Update Report

Update No. 4: Security Council Mission to Africa

Update Report in Word and PDF

On 28 May the Council is expecting a briefing on the recent mission by Council members to Africa. The five-day, four-country trip had four leaders who led or co-led the delegation at different destinations.

The 16 May visit to Addis Ababa, whose main focus was enhancing the UN partnership with the African Union on issues of common interest to the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), was led jointly by the UK Ambassador John Sawers and the Ugandan Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda. They also co-led the 17 May visit to Rwanda.

The 18-19 May visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) took place under the leadership of French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert.

US Ambassador Susan Rice led the 20 May visit to Liberia.

All four permanent representatives are expected to participate in briefing the Council.

Addis Ababa
While the Council’s relationship with the PSC was the main focus of the Ethiopian leg of the trip, members also met the country’s leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The main feature of the programme in Addis Ababa was a three-hour session with the PSC, preceded by a meeting with the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Jean Ping.

Some of the meeting with the PSC was spent on procedural issues because various differences had emerged between the two bodies. African leaders had been eager to emphasise the growing relationship and therefore preferred a more formal event. By contrast, some members of the Council, in particular the P5, insisted on the informal nature of the event (in fact, on the eve of the meeting, the Russian president of the Security Council sent a letter to the AU emphasising the informal nature of the meeting). The African side was also eager to have a thorough follow-up discussion of the meetings in New York in March between the AU and the UN on the report by the AU-UN panel on modalities for support to AU peacekeeping operations (the Prodi Report). This issue was not included in the Council terms of reference for the trip and Council members were reluctant to pursue it in greater detail. This matter was discussed briefly and is likely to reemerge following the publication of the Secretary-General’s report requested by the March presidential statement and due in September.

Other issues discussed included the situation in Sudan (including the increased hostilities between Chad and Sudan); UN support for the AU mission in Somalia (with the African Union continuing to press for the eventual conversion of the operation into a UN peacekeeping mission); and the recent upsurge of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.

At the end of the joint session, a communiqué was issued which described briefly the content of the meeting and stated that the two bodies will “pursue their consultations on ways and means to strengthen their cooperation and partnership” with the next consultative meeting to be held in New York in 2010.

Finally, in preparation for the next leg of their trip, with a focus on the recent rapprochement between the DRC and Rwanda, the delegation received an extensive briefing from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The visit to Rwanda was the first official Council trip to the country and began with a visit to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial Museum.

The delegation then met with the country’s foreign minister. One issue raised was targeted sanctions. UN sanctions appeared to have played a significant role in recent developments between Rwanda and the DRC. The issue raised by the foreign minister was a list of 19 individuals whose names the Government of Rwanda submitted to the DRC Sanctions Committee in May 2008. (Four of those names had been added to the UN sanctions list by early 2009.)

Several observers have noted the possible connection between Council-imposed sanctions and the recent rapprochement between Rwanda and the DRC. Following the December 2008 report of the DRC Group of Experts, which pointed to Rwanda as violating some sanctions, two European states suspended some economic aid to Rwanda. This has been seen as perhaps a factor in prompting Rwanda to reevaluate its relationship with the DRC, contributing to its decision to detain CNDP (Congrès national pour la défense du peuple) leader Laurent Nkunda, engage in joint military operations with the DRC and actively pursue a peace process.

The Council then took a helicopter trip to Mutobo, northwest of Kigali, showcasing a rehabilitation and demobilisation camp holding some 550 former soldiers from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

At the end of the day, Council members met Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The nearly two hour meeting focused on Rwanda’s relationship with the DRC as well as on general issues such as international justice and UN peacekeeping, with the Rwandan leader conveying to Council members his concerns about these two matters.

The two day trip to the DRC began in Goma, in the North Kivu region of the country. In addition to expressing the Council’s overall support for the Rwanda-Congolese rapprochement, the goals of the trip included: a better grasp of the functioning of the largest UN peacekeeping operation, MONUC (UN Mission in the DRC); a briefing on the prospects for MONUC’s strengthening in the immediate future (some 3,000 personnel are expected by June or July); plans for MONUC’s eventual drawdown (expected by 2011); an update on the joint operations (Kimia II and Rubia II) undertaken by MONUC and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) against FDLR and the Lord’s Resistance Army, respectively.

While in Goma Council members met with victims of sexual violence and travelled by helicopter to a displaced persons camp at Kiwanja, where they also visited a headquarters for the operation Kimia II.

