20 December 2006
Security Council
SC/8915

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5601st Meeting (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY CHAIRS OF SUBSIDIARY BODIES

 


Nearing the anticipated completion this week of its work for 2006, the Security Council this afternoon heard briefings by the Chairmen of its subsidiary bodies, including on the situations in a number of African countries, counter-terrorism efforts, general issues of sanctions and the Council’s own working methods and procedures.


Briefing the Council were the Chairmen of the following bodies: the “918 Committee” concerning Rwanda; the “1373 Committee” concerning counter-terrorism; the “1521 Committee” concerning Liberia; the “1267 Committee” concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban; the“1572 Committee” concerning Côte d’Ivoire; the “1591 Committee” concerning the Sudan; and the “1132 Committee” concerning Sierra Leone.  It also heard from the Chairmen of the informal working group on general issues of sanctions, the informal working group on documentation and other procedural questions, and the working group on peacekeeping operations.


Greece’s representative, speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the “1591 Committee” on the Sudan, said that, despite the targeted sanctions against those who violated the arms embargo and impeded the peace process, weapons and military supply were being transferred to Darfur without the Committee’s formal approval.  The Committee’s expert panel on the situation in Darfur had put forward, in a confidential document, the names of the individuals for possible inclusion for targeted sanctions, raising the concern of some who felt the panel should take political sensitivities into account and be more attuned to the ongoing diplomatic initiatives to address the Darfur situation.  So far, the Committee had not been able to designate any individual on its lists, due to a lack of unity of purpose and political will.  Given the deteriorating situation in Darfur, sanctions must be one part of an overall solution.  They could only be effective if they had Council members’ full support.


Describing international terrorism as one of the greatest threats to humanity, Argentina’s representative, in his capacity as Chairman of the “1267 Committee” concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban, stressed the need for the Council to be united in action in order to be effective, while, at the same time, respecting human rights.  Sanctions were an important weapon in the fight against Al-Qaida, which appeared to be working with more complex methods.  While the United Nations had played an important role over the past 60 years, it now had the task of preventing and facing terrorism.  The Committee’s important task would not be sufficient if the political, social and economic causes, from which terrorism stemmed, were not addressed, however.  The Council should, therefore, redouble its efforts to achieve a just peace in the Middle East and socio-economic development in Afghanistan.


Denmark’s representative said she had taken over as Chairman of the “Counter-Terrorism Committee” at a time when that body was waiting for its new support structure, its Executive Directorate, to be staffed and to become operational.  Those new resources had given the Committee enhanced opportunities to achieve more results in fulfilling its mandate to monitor implementation of resolution 1373 (2001).  The measuring stick had been assisting Member States to implement the resolution.  One of the biggest challenges had been to get away from the seemingly endless reporting, towards a stronger focus on implementation.  The Committee had now taken significant steps in that regard.  Instead of always asking them to report, the Committee shared with concerned States its analysis of how far each had come in its implementation.  It was up to States to keep the Committee informed about any new developments.


Statements were also made by the representative of Japan in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council informal working group on documentation and other procedural questions and the Security Council working group on peacekeeping operations, and by the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, in his capacity as Chair of the “1132 Committee” concerning Sierra Leone.  The representative of Denmark also spoke as Chair of the Committee established by resolution 1521 (2003) on Liberia.  Argentina’s representative also spoke as Chair of the Committee established by resolution 918 (1994) on Rwanda.  The representative of Greece also spoke as Chair of the Committee established by resolution 1572 (2004) on Côte d’Ivoire.


The meeting began at 12:16 p.m. and adjourned at 1:33 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met this afternoon to hear briefings by the Chairmen of its subsidiary bodies, including the following:  the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan; the informal working group on general issues of sanctions; Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1636 (2005) concerning the Hariri investigation; the informal working group on documentation and other procedural questions, and the working group on peacekeeping operations; and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) concerning Sierra Leone.


