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Sudan Panel of Experts Mandate Renewal

The Security Council is negotiating a resolution that would renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, which expires on 17 February. At press time, it appeared that adoption, which had been scheduled for 13 February (tomorrow), might be moved to later in the week.

The draft resolution was circulated to Council members in the late afternoon of 8 February (last Friday), and a first round of negotiations was held on 11 February (Monday). It seems that the draft resolution will renew the mandate of the PoE for another year, and it does not appear that there will be any significant changes to the PoE’s mandate. The resolution will likely request the PoE to continue its reporting on the arms embargo, and the activities of those individuals that have been listed by the Sudan Sanction Committee. The resolution is also expected to request the Committee to investigate the role of groups that target personnel from the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Different perspectives emerged during the discussions, particularly regarding Sudan’s cooperation. Some members were in favour of language criticising Sudan for hindering the work of the PoE. (The final report of the PoE, circulated on 24 January to Council members, apparently notes challenges to the panel’s freedom of movement, while discussing two incidents in which two of its members faced intimidation, and one in which one member was denied access into Sudan in spite of having a visa.) Others believed that criticism of Sudan for its lack of cooperation with the PoE should be tempered and that there should be acknowledgement of improved cooperation between Sudan and the PoE compared to 2011.

It seems language on protection of children also came up as an issue. Luxembourg, who is also the chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, was keen to include new language on protection of children in Darfur. It seems that although some of the additions were accepted there were some members that were not comfortable with new language on continuing PoE investigations of perpetrators of grave violations. (The evidence from such investigations could be used to add violations against children to the designation criteria for the Sudan Sanctions Committee.) It appears that an attempt at compromise language on this issue is being made. (The issue of Sudan and children and armed conflict has been a difficult one for the Council recently. The Working Group took more than 12 months last year to agree on conclusions to the Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict in Sudan.)

An additional issue that may require further discussion is the alleged supply of Sudan with materiel or other resources used for military aircraft in Darfur in violation of the arms embargo. Some members appear to support language in the resolution expressing concern about this accusation while others object to such allusions.

At press time, it is unclear whether Council members would reconvene to discuss the draft resolution. It appears that there has been discussion of finalising the draft via telephone and email discussions. Some members, however, seem to prefer for the Council to continue discussion in the context of a meeting.

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