Council members explored possible ways to improve the protection of civilians’ aspect of MONUC’s mandate and raised concerns about reports of abuses of civilians perpetrated by remnants of the rebel forces as well as FARDC. (The FARDC has absorbed former rebel combatants. Resolution 1856 called on the Congolese leadership to create a vetting mechanism “to take into account when they select candidates for official positions, including key posts in the armed forces, national police and other security services, the candidates’ past actions in terms of respect for international humanitarian law and human rights.” Civil society representatives who met Council members in Goma reported that several known perpetrators have not been screened out. The DRC Group of Experts in its 14 May report recommended that “the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo implement a vetting mechanism to screen the human rights records of FARDC officers within the wider context of security sector reform.”)

In its meetings with top DRC leaders, including the prime minister and the president, the delegation brought up five specific names of former rebel commanders who had been absorbed into the FARDC despite their documented abuses against civilian population. MONUC had first brought the names to the DRC judicial authorities’ attention in early 2008, in letters sent by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General. The delegation received assurances that the matter will be addressed.

The Council last visited Liberia in 2004, soon after the establishment of the mandate of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in the aftermath of the bloody civil war. The visit in 2009 was meant to assess the progress made and to evaluate whether the conditions were ripe for the drawdown of the mission. The mission has already been reduced from some 15,000 to a little over 10,000 and the Secretary-General has recommended further gradual reductions. Some members, notably France, want a faster drawdown while others, in particular the US, are opposed to an accelerated process, arguing that the situation remains very fragile and that what today can be described as a relative success story could easily become another repeated crisis in a very volatile region of West Africa.

The 24-hour stay in Monrovia included a meeting with the International Contact Group for Liberia (comprised of Monrovia-based ambassadors of Nigeria, the US, the AU, Sweden, France, the UK, Germany, the European Commission, Spain and ECOWAS who were also joined by representatives of China and Libya), a visit to the Indian female police unit of UNMIL, a tour of Monrovia’s largest prison, and a visit to a rehabilitation centre for ex-combatants. The delegation also met representatives of civil society, the commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the leaders of key private companies operating in Liberia. The Council also met the country’s president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The fragility of the peace was highlighted at most meetings. Several of the Council’s interlocutors emphasised the additional adverse impact of the economic crisis on the overall situation of Liberia, a country with high unemployment and a high number of underemployed and unemployed ex-combatants whose idleness creates additional security threats.

Security Council Delegation
Austria: Thomas Mayr-Harting
Burkina Faso: Michel Kafando
China: Long Zhou
Costa Rica: Jorge Urbina
Croatia: Ranko Vilovic
France: Jean-Maurice Ripert
Japan: Yukio Takasu
Libya: Abdurrahman Shalgham
Mexico: Claude Heller
Russian Federation: Vladimir Safronkov
Turkey: Fazli Corman
Uganda: Ruhakana Rugunda
United Kingdom: John Sawers
United States: Susan Rice
Viet Nam: Hoang Chi Trung

UN Documents on Cooperation with the AU

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1872 (26 May 2009) condemned renewed fighting in Somalia, and extended the mandate of AMISOM through 31 January 2010.
  • S/RES/1863 (16 January 2009) renewed authorisation of AMISOM for up to six months, approved using UN resources to strengthen AMISOM and expressed the Council’s intention to establish a UN peacekeeping operation by 1 June 2009.
  • S/RES/1769 (31 July 2007) established UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) was the resolution on the situation in Sudan mandating UN assistance to AMIS.
  • S/RES/1631 (17 October 2005) was the first resolution adopted by the Security Council on cooperation with regional organisations.
  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a summit-level declaration on the effectiveness of the Security Council’s role in conflict prevention, calling for the strengthening of cooperation and communication between the UN and regional and subregional organisations in accordance with Chapter VIII.
  • S/RES/1197 (18 September 1998) was a resolution on the need for the UN to provide support to regional and subregional organisations and to strengthen coordination between the UN and those organisations.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/11 (5 May 2009) was on peace and security in Africa, welcoming the work of the AU with respect to the resurgence of coups d’etat in Africa.
  • S/PRST/2009/3 (18 March 2009) asked the Secretary-General to submit a report by 18 September that will include a detailed assessment of the recommendations contained in the AU-UN Panel report, in particular those on financing, as well as on the establishment of a joint AU-UN team.
  • S/PRST/2007/42 (6 November 2007) was on the role of regional and subregional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2007/31 (28 August 2007) requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the options for further implementation of resolution 1625.
  • S/PRST/2007/7 (28 March 2007) was on relations between the UN and regional organisations, particularly the African Union.
  • S/PRST/2006/55 (19 December 2006) endorsed the phased approach towards a hybrid AU-UN force agreed upon by the AU Peace and Security Council.
  • S/PRST/2006/39(20 September 2006) welcomed the progress made in realising the goals of resolution 1631 and urged contributions to the capacity building of regional organisations and subregional organisations, particularly of the AU and African subregional organisations.
  • S/PRST/2004/44 (19 November 2004) recognised the importance of strengthening cooperation with the AU in order to help build its capacity to deal with collective security challenges.