Summary of Briefings


CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina), Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda, noted that, as the Council was aware, the restrictions imposed by paragraph 13 of resolution 918 referring to the sale or provision of arms or material to the Government of Rwanda, had been lifted on 1 September 1996, in accordance with paragraph 8 of resolution 1011.  All States continued to have the obligation to implement the provision restricting the sale or provision of arms or material to non-government forces.  During his chairmanship, the Committee had not received any information as to violations of the sanctions in place.  That did not mean, however, that there had not been any, only that they had not been proven.


Stressing the importance that the Committee receive information on any arms transaction, he noted that there was no specific monitoring mechanism to ensure the implementation of the arms embargo.  The Committee, therefore, depended exclusively on information from States.  During 2006, the Committee had held three informal consultations.  The Committee had considered a letter dated 10 March 2006 from the President of the Council Committee relating to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning to the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In that letter, the chair of the “1533 Committee” had observed that an arms export/import to Rwanda’s Government referred to in the report of the Group of Experts (document S/2006/53), might fall under paragraph 11 of Council resolution 1011 (1996), which requested States to notify the Committee of such imports/exports.


He noted that, on 10 November, he had dispatched a letter, in which he acknowledged that, on 11 September 1996, the Committee had issued a press release stating that no notifications were required by States of exports from their territories of arms and related materiel to Rwanda’s Government or by the Government of imports of arms and related material.  He had also noted that States referred to in the group of experts report had, therefore, acted according to the understanding of the Committee, when they had not notified the Committee about the transfer of arms to Rwanda’s Government.  The Committee was currently reviewing the notification mechanism requirement for any future arms transfers to Rwanda’s Government within the scope of paragraph 11 of resolution 1011.  The Committee, in recent discussions, had been unable to reach agreement on the future status of the notification requirement, due to differing views among its members.


He said the Committee was currently revising the requirements for the notification procedure for future arms transfers to the Government of Rwanda, in line with paragraph 11 of the resolution 1011.  The Committee had not been able to arrive at a consensus on the status of the requirement for notification for the transfer of arms to Rwanda’s Government.  In that regard, he drew attention to the ambiguity regarding the duration of the requirements for notification established by paragraph 11 of resolution 1011.  In his capacity as Chair of the “918 Committee”, he requested the Security Council to take a decision on the future status of the requirement.  He suggested that it take into account the current peace and stability that Rwanda was experiencing, as well as the implications that the transfer of arms had for the Great Lakes region.


ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) spoke in her capacity as Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001) concerning counter-terrorism, and of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia.  She had taken over as Chairman of the “Counter-Terrorism Committee” at a time when that body was waiting for its new support structure, its Executive Directorate, to be staffed and to become operational.  Those new resources had given the Committee enhanced opportunities to achieve more results through the fulfilment of its mandate to monitor and promote implementation of resolution 1373.  The measuring stick had been assisting Member States to implement the resolution.


She said that one of the biggest challenges had been to get away from the seemingly endless reporting towards a stronger focus on implementation.  More Member States felt less inclined to work with the Committee because it was not clear how the information they provided was used.  It appeared as if providing information only led to requests for more.  The Committee had now taken significant steps away from requesting more reports from States.  Instead of always asking them to report, the Committee would share with the concerned States its analysis of how far each had come in its implementation.  It was up to States to keep the Committee informed about any new developments.  Whatever gaps were identified would be regarded as shortcomings in implementation until the State provided documentation to the Committee on how it had taken steps to ensure that gaps were filled.


The Committee had also devoted attention to enhancing its role as facilitator of technical assistance, an area where more could, and should, be done, she suggested.  Visits to States had become a regular tool, and she thanked the States that had hosted such visits.  She encouraged States, in cooperation with the Executive Directorate, to ensure that the visits led to enhanced implementations, including through setting priorities and ensuring follow-up.  Finally, work had expanded with more regional organizations, and best practices had been developed.  In addition, an overview of States’ implementation of resolution 1624 (2005) had also been assessed, and it had now become routine to include human rights aspects in the implementation of resolution 1373 in the Committee’s work.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee, with the support of its Executive Directorate, had “great potential” to become a key partner for States in their implementation of resolution 1373. 


