Briefing and Consultations on Abyei
The Council will receive a briefing and hold consultations tomorrow morning (Thursday, 8 December) on the Secretary-General’s 27 November report on the situation in Abyei (S/2011/741). Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will likely brief. Representatives of Sudan and South Sudan are also likely to address the Council. The briefing is expected to focus on the political and humanitarian situation in Abyei, and the deployment status and activities of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA).
It seems that Council members will also likely discuss a draft resolution, circulated earlier this week, which would give UNISFA a border monitoring support role in line with the agreements between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan on border security arrangements. The Secretary-General in his latest report said that the establishment of a joint border monitoring mechanism “is essential to help address existing tensions and restore confidence.” At the same time, he urged the parties to reach “agreement on the mapping of the border zone and locations for the monitoring mechanism.”
While concerns about the difficult security situation on the ground remain, all Council members appear to be in favour of adding a border monitoring support role to UNISFA’s mandate. It seems that some members are ready to adopt the resolution as early as tomorrow, but others would like more time to consider the text and receive reactions from capitals. It appears that these members are likely to have amendments that could require further negotiations on the text.
It also seems that some members of the Council are puzzled as to why the border monitoring mechanism could not be incorporated into the renewal of UNISFA’s mandate later this month instead of being addressed in a separate resolution.
It seems that the draft resolution gives UNISFA a number of additional tasks in support of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). These tasks include observance of security commitments within the safe demilitarised border zone; supporting JBVMM activities, as well as assisting and advising it on the implementation of a number of border security mechanisms.
Council members are also likely to seek more information on the security situation in Abyei. The Secretary-General’s 27 November report said that the situation remained “calm but unpredictable” and that the Sudanese armed forces and police as well as the South Sudanese police were still in Abyei. It also indicated that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) had withdrawn but that individual members of the SPLA had been seen in the area.