What's In Blue

Posted Tue 12 Jun 2012

Annual UNSC Meeting with AU Peace and Security Council

Tomorrow (13 June), Security Council members and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) are scheduled to hold their 6th annual consultative meeting, taking place in New York. (The previous consultations took place in Addis Ababa on 21 May last year during the Council’s visiting mission to Africa. Since the talks between the two bodies were established in 2007 their location has alternated between the two headquarters.) A communiqué is likely to be issued after the meeting tomorrow.

The focus of tomorrow’s meeting is likely to be the situations in Somalia and Sudan/South Sudan and recent developments in Guinea-Bissau and Mali. Issues related to the strengthening of the methods of work and cooperation between the two bodies are also likely to be discussed.

In terms of the draft communiqué, it seems that South Africa introduced a draft to all Council members in New York on 4 June following lengthy negotiations. Council members then agreed on a final draft on 10 June, and later that day it was sent to the AU for consideration by the PSC. At press time, Security Council members were awaiting feedback on the draft from Addis Ababa.

During negotiations on the communiqué in New York, it appears that there were a few areas of contention among Security Council members. Some Council members had wanted to include language welcoming the withdrawal of Sudanese forces from the disputed Abyei region in line with the AU communiqué of 24 April [AU/PSC/MIN/COMM/3.(CCCXIX)] and Security Council resolution 2046 of 2 May. Following South Sudan’s withdrawal of its own police from Abyei on 10 May, Sudan withdrew its soldiers and most of its police but it has retained scores of police personnel in the disputed region on grounds that the police were necessary to protect oil facilities. Some Council members argued that Sudan has only partially complied with the decisions of the AU PSC and the Security Council, and therefore language welcoming the withdrawal was not included.

The first draft also mentioned President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso by name, reaffirming support for the mediation effort he is leading on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Mali. It seems that some Council members, however, preferred to focus the text on the processes underway as opposed to individuals involved. Accordingly, the version of the draft sent to the AU removed his name, stating that the Security Council and the AU PSC “reaffirmed their support to the mediations efforts made by UN, AU and ECOWAS for the restoration of constitutional rule in Mali as well as for initiating concrete steps to protect the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali.”

The explicit reference to the “sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity” is significant, since it implicitly rebuffs the claims of Tuareg rebels in the north of Mali that the region has seceded from the rest of the country.

It appears that Togo has requested an informal interactive dialogue between Security Council members, the AU PSC and ECOWAS for Thursday (14 June). Burkina Faso’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, whose country is leading the ECOWAS mediation efforts on Mali, will likely be speaking during the informal meeting.

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