Turning to the “Liberia Sanctions Committee”, she said there had been marked improvement of the situation in Liberia after the democratically elected Government had taken office in January.  The Council could, through the use of targeted sanctions, create a strong incentive for concerned parties to change their course of action in the interest of peace.  The Liberia sanctions regime, which was part of a comprehensive policy, was a pertinent example of such a positive effect.


She noted that, two months ago, the Council had decided not to reinstate the timber sanctions, since Liberia had adopted the necessary legislation to ensure that revenues from the timber industry would not again fuel conflict, but benefit the Liberians.  The work in the Committee monitoring the conditions set for the lifting of sanctions and the specific wording, especially in resolution 1689 (2006) had been instrumental in ensuring the swift adoption of effective legislation, illustrating how the Council’s decisions could have a direct effect on the ground.


Unfortunately, she said, the Council had had to extend the diamond sanctions.  However, she felt confident that the extension would continue to be a vehicle for reform, so that Liberia could become Kimberley-compliant and the embargo could be lifted within the next six months.


Meanwhile, the value of the expert panel -- the Committee’s “daily eyes and ears on the ground” -- could not be underestimated, she said.  The current Liberia panel had accrued an in-depth knowledge of the history of the sanctions, benefiting the Committee, as well as the Government, which had also profited from the experts’ advice.  That was why the Council had just extended their mandate.  In that context, she appealed for a constructive look at the administrative procedures for appointing panel experts, so as to ensure that the procedures served the subject matter and enhanced institutional memory.


It had been her goal as Committee Chairman to ensure that positive developments in Liberia also resulted in adjustments to the individual sanctions, she noted.  She had discussed that several times with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, including during her visit in April.  One individual had been de-listed last week, the first since the list had been established.  That sent a key message to Liberia and the international community, and the Committee was willing to revise its list in light of new developments.  She hoped that more de-listings would follow.


She stressed her consistent position that improved de-listing procedures, which lived up to the principles of due process, would greatly enhance the credibility and effectiveness of any sanction regime.  Resolution 1730 (2006) of yesterday was a step in the right direction.  Had she continued as a sanctions committee chairman, she would have suggested new guidelines, based on the resolution, but also building on the established practice in the Liberia Committee to give individuals a direct access in exceptional cases.


Reminding all Member States of their obligation to implement sanctions adopted by the Security Council, she said that, in Liberia’s case, more needed to be done, especially in the subregion, to prevent flagrant violations of the travel ban and implement the assets freeze.  At the same time, and on a more general note, it was essential that the Council’s decision were made and communicated in a way that they could actually be implemented.


CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities, noted that, according to the sixth and last report of the monitoring team, the Al-Qaida threat had decreased in certain places, such as Iraq, but had stayed at the same level or had increased in other areas.  At the same time, Al-Qaida appeared to be using more complex methods.  The Council was aware of the increasingly grave situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgence was regaining intensity and growing in numbers.  He personally believed that the sanctions regime could be better utilized, with a greater number of requests to include Al-Qaida members on the list or to adequately reflect the Taliban structure in Afghanistan.  A more marked separation in the treatment of both lists would contribute to a better focus of listing and de-listing of the Taliban, and to a more effective influence on the complex political and military processes in the country.


In the fight against terrorism, the Council must be united in action, in order to be effective, he said.  It must also fully respect human rights.  Indeed, he believed that was a moral imperative.  In addition to incorporating new names of individuals and entities in the consolidated list, the Committee had made great progress in improving the quality of the list by adding more elements of identification.  The renegotiation and improvement of the Committee’s guidelines had been an arduous and complex process.  On 29 November, consensus had been achieved on the new chapter 6.  That had to be seen as important progress.  From now on, States were urged to consult with the State of residence or nationality of the person or entity, in order to search for additional information.  The inclusion in the list must be based on a “Statement of the Case” with a series of elements of reasonability or proof.  New rules that improved transparency had also been included.


