What's In Blue

Posted Wed 21 Nov 2012

Interactive Dialogue on Afghanistan

On 26 November (Monday), the Security Council is planning to hold an informal interactive dialogue with Salahuddin Rabbani, the chair of the Afghan High Peace Council entrusted with promoting peace and reconciliation with insurgents in Afghanistan. It seems Rabbani is in New York to brief the 1988 Sanctions Committee on 27 November (Tuesday) and some members saw an opportunity to have a broader discussion on the reconciliation process.

The visit to UN headquarters comes on the heels of a recent trip by Rabbani to Pakistan (12-14 November) where he met with Pakistani officials and discussed strategies for encouraging insurgents to join the peace process. Council members may be interested in hearing any new ideas that emerged from these discussions. Members are also likely to want to hear his views about the effectiveness of sanctions as a political tool in persuading the Taliban to engage in the peace process.

The informal interactive dialogue with Rabbani also comes at a critical time for Afghanistan. Several Council members are concerned that the security situation remains fragile with the insurgency continuing to be responsible for numerous casualties. There is broad support for the reconciliation process among Council members, although there are differing views over how it should be pursued.

Some of these differences have been clearly seen in the dynamics in the 1988 Sanctions Committee. In general, members of the committee see delisting as an effective tool, with some members appearing more receptive than others to possible exemptions to the sanctions regime in order to facilitate Taliban participation in the Afghan peace process. The most recent report (S/2012/683) of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team that assists the committee suggested that the sanctions regime needs to evolve and adapt and many of the recommendations in the report were in fact related to possible exemptions to the regime. Other committee members, however, appear concerned that exemptions may not lead to a real change in behaviour in the long run.

The second report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team is expected to be discussed by the 1988 Committee in December. The report has been informally circulated to committee members but its publication date is unclear. (The first report was transmitted on 30 March 2012 but only published on 5 September.)

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