on this topic under “any other business” in January 2020.
On 6 August, Council members held an open debate via VTC titled “Addressing the Issue of Linkages between Terrorism and Organised Crime” under the agenda item “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” (S/2020/791). The meeting was chaired by Retno L. P. Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Under-Secretary-General Ghada Waly, briefed. On 17 August, an open VTC meeting of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) took place. The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) presented its updated “Technical guide to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and other relevant resolutions” to the CTC and the wider UN membership. On 24 August, Council members held an open VTC on the Secretary-General’s 11th biannual strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh) under the agenda item “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” (S/2020/836). Voronkov and Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of CTED, briefed. On 31 August, the Council failed to adopt a resolution on the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign terrorist fighters due to the veto of the US. The 14 other members voted in favor.
On 10 August, the Security Council held a briefing followed by closed consultations on Guinea-Bissau (S/PV.8754). Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacbuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau Rosine Sori-Coulibaly presented the latest Secretary-General’s report on Guinea-Bissau (S/2020/755). Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil João Genésio de Almeida Filho briefed on behalf of the Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, and Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, also briefed.
On 11 August, the Security Council heard a briefing on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2020/710) in a closed VTC meeting. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ján Kubiš and Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed the Council. On 28 August, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2539, which renewed the mandate of UNIFIL until 31 August 2021.
On 14 August, the Council concluded the written voting procedure on the US draft resolution (S/2020/797) that would extend the existing arms-related restrictions set to expire in October under resolution 2231 “until the Security Council decides otherwise” (S/2020/805). The draft failed to obtain the required number of votes to be adopted. The US and Dominican Republic voted in favour of the draft, China and Russia voted against it, and the remaining Council members abstained. On 20 August, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hand–delivered identical letters (S/2020/815) to both UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the president of the Security Council, Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia), notifying the Council that Iran is non-compliant with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). For this reason, the US claimed to have triggered the snapback provision under resolution 2231, which could lead to reinstatement of sanctions measures that were in place before the adoption of resolution 2231. Thirteen Council members (excluding the US and Dominican Republic) sent letters to the president of the Security Council opposing the US move and maintaining that the US does not have the right to invoke the snapback provision under resolution 2231 due to its withdrawal from the JCPOA. During the 25 August meeting (S/2020/837) on “the Situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian Question”, Russia raised the question to the Council’s president (Indonesia) on how the presidency will proceed with the US decision to trigger a snapback provision under resolution 2231. Ambassador Djani (Indonesia) responded that given the lack of consensus among Council members the presidency could not take further action on this issue.
On 18 August, members of the Security Council discussed the situation in Belarus under “any other business”. Estonia and the US requested the meeting to address the ongoing crackdown on the protesters in Belarus following the presidential elections on 9 August. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu participated in the meeting. He expressed his concern over grave human rights violations in Belarus and called for the use of preventive diplomacy and greater engagement of the Security Council in monitoring the situation in the country.
On 19 August, Security Council members held a closed VTC on developments in Mali, where the day before soldiers had arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and other government officials. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed. Ahead of the meeting, Council members issued a press statement condemning “the mutiny” and urged the mutineers to release safely and immediately all the officials detained (SC/14279). The press statement underlined the urgent need to restore rule of law and to move towards the return to constitutional order, and reiterated Council members’ strong support to the Economic Community of West African States’ initiatives and mediation efforts. On 31 August, the Council renewed for one year the Mali sanctions regime in resolution 2541. Earlier in the month, the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee met on 5 August to discuss the Mali Panel of Experts final report (S/2020/785).
On 20 August, Council members held a briefing and consultations on Somalia (S/PV.8755). James Swan, Special Representative and head of UNSOM, and Francisco Madeira, AU Special Representative, briefed. Council members reacted to recent political turmoil in Somalia surrounding electoral delays. Council members called for cooperation and compromise, but seemed divided on whether to support a one-person-one-vote electoral model or a compromise model. Council members also condemned Al-Shabaab’s deadly attacks, which have increased in recent weeks. On 28 August, the Council adopted resolution 2540, renewing UNSOM’s mandate for 12 months until 31 August 2021.
On 25 August, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefed on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” (S/2020/837). Mladenov noted that the Secretary-General had welcomed the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalise relations between them and to stop Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
On 27 August, the chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany), briefed Council members in a closed VTC on the 90-day report of the committee’s work. The briefing was primarily focused on developments related to the work of the committee, the implementation of the sanctions and the midterm report of the Panel of Experts.