Yesterday, Council resolution 1730 had been adopted.  It had originated in a proposal from some members to create a focal point in the Secretariat, where those who were included in the list might ask for, and justify, a request for de-listing.  Several countries, including his, would have liked greater progress, such as an independent revision mechanism.  The new revised directives and the new system of a focal point would allow the Council to see the functioning of those new rules in practice.  The Council and the Committee must be transparent, open to adjustments and act speedily.


“Consensus may slow us down sometimes, but we must not be doubtful,” he said.  The list of issues on hold should, therefore, be reduced.  While the individuals who were on the list were in a certain way stigmatized, the main problem was that individuals who were about to commit terrorist acts were not yet on the list.  Only States could identify those individuals and entities, so that they might be incorporated in the list.  One of the important aspects of the chairmanship was the visits to different countries and meetings with international organizations.  Those meetings were important and must continue.


He highlighted the signature and effective functioning of the agreement with Interpol, a multilateral body that was key to the fight against crime and terrorism.  The positive experience of that cooperation instrument through the Committee and the monitoring team had been crystallized by the adoption of resolution 1699 (2006), through which it would be extended to other sanctions committees, as well.  The complex negotiation on the revision of the directives on de-listing had not allowed the Committee to address the issue of the criminal use of the Internet on behalf of Al-Qaida with the sufficient time and depth as the issue deserved.  About 5,000 websites were set every day to distribute terrorist propaganda messages, recruit new members and collect funds.  The managing of information and modern technology on behalf of Al-Qaida was one of the most pressing and sensitive issues for those in charge of intelligence and security in countries affected by terrorism, especially in the Middle East.  The Committee and the Council must address that issue, which encompassed such different aspects as the expansion of the sanctions regime or possible recommendations to Governments.  New technologies could also be used to stop the message of terrorism and propaganda.


Sanctions were an important weapon in the fight against Al-Qaida, he said.  The important task of the “1267 Committee” would not be sufficient if the political, social and economic causes, from which the Al-Qaida terrorism stemmed, were not addressed.  The Council and the international community should, therefore, redouble its efforts to achieve a just peace in the Middle East and socio-economic development in Afghanistan.  International terrorism was one of the greatest current threats to humanity.  It was difficult to understand how some individuals could manifest their frustrations and try to achieve their objectives through such barbaric means as killing civilians, destroying countries and planting dissention and distrust among States.  The United Nations had played an important role in the past 60 years -- now it had the task of preventing and facing terrorism.


ADMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece), speaking first in his capacity as Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) concerning Côte d’Ivoire, noted that the conflict in that country had been at the heart of the Council’s attention for the past two years, during which time the Council had adopted a series of resolutions and had used sanctions as a tool in support of the peace process and regional initiatives.  The targeted measures consisted of an arms embargo, travel restrictions and an assets freeze on designated individuals and entities, whose actions seriously jeopardized the peace process or violated human rights, or incited hatred through the media.


He recalled that those measures had subsequently been reinforced by new Council resolutions, particularly resolution 1643 (2005) that had banned the import of all rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire.  That text had also stated that any obstacle to the freedom of movement of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the French forces that supported it, as well as any attack against those peacekeepers or forces and related personnel would constitute a threat to the peace and national reconciliation process.  An expert panel had been set up to monitor the implementation of the targeted measures.


The Council’s major concern related to the targeted sanctions in Côte d’Ivoire had been their impact on the peace process, he said.  Although the measures had been imposed by resolution 1572 in 2004, the Committee had not designated any individuals subject to the bans until February 2006, following the request of the African Union and the mediator to withhold any action that would have a negative effect on the peace process.  However, on 7 February, the Committee had designated, by consensus, three individuals on its list of targeted sanctions, following the outbreak of violence against United Nations personnel in September 2005.  The aim of that action had been to help restore peace and stability to the country, as that had been seriously jeopardized by events, and to avert similar disturbing developments in the future.


