Security Council Report June 2008

The Security Council Report for June 2008 is out. Below are some of the highlights.

In early June, a Council mission will visit Sudan and Chad. Discussions are likely to include: the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the recent violence, prospects for a cessation of hostilities and a peace process in Darfur; deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); and Chad-Sudan relations and the conflicts in both countries. Non-governmental organisations are urging that Council members also raise the issue of implementation of resolution 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). A report on the mission, a briefing and a debate appear likely. It is unclear whether any new proposals on Darfur issues will emerge in June. In June, the Council will also hear the semi-annual briefing by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The quarterly briefing by the sanctions committee chairman is also expected in mid-June.

Chad/Central African Republic
A Council mission will visit Chad and Sudan in early June. Topics for discussion include: the countries’ security and political situation; Chad-Sudan relations; and the deployment of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and of the EU Force (EUFOR, the European military force deployed pursuant a Security Council authorisation under resolution 1778). Members are also likely to have in mind the issue of follow-up arrangements for EUFOR. On return to New York, the mission is expected to produce a report and brief the Council. A debate is also possible. It is unclear whether the Council’s substantial focus will remain on Darfur, or whether, in light of the wider regional dimensions, the Council will move to a more concretely regional approach, including a sustainable political process in Chad as well as in Sudan, and addressing also Sudan-Chad relations. The semi-annual report from the UN Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) is due in late June. A Secretariat briefing and discussions in consultations are expected. A regular report on MINURCAT is also expected in late June or perhaps early July. MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 25 September and BONUCA’s on 31 December.

The mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) expires on 15 June. A report from the Secretary-General is due by 1 June. The Council will be interested in his assessment of progress in the discussions that are preparing the ground for the resumption of full-fledged negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides. At this stage, the Council is expected to renew UNFICYP’s mandate without any change. It is likely also to express full support for the renewed Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot initiative.

The Council is expected to renew for another six months the mandate of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others. This expires on 15 June. The Council received a letter from the Lebanese government on 16 May expressing the hope that the Council would extend the mandate until 31 December. Given the indications of support for the tribunal also from the newly elected Lebanese president, Michel Suleiman, renewal is likely to be uncontroversial.

Golan Heights
The mandate of the UN Disengagement Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF) expires on 30 June, and a report by the Secretary-General is due in June. UNDOF was established in May 1974 by resolution 350 after the October 1973 war. UNDOF is tasked with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Syria and supervising the areas of separation and limitation. The Council is expected to follow its usual practice of extending the UNDOF mandate for another six months along with a call upon the parties to implement resolution 338 of 1973 (which called on the parties to start negotiations on a just and durable peace and to implement resolution 242 of 1967 on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories). It is expected that there will be a presidential statement, as has been the practice since 1976, drawing attention to the wider issues in the region and noting that the Middle East will remain tense until a comprehensive settlement is reached.

Issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme will be in the minds of Council members during June following the release on 26 May of the most recent report from the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed ElBaradei. However, no Council action is currently anticipated. Discussions are expected within the E3+3 (France, Germany and the UK plus China, Russia and the US) both on the IAEA report and on prospects for resumption of direct negotiations with Iran. Also in June, the chairman of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee is expected to brief the Council on progress in compliance by member states with sanctions imposed in resolutions 1737, 1747 and 1803. (The 1737 committee was established in December 2006 after the Council adopted resolution 1737 imposing measures against Iran.)

Iraq (MNF)
The Council is expected to review in June the mandates of the Multi-National Force in Iraq (MNF-I), the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB, the audit oversight body for the DFI). At press time, it was unclear whether the next MNF-I briefing to the Council and the next Secretary-General’s report on the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), currently scheduled for July, would also be considered in June. The Council is likely to be briefed by the US on the activities of the MNF-I. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is also expected to brief on current developments. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq Staffan de Mistura may also brief the Council. A debate is likely to follow. A statement (perhaps a press statement) is a possible outcome. The mandate of UNAMI expires on 10 August and the mandate of MNF-I on 31 December.

In early June, the next report is due from the Secretary-General on Iraq’s compliance with resolution 1284 on the repatriation of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains, and the return of property following the first Gulf War. The Council will likely hold consultations and hear a briefing by the new High-level Coordinator Gennady Tarasov of Russia (who in April succeeded the late Yuli Vorontsov). At press time, the briefing was scheduled for 26 June. The Council is likely to follow its usual practice and issue a press statement.

The Liberia Sanctions Committee is expected to receive the report of its Panel of Experts by 1 June, to assist in deliberations on the sanctions regime (arms embargo, assets freeze and travel embargo) imposed between 2003 and 2007 by resolutions 1521, 1731 and 1792. The Panel’s mandate expires on 20 June and a resolution authorising extension is likely. The current sanctions regime expires on 19 December.

The Council expects to receive the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS). A Council statement is possible. The mandate of UNOGBIS expires on 31 December.

International Criminal Tribunals
The Council will receive briefings from the presidents and prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) on completion strategies for each tribunal on 4 June. No formal action is required. However, in 2003 resolution 1503 established an expectation that the tribunals would complete “all trial activities at first instance” by the end of 2008 and all work in 2010. Reports from the ICTY and ICTR, expected to be released in early June, are likely to indicate that both deadlines will not be met. The Council may discuss various options for assisting the tribunals to meet the deadline. Some Council members may also focus on “legacy” or “residual issues” (which would either survive the legal existence of the tribunals or be created by their closure.) However, with the Council majority of ambassadors away on the Council mission to Africa at the time of the briefing, no substantive action is expected.

UN Office for West Africa
The semi-annual report of the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA) is expected in June. The mandate expires on 31 December 2010.

Counter-Terrorism: Al-Qaida and Taliban
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, which analyses the implementation of embargoes imposed on Al-Qaida and the Taliban, and assists the 1267 Committee. The Council may adopt changes in how its list of individuals and entities under sanctions is compiled and may discuss proposals to improve the process for delisting individuals. (Four European nations have raised concerns about lack of due process before the resolution is adopted.) The Council may also consider recommendations in a report by the Monitoring Team.

Counter-Terrorism: Weapons of Mass Destruction
The 1540 Committee on weapons of mass destruction is reviewing a 71-page draft report that was due on 27 April. During the May briefing by the chairs of the three counter-terrorism committees, the 1540 Committee Chairman, Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica, said the report would be ready “as soon as possible” or by 31 July at the latest. The Council may issue a statement urging states’ compliance with the resolution, having extended the Committee’s mandate for three years on 25 April.

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