What's In Blue

Posted Wed 12 Feb 2014

Resolution on Sudan Sanctions

Following two rounds of negotiations last Friday (7 February) and Monday (10 February), the Security Council appears set to adopt a resolution tomorrow (13 February) renewing for a period of thirteen months the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee. The PoE mandate is due to expire on 17 February.

The final report of the PoE dated 22 January (S/2014/87) was transmitted by Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), the chair of the 1591 Committee, to the President of the Council on 7 February. The final report makes several recommendations to the Council and the Committee, a few of which were included by the US, the penholder on Sudan sanctions, in the initial draft resolution. Most of these, however, did not make it into the final draft, which has now been put into blue. One recommendation that has been included in the final draft is a reduction in the frequency of PoE reports to a bi-annual programme. The midterm briefing is now due by 31 July 2014, and the final report by 17 January 2015. Previously, the PoE had an interim report due within 90 days as well.

The initial draft included language on restrictions on military flights within Darfur by the Government of Sudan and a reiteration of the obligation of member states to ensure that arms sold or supplied to Sudan be contingent upon the receipt of adequate end user documentation. Both these points were part of the PoE’s recommendations but were apparently removed, largely due to objections by China and Russia. However, drawing upon the findings of the PoE, Council members did agree on new language regarding the regulation of small arms and light weapons, calling upon Sudan to address their illicit transfer, accumulation, and misuse in Darfur.

Another recommendation made by the final report that was initially included in the draft resolution concerns the travel ban imposed by paragraph 3(d) of resolution 1591. The draft text called for the Government of Sudan to restrict the travel of designated Sudanese nationals (targeted by resolution 1672) to other countries. In response to objections by two Council members, the language has since been changed to reiterate the obligation of all states to implement the travel ban and to call upon Sudan to improve cooperation and information sharing with other states.

Perhaps the most significant division during negotiations concerned whether there is a need for a national dialogue in Sudan or whether the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) should be the only basis for negotiations concerning Darfur. The initial draft included language regarding the need for a “national political process” in both preambular and operative paragraphs, to which China and Russia strongly objected. There was also a sense among some other Council members that a sanctions renewal resolution may not be the most appropriate avenue to address this issue. As a compromise, the word “national” was removed from subsequent drafts. Russia later broke silence in part due to remaining language which implied that implementation of the DDPD can be a part (rather than the only mechanism) of an “inclusive political process”. As this language was retained in the final text, it is unclear how this may weigh in Russia’s vote tomorrow.

Finally, it appears that the Council may have missed an opportunity to incorporate information from the 20-23 January visit to Khartoum and Darfur by Ambassador Perceval as chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee. Perceval did not brief Council members in consultations until after negotiations on the draft resolution had been largely concluded. This is perhaps not surprising given that in most cases the chair and penholder are not the same, but it can at times affect the effective management of UN sanctions regimes.

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