He stressed that that decision had come only after the Council had issued several warnings to all the parties to the conflict that it would not tolerate acts that put the peace process at risk.  There had also been a shift in the position of the African Union concerning the need and timing of the imposition of sanctions.  Describing his October 2005 visit to the country in his capacity as Committee Chairman, he noted that the targeting of individuals had had a calming effect on the situation on the ground for a short period, but violence had resumed and the political situation, despite the many efforts of the African Union, had now reached a new stalemate.  Reports of the Secretary-General, as well as reports of the UNOCI monitoring, had identified individuals that could be subject to targeted measures, but the Committee members had not demonstrated the necessary unity of purpose or political will to take a decision and designate new individuals on its lists.


With respect to the arms and diamond embargoes established by resolution 1643, the report of the expert group’s report had found no evidence of gross violations of arms embargoes, but listed several problems that it believed could be used to violate the sanctions, he said.  The group had investigated the importation of small arms and ammunition into Côte d’Ivoire by a criminal network using international courier firms.  It had also found continued evidence of diamond production in the country and illicit export, especially to Ghana and Mali.  Regarding the three Ivorian individuals designated for targeted sanctions in February, the group had found that neighbouring States had not disseminated information about the targeted Ivorians to their local authorities at border posts at the time of the group’s inspection.  The group recommended that the UNOCI arms embargo inspection process be reviewed and improvements be made to its methodology.  UNOCI had confirmed that it had taken steps towards improving its inspection processes.  On the whole, members of the Committee agreed with the group’s recommendations and had decided on follow-up on actions it had agreed to take in that regard.


He said that the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire had entered and new a more critical phase.  It was important, in the final transitional period, that all the parties demonstrate the necessary political will to implement the road map and lead the country to fair elections, as that was the only way to guarantee durable peace and stability.  Ivorian parties must refrain from all actions that jeopardized the road to peace and stability, reject violence and intimidation, and concentrate on taking concrete steps to implement the road map without further delay.  Sanctions, if properly used and backed by all States of the region, could be useful tools in helping the country emerge from crisis.  In addition, the political will of the Council members was indispensable for implementation of the Council’s own resolutions.


Turning to the “Sanctions Committee” on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), which he also chaired, he recalled that the Council, by that text, had imposed targeted sanctions against those who violated the arms embargo, impeded the peace process, violated international humanitarian law or were responsible for offensive military overflights.  In his view, the question of implementation of the resolution could not be seen in isolation from the overall problem of Darfur and the complexity of that crisis.  The Sanctions Committee had thoroughly discussed the three reports of its expert panel regarding the situation in Darfur, and had adopted only a few of its recommendations.


He said that the Committee had been actively engaged in an interactive discussion with the panel concerning its reports, the latest containing information about the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and continuing attacks against civilians and humanitarian personnel.  The panel’s report had also provided information about gross violations of the arms ban by all the parties to the conflict.  Weapons and military supplies were being transferred to Darfur without the formal approval of the Sanctions Committee, as called for in the resolution.  Weapons were also delivered from neighbouring Chad into the north and west of Darfur, given the inadequate border control situation in the Sudan, which significantly threatened peace and security in Darfur and the region.


The Darfur Peace Agreement was not being implemented, as not all of the rebel groups had signed it, and the Janjaweed and other rebel groups and militias had not been disarmed, in flagrant violation of the Agreement, he said.  There was also a fear that the signatories to the Agreement would attempt to implement it through force, with severe consequences on the lives of innocent civilians.  The panel had also provided the Committee with the names of specific individuals whom the latter body might wish to designate for targeted sanctions.  According to the panel, those individuals had allegedly committed violations of arms embargoes, impeded the peace process