UN Security Council and EU Political and Security Committee Informal Meeting
Tomorrow morning (18 May), UN Security Council members will hold an informal meeting with members of the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC). Members of the PSC are the Brussels-based ambassadors of EU member states, dealing with the EU’s common foreign, security, and defense policy. This will be the sixth annual meeting between members of the two bodies. As this is an informal meeting, it is not included on the UN Security Council’s official programme of work. The meeting will be held at the premises of the EU Delegation to the UN.
The discussion is expected to focus on: peacekeeping in Africa, Syria, Iraq, and cooperation on sanctions.
Peacekeeping in Africa
Members of the Council and the PSC are expected to discuss efforts to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping in Africa. The technical agreement signed by the UN, the EU and the G5 Sahel to channel financial contributions to the G5 Sahel Joint Force through the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is likely to be addressed during the meeting. Recognising the linkages between security and development, members of the Council and the PSC may discuss the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and The Alliance for the Sahel, an initiative among the EU, Germany and France that seeks to enhance coordination of development assistance for the region.
Participants in the meeting are also likely to discuss the work of EU field missions in countries and regions on the UN Security Council’s agenda. Such missions include the EU Training Missions (in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Somalia); the EU Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM); and the EU capacity-building mission in Sahel/Niger (EUCAP Sahel Niger).
The EU’s financial commitment to AU peace support operations through the African Peace Facility may also be discussed.
The need to relaunch the political process in Syria will most likely be addressed during the meeting. The members of the Council and the PSC may address the response of the EU and its member states to the humanitarian challenges in Syria. A joint EU-UN conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, held on 24-25 April in Brussels, raised over $4 billion in pledges in humanitarian aid for Syrians in 2018. Meeting participants may also discuss the divisions in the UN Security Council with regard to efforts to develop an attribution mechanism and to promote accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Iraq following the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) may be addressed. Council members might be interested in hearing more from PSC members about the EU’s strategy for Iraq, which was unveiled in January and outlined the EU’s main policy objectives with regard to Iraq. These include: preserving the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country; promoting inclusive economic growth; strengthening national identity and reconciliation; strengthening the justice system; and addressing migration challenges and supporting Iraq’s positive relations with its neighbors.
Efforts to pursue accountability for the crimes of ISIL are of mutual concern to members of the PSC and the Council. In 2017, the Council adopted resolution 2379, which established an investigative team to support national efforts in Iraq to hold ISIL accountable for crimes committed in the country. The EU has committed to provide part of the funding for this accountability mechanism.
Cooperation on Sanctions
An issue of interest to the Council and the PSC is how they can work together to improve the implementation of sanctions and strengthen compliance. Along these lines, members of both bodies may discuss how to enhance the capacity of states to implement sanctions and ways of using sanctions more effectively as a tool to leverage improved behaviour of targeted parties. The effect of UN and EU sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and efforts to promote the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula could be a topic of the meeting. Similarly, the fate of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which resulted in the termination of the Council’s 1737 Iran sanctions regime, may be addressed in the meeting, given the decision of the US to leave the agreement.