What's In Blue

Posted Sun 16 Dec 2012

Adoptions for the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees

On Monday morning (17 December) the Council is scheduled to adopt two resolutions — on the 1267/1989 (Al-Qaida) sanctions and 1988 (Taliban) sanctions. Both adoptions had been originally scheduled for 13 December, but were postponed as members needed more time for negotiations. Both resolutions were put in blue late Friday following bilateral negotiations after silence was broken on Friday afternoon.

The 1267/1989 (Al-Qaida) sanctions resolution is expected to renew the mandates of the Ombudsperson and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assisting the 1267/1989 Al Qaida Sanctions Committee for 30 months. (The mandates of the Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Team expire on 17 December. The Monitoring Team services both the 1267/1989 and the 1988 Committees.) It seems members were supportive of renewing both mandates. However, there appear to have been some differences among Council members over how long they should be renewed for. Most members apparently were amenable to extending the length of mandate for both the Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Team from the current 18 months to 36 months. At least two members, however, were reluctant to extend the mandate for the Ombudsperson and the Monitoring Team for the proposed 36 months. On Friday a compromise solution was reached allowing for the resolutions to be adopted by Monday.

Other than the length of the mandate,,another innovation compared to the previous mandate is that the Ombudsperson will now be allowed to ask the Sanctions Committee to consider granting exemptions to individual petitioners to travel in order to meet with her if she is unable to travel to them.

In addition the draft resolution sets up a process allowing the Focal Point mechanism created in resolution 1730 to receive applications from individuals and entities for travel and assets freeze exemptions that would then be considered by the Committee.

The second resolution, on Taliban sanctions is expected to modify the Taliban sanctions regime. (Resolution 1988 adopted in June 2011 expressed the Council’s intention to review the implementation of the resolution within 18 months and “to make adjustments, as necessary, to support peace and stability in Afghanistan.”) Some Council members have concerns that the focus on allowing for exemptions in order to encourage the reconciliation efforts could weaken the aim of sanctions altering the behaviour of insurgents, Nonetheless there is widespread support among Council members for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. As a result the draft Taliban sanctions resolution allows for a number of exemptions that would make it easier for listed individuals to travel in order to participate in meetings in support of peace and reconciliation.

It seems the resolution also strengthens language urging member states to consult the Afghan government before making listing and delisting requests. In addition the resolution calls for the Committee to expedite its decision-making processes.

Some of these changes to the 1988 sanctions regime appear to be largely consistent with the recommendations made in the first report of the Committee’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (S/2012/683), and with requests made by the Afghan government. The Monitoring Team’s report, which was finalised in late March but not published until early September, argued that the regime needed to evolve towards an approach that would support reconciliation in a very difficult security environment. (It seems that the publication of the report was delayed because some Council members objected to the accompanying position paper, which has been the practice since the release of the 2 September 2005 third report (S/2005/572) by the Monitoring Team assisting the 1267 Al-Qaida and Taliban Committee.) Several of the recommendations in the report focused on ways of enhancing the ability of the Taliban to participate in the Afghan peace process including permitting a longer time period for consideration of listing/delisting submissions, largely to allow for consultations with the Afghan government, and potential travel exemptions for Taliban to participate in peace talks.

The Afghan government has also been pressing for similar sanctions modifications to facilitate greater Afghan ownership of the peace process. It seems that it wrote to the members of the Sanctions Committee, requesting that travel exemptions be made to allow certain listed individuals to participate in peace talks, requesting that delisting procedures occur more quickly in the Sanctions Committee, and asking for consultation with the Afghan government before listing and delisting decisions are made. Additionally, it seems that during an informal interactive dialogue on 27 November, Salahaddin Rabbani, chair of the Afghan High Peace Council, called for modifications to the committee.

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