What's In Blue

Resolution on a UN mission in South Sudan

This afternoon ( Wednesday, 6 July) Council members will discuss at permanent representative level a draft resolution on a new mission in South Sudan. The draft resolution was circulated by the US on 30th June and negotiations were held yesterday (5 July) at deputy permanent representative level.

It seems there are several areas of disagreement including the troop and civilian numbers; whether the phrase “all necessary means” is being appropriately used in the draft resolution; the UN’s role in monitoring the border and how to transfer assets from UNMIS to the new mission.

It appears that there is also some uncertainty over the timing of the adoption of the resolution. Questions have been raised about whether a new mission can be set up before a country exists. As a result a separate resolution on the transfer of assets from UNMIS to the new mission is also being discussed as a possible option. This legacy resolution would allow for a technical rollover of UNMIS in the south and would liquidise the mission’s assets in the north. It may need to be adopted ahead of South Sudan’s declaration of independence so that UNMIS’ resources can be carried over without a gap. Another option being discussed is adopting a resolution setting up the new mission and transferring UNMIS’ assets on Saturday, the day of the expiry of UNMIS’ mandate and the declaration of independence of South Sudan.

The force levels are of concern to Council members for different reasons. Some feel that the number is too low for the new mission to fulfill a Chapter VII protection of civilians mandate effectively. Others feel that the numbers are too high as in comparison to UNMIS this new mission would have a smaller area of operation. Members that have budgetary concerns have indicated that they want a mission that is cheaper than UNMIS. There are also some members who feel that it would be best to limit the size of the new mission so that the UN does not take on functions that a newly sovereign state should be responsible for.

The differences over the border monitoring role appear to stem from the fact that while some members want the new mission in South Sudan to take on this role, others feel this would go against the border agreement which described a jointly monitored border with force protection from the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).

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