Selected Letters

  • S/2009/243 (12 May 2009) contained the terms of reference for the 14-21 May 2009 mission to Africa.
  • S/2008/229 (8 April 2008) and S/2007/148 (14 March 2007) were letters from South Africa forwarding the concept paper on the relationship between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU, in the maintenance of international peace and security.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/210 (16 April 2009) was the report requested by resolution 1863 on a possible UN peacekeeping deployment in Somalia.
  • S/2009/201 (14 April 2009) was the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID.
  • S/2008/186 (7 April 2008) was the Secretary-General’s latest report on enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, in particular the AU.



UN Documents on the DRC

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1857 (22 December 2008) renewed the sanctions regime for the DRC and extended the Group of Experts’ mandate until 30 November.
  • S/RES/1856 (22 December 2008) renewed MONUC’s mandate and continued authorisation of the additional 3,085 troops for MONUC until 31 December 2009.
  • S/RES/1843 (20 November 2008) authorised the temporary deployment of an additional 3,085 troops to reinforce MONUC’s capacity.
  • S/RES/1807 (31 March 2008) lifted the arms embargo for government forces, strengthened measures related to aviation and customs.
  • S/RES/1698 (31 July 2006), 1649 (21 December 2005) and 1596 (18 April 2005) strengthened sanctions, including provisions in resolution 1698 against actors recruiting and using children in armed conflict in the DRC.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/48 (22 December 2008) welcomed regional efforts to address the security threat posed by the LRA.
  • S/PRST/2008/40 (29 October 2008) condemned the offensive by the rebel CNDP in the eastern region of the DRC and noted the request for reinforcement of MONUC.
  • S/PRST/2008/38 (21 October 2008) expressed concern about the resurgence of violence in the eastern parts of the DRC and requested a comprehensive analysis of the situation.

Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2009/160 (27 March 2009) was the latest report on the DRC.


  • S/2009/253 (14 May 2009) was the latest report of the DRC (1533) Sanctions Committee Group of Experts.
  • SC/9633 (9 April 2009) was the latest Council press release on the situation in the DRC.
  • SC/9608 (3 March 2009) was the press release on the addition of four individuals to the assets freeze and travel ban list by the DRC Sanctions Committee.
  • S/2009/105 (19 February 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General informing the Council of the revised concept of operations and rules of engagement for MONUC.
  • S/PV.6083 (17 February 2009) was the briefing to the Council on the humanitarian situation in the DRC by Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes.
  • S/2009/52 (27 January 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General informing the president of the Council about difficulties being encountered in attempts to secure additional troops and capacities for MONUC.
  • SC/9576 (16 January 2009) was the press statement of the Council expressing concern about LRA activities.
  • SG/SM/12029 (30 December 2008) was the Secretary-General’s press statement on the LRA.
  • S/2008/791 (15 December 2008) was the response from Rwanda to the findings of the DRC Group of Experts.
  • S/2008/773 (10 December 2008) was the report of the Group of Experts for the DRC.
  • S-8/1 (1 December 2008) was the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council.

UN Documents on Liberia

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1854 (19 December 2008) renewed the arms and travel sanctions for a further 12 months and extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts that monitors implementation of the sanctions regime until 20 December.
  • S/RES/1836 (29 September 2008) renewed the UNMIL mandate for 12 months and endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the mission’s drawdown.
  • S/RES/1819 (18 June 2008) requested the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts on Liberia until 20 December 2008.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/86 (10 February 2009) was the latest UNMIL report.
  • S/2007/479 (8 August 2007) was the Secretary-General’s drawdown plan for UNMIL.


  • S/2009/236 (7 May 2009) was the latest report of the Liberia (1521) Sanctions Committee.
  • S/2009/109 (24 February 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General appointing the third member of the Panel of Experts on Liberia.
  • S/2009/47 (22 January 2009) was a letter from the Secretary-General appointing two members to the Panel of Experts on Liberia.
  • S/2008/785 (30 November 2008) was the latest report of the Panel of Experts on Liberia.