Status Update since our October Forecast
The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 8 October, Security Council members convened for emergency closed consultations on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. Malta, later joined by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), requested the meeting to address the recent escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed.
On 13 October, Council members convened in closed consultations on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. Brazil, later joined by the UAE, called for the meeting. Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira chaired the meeting. UN Secretary-General António Guterres briefed. Wennesland also participated in the meeting.
On 16 October, the Security Council voted on a draft resolution proposed by Russia on the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza and the ensuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The draft failed to be adopted because it did not garner the requisite number of votes. (A resolution on substantive matters needs nine affirmative votes to be adopted, absent a veto by one of the five permanent members of the Council.) The draft received five votes in favour (China, Gabon, Mozambique, Russia, and the UAE); four votes against (France, Japan, the UK, and the US); while six members abstained (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Malta, and Switzerland).
On 18 October, Council members voted on a further draft resolution concerning Israel and Gaza, authored by Brazil. The draft failed to be adopted owing to a veto cast by the US. Twelve members voted in favour of the draft resolution (Albania, Brazil, China, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the UAE), while two members abstained (Russia and the UK). (Before the vote on the draft resolution proposed by Brazil, Council members voted on two amendments to the Brazilian draft proposed by Russia. Both amendments failed to be incorporated because they did not garner the required votes.)
Following the 18 October vote, the Security Council held an emergency briefing on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. The meeting was called by Russia and the UAE, later joined by China, after the 17 October strike on the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza. Wennesland and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths briefed.
On 24 October, the Security Council held its quarterly open debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. Vieira chaired the meeting. Guterres, Wennesland, and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) Lynn Hastings briefed.
On 25 October, Council members voted on two draft resolutions on Gaza and Israel authored by the US and by Russia. China and Russia vetoed the US draft, which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also voted against. Ten members voted in favour of the draft resolution (Albania, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, the UK, and the US), while two members abstained (Brazil and Mozambique). The Russian draft failed to be adopted because it did not garner the requisite number of votes. It received four votes in favour (China, Gabon, Russia, and the UAE) and two votes against (the UK and the US), while the remaining nine members abstained (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, and Switzerland).
On 27 October, at its resumed Tenth Emergency Special Session (ESS), the General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, calling for “an immediate, durable sustainable humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”. The resolution was adopted with 120 votes in favour, 14 against and 45 abstentions. The ESS was resumed after the 18 October Security Council’s failure on 18 October to adopt a draft resolution proposed by Brazil, and the reception by the Office of the President of the General Assembly of three letters requesting the session’s resumption.
On 30 October, Council members convened for an emergency open briefing on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. The UAE, later joined by China, requested the meeting to discuss the situation in Gaza. Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini, OCHA’s Director of the Humanitarian Financing and Resource Mobilization Division Lisa Doughten, and Executive Director of UNICEF Catherine Russell briefed.
On 10 October, the Security Council held an open briefing (S/PV.9432) on Iraq. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert briefed on recent developments in the country and on the Secretary-General’s reports on UNAMI (S/2023/700) and the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-party nationals and missing Kuwaiti property (S/2023/698). Dhefaf Al-Jarahi, Country Manager at the Iraq Foundation, also briefed. Iraq participated under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
On 11 October, the Security Council held an open briefing (S/PV.9434) on Colombia. Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on the mission (S/2023/701). The Council was also briefed by Deputy Permanent Representative Hrvoje Ćurić Hrvatinić of Croatia, who chairs the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and by Rodrigo Botero García, General Director of the non-governmental organisation Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development.
On 17 October, Council members issued a press statement on Colombia (SC/15449), in which they stressed the importance of ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace signed in 2016 between the government of Colombia and the former rebel group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP). They also acknowledged efforts to seek broader peace, including through the implementation of agreements between the Colombian government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and the recent announcement regarding a ceasefire between the government and the armed group Estado Mayor Central Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (EMC FARC-EP).
On 31 October, the Security Council adopted resolution 2704, extending the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia for another year, until 31 October 2024.
On 12 October, the Security Council held its annual debate on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations in maintaining international peace and security, with a particular focus on the UN’s cooperation with the AU (S/PV. 9435). Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s annual report on strengthening the partnership between the UN and the AU on issues of peace and security in Africa, including the work of the UNOAU (S/2023/629). Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the AU to the UN, and Solomon Ayele Dersso, Managing Director of Amani Africa, also briefed.
On 14 October, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 13 October terrorist attack against the Imam Zaman Mosque in Pule Khomri, the capital of Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan (SC/15442). The attack, which was claimed by ISIL/Da’esh-K (ISIL/Da’esh’s Afghan affiliate) killed dozens of people and wounded many more.
On 12 October, Council members held consultations on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari briefed.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 16 October, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement on the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (S/PRST/2023/5). France, the penholder on the file, proposed the draft text following the Council’s 28 September meeting on the situation in the DRC, including the work of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) (S/PV.9427). The presidential statement, among other things, expresses the Council’s “readiness to decide by the end of 2023 on the future of MONUSCO, its gradual, responsible and sustainable withdrawal and the concrete and realistic steps to be undertaken, as a matter of priority to implement this withdrawal”. In this regard, the presidential statement requests MONUSCO and the Congolese government to develop, by November, a comprehensive disengagement plan with a timetable for MONUSCO’s progressive and orderly withdrawal, building on the revised transition plan and its four key benchmarks.
Great Lakes Region
On 17 October, the Security Council held a briefing and consultation on the Great Lake regionss (S/PV.9440). Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the Great Lakes Region Huang Xia briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest semi-annual report on the implementation of the 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region (PSC-F) (S/2023/730). João Samuel Caholo, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and Josephine Malimukono, President of the Concertation des Colletifs des Associations féminines de la région des Grands Lacs, also briefed. The representatives of Rwanda and the DRC participated in the meeting under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedures.
Arria-formula Meeting on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
On 18 October, Security Council members held an open Arria-formula meeting on “Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”. The meeting was organised by Albania, the UK, and the US. Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania Igli Hasani chaired the meeting. The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, and the Team Leader of the UN Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, Chloe Marnay-Baszanger, briefed. Two women civil society representatives, Bakira Hasečić and Niemat Ahmadi, also briefed.
On 16 October, Council members held closed consultations to consider the Secretary-General’s report on Western Sahara (S/2023/729), dated 3 October. The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, and the Special Representative and head of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), Alexander Ivanko, briefed. On 30 October, the Council adopted resolution 2703, renewing the mandate of MINURSO until 31 October 2024. The resolution was adopted with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (Mozambique and Russia).
On 19 October, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare briefed Council members on MINUSMA’s withdrawal in closed consultations under “any other business”.
On 2 October, the Security Council adopted resolution 2699, authorising member states to form and deploy a multinational security support mission to Haiti. The resolution received 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (China and Russia).
On 19 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2700, renewing the Haiti sanctions regime for one year.
On 23 October, the Council held an open briefing on Haiti (S/PV.9449). Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) María Isabel Salvador briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest report on Haiti (S/2023/768). UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell and UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly, as well as Mirlande Manigat, President of Haiti’s High Transitional Council, also briefed the Council. The Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica participated under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
Prevention and Peaceful Resolution of Disputes
On 20 October, the Security Council held an open debate on “Contributions of regional mechanisms to peace and security” under the “Maintenance of international peace and security” agenda item (S/PV.9448). The meeting focused on the contribution of regional, sub-regional, and bilateral arrangements to the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes. The briefers were: Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari; Michelle Bachelet, the former President of Chile and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Thabo Mbeki, the former President of South Africa; and Dr. Josefina Echavarría Alvarez, Professor of the Practice and the director of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) program at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
On 23 October, the Council held its second briefing this year on the situation in Kosovo (S/PV.9450). Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Caroline Ziadeh briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest UNMIK report and recent developments (S/2023/735). Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić participated under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure and President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu of Kosovo participated under rule 39. The discussion mainly focused on the need for continued dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, facilitated by the EU, as well as tensions in northern Kosovo.
Women, Peace and Security
On 25 October, the Security Council held its annual open debate on women, peace and security (WPS), which this year was titled “Women’s participation in international peace and security: from theory to practice” (S/PV.9452, Resumption 1 and 2). Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira chaired the meeting. UN Secretary-General António Guterres provided opening remarks. UN Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous; President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Mirjana Spoljaric Egger; and Glivânia Maria de Oliveira, the Director General of the Rio Branco Institute and Representative of Brazil in the negotiations between the government of Colombia and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), briefed. The Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, Hala Al-Karib, also briefed.
International Court of Justice
On 27 October, the Council held its annual private meeting with Judge Joan E. Donoghue, the president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).