Informal Meeting Between Members of the UN Security Council and EU Political and Security Committee
Tomorrow (24 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 seventh annual meeting between members of the two bodies. As this is an informal meeting, it does not appear in the Council’s official programme of work. The meeting will be held at the Permanent Mission of Indonesia, which is the current UN Security Council president.
The discussion is expected to focus on: Libya, the Sahel region, Afghanistan, and peacekeeping operations.
Members of both bodies will most likely express their concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Libya and underscore their support for the efforts Ghassan Salamé, the Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), to reinvigorate the political process. At his most recent briefing to the UN Security Council on 21 May, Salamé warned that the current fighting that began in Libya in early April “could lead to the permanent division of the country” and “call[ed] on the warring parties to engage with the Mission [UNSMIL] to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities and a return to an inclusive, United Nations-led political process”. Members of the two bodies may discuss how to mitigate the impact of the fighting on civilians and share ideas on promoting a political solution to the crisis.
The discussion is likely to focus on the challenging security situation in the Sahel region. The participants in the meeting may focus on the support of the EU and the UN for the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel—consisting of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger (G5 Sahel) and established in February 2017 to combat terrorist and criminal groups in the region. In this regard, they may suggest ways that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) can coordinate their efforts to bolster the effectiveness of the Joint Force. Efforts to make the force fully operational are being made as security, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso, has further deteriorated with spillover effects on neighboring non-G5 countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin. While discussing international cooperation to assist the Joint Force, members of the two bodies may highlight the importance of national ownership among the participating member states of the Joint Force and underscore the need for the Force to respect human rights and international humanitarian law in its actions.
Efforts to find a political solution in Afghanistan—and the potential role of the UN and the EU in this process—could be an important feature of the conversation. There might also be discussion about the presidential elections in Afghanistan, planned for later this year.
The importance of building the capacity of UN peacekeeping operations is expected to be part of the discussion. In this regard, there may be references to the 7 May open debate in the Council on “Investing in Peace: Delivering Quality Training and Capacity Building to Improve Safety and Security and Performance of UN Peacekeepers”. During the debate, UN Secretary-General António Guterres updated the Security Council on efforts to enhance the training of UN peacekeepers, improve the conduct and discipline of peacekeepers, and increase the number of women in UN peace operations. The Council also adopted a presidential statement at the meeting recognising the “added value that the Declaration of Shared Commitments on Peacekeeping Operations has in relation to training and capacity building.” In tomorrow’s meeting, some participants may note their support for this Declaration, which resulted from the Secretary-General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” Initiative and has been endorsed as of the end of 2018 by 151 UN member states and four organisations (the European Union, the Organisation Internationale de la francophonie, the AU Commission, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).