Update Report No.3: Sudan/Darfur
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jan Pronk, and the AU’s Chief Mediator in the Darfur crisis, Salim Ahmed Salim, briefed the Council today, 13 January. This followed a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and Council discussions with the Secretary-General, both on 12 January.
The PSC considered the report of a joint assessment mission that visited Darfur on 10-20 December 2005. The mission was comprised of AU, UN and international partners’ representatives. The report covers the future of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS). The report was essential because AMIS’ mandate from the AU expires on 20 January. Discussions will carry over into the AU Summit in Khartoum on 23-24 January. But it seems that the PSC has supported the extension of the mandate. Significantly, it has also agreed in principle to a transition between the AU and the UN, “within the framework of the partnership between the AU and the United Nations”, and to review the situation in two months.
Salim briefed the Council on the status of the peace negotiations between Khartoum and the rebels: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A). So far, negotiations have stalled on power-sharing and security arrangements, with the rebels demanding the redrawing of Darfur’s borders and a Vice-Presidency for Darfur in the new Government of National Unity. Peace talks are scheduled to resume on 15 January in Abuja.
Despite AMIS’ widely recognised contribution, Darfur has suffered significant setbacks, including increasing chaos, attacks on civilians and lawlessness. Lack of funds and capacity present increasing difficulties for AMIS, which only has committed funding until the end of March.
For some weeks there has been increasing pressure for change in the present peacekeeping presence. The EU and the US, AMIS’ main donors, have indicated that funding for the current operation is not sustainable. However, this has been taking place very much in private.
In recent days, both the Secretary-General and the AU Commission Chairman Alpha Omar Konare have begun to speak openly about the need for UN peacekeepers to become involved. And the Secretary-General has said that the UN has already commenced contingency planning.
This is consistent with the Secretary-General’s last report on Darfur (S/2005/825), in which he indicated that a political agreement must go “hand in hand with an enhanced international security presence”. Furthermore, in his 21 December report on Sudan(S/2005/821), he emphasised that “peace in the Sudan is indivisible and cannot flourish in one part of the country if it is fledgling in another”.
In the light of these developments, the Council will now start to focus on a possible future role for the UN helping with peacekeeping in Darfur. In our January brief on Sudan we highlighted various possible options for the future of peacekeeping in the region, including:
a partnership between AMIS and the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), built on the principles of cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, (most recently the subject of resolution 1631);
the incorporation of AMIS into UNMIS, which is currently tasked with assisting in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between north and south Sudan; and
the complete replacement of AMIS by UNMIS troops.
Any attempt to simply replace AMIS with a completely UN presence in Darfur is likely to encounter strong opposition from Khartoum. Indeed the Sudanese Foreign Minister was quick to oppose that option. In this regard, the issue will be complicated further by Sudan possibly taking over the chairmanship of the AU later in the year.
The matter is extremely politically sensitive. Council members have been looking for some indication that the AU would be ready to support an increased international presence in Darfur, possibly through the deployment of UN peacekeepers in some configuration yet to be determined. Council members do not want to be seen as critical of the AU, acknowledging that, despite its shortcomings, AMIS did play a unique and important role.
There is an understandable reluctance within the AU to dismantle AMIS, which was initially conceptualised as an African solution to African problems. AU Chairman Konare has indicated that the organisation would like to stay for another nine to twelve months. However, he has confirmed that this will not be possible beyond March without additional funds. Hence the two month extension of the AMIS mandate.
In any event, a very important logistical factor suggests that AMIS troops will need to remain deployed for at least six months. The Secretary-General indicated in a press conference that six months would be the likely timeline for UN force generation.
It seems clear that the challenge that has to be addressed by the Secretariat, the AU and the Council is to develop quickly – bearing in mind the financial deadline and the PSC ministerial meeting scheduled ot review the issue by the end of March – a package of decisions which, while needing to be taken by different actors, also need to be closely integrated.
The package needs to:
Be agreeable to the donors so as to permit them to release sufficient funding to the AU to keep AMIS in the field in something like the current configuration for a transitional period of at least 4 – 6 months. (This is likely to require clear guarantees that there will be a transition to a new configuration involving the UN, for that transition to begin soon and for the protection of civilians to become more robust.)
Be sufficiently responsive to AU political concerns to allow the AU to agree to further extend the AMIS mandate for the transitional period and accept the concept of a UN role in Darfur. (This is likely to require an innovative approach, perhaps using the concept of an AU/UN partnership as opposed to a takeover. The question of how the whole operation can be financed via assessed contributions will be a key element in this).
Take into account to some extent concerns from Khartoum. (In this regard Sudan is looking for an outcome that does not involve a UN takeover. To that extent their position is likely to be somewhat subsumed in the wider AU position. Also, there will be more limits on Sudan’s capacity to dictate outcomes than in 2004/05. Sudan’s leverage is less given the AU experience in the field, the fact that UNMIS is now up and running in the south and the Darfur peace process underway in Abuja. As with the North/South peace process, a UN role to guarantee security will almost inevitably be an element in the eventual bargain.)
There will also be significant technical issues to be resolved relating to mandate, force generation, command and control, political oversight, access of personnel and equipment to the theatre and, not least, financing.
Sanctions Committe Developments
The Sudan Sanctions Committee seems to have experienced some difficulties in recent days as Qatar sided with China in objecting to the transmittal of the Panel of Experts’ report to the Council. The move is unprecedented in Council committees, which have forwarded such reports as a matter of routine. The document reportedly points to violations of the arms embargo, especially by Khartoum, Libya, Chad and Eritrea.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|29 November 2005||Darfur peace talks resumed.|
|09 July 2005||The Government of National Unity was inaugurated and John Garang was sworn in.|
|28 April 2005||
The AU increased AMIS to 7,731 personnel.
|31 March 2005||The Council referred Darfur to the ICC.|
|29 March 2005||Further sanctions were imposed in Darfur.|
|24 March 2005||UNMIS was established.|
|25 January 2005||
International Commission of Inquiry concluded that the situations should be referred to the ICC
|09 January 2005||
The CPA was signed.
|18 September 2004||
The ICI was established.
|01 September 2004||Parties to the Darfur conflict called for AU peacekeepers.|
|30 July 2004||The Council imposed the first arms embargo on Darfur.|
Darfur N’Djamena Ceasefire Agreement signed.
|Naivasha Agreement on Security Arrangements (ceasefire between north and south) was signed.|
|February 2003||Rebels rose up in Darfur.|
|July 2002||The Government of Sudan and SPLM/A signed the Machakos Protocol.|
|UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|Jan Pronk (Netherlands)|
|UNMIS Force Commander|
|Lieutenant-General Jasbir Singh Lidder (India)|
|UNMIS: Size and Composition of Mission|
|1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $969.47 million (gross)|
|AU’s Chief Mediator|
|Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)|
|Head of AMIS|
|Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (Nigeria)|
|AMIS Force Commander|
|Major-General Festus Okonkwo (Nigeria)|
|AMIS: Size and Composition|
Click here for other SCR Reports on Darfur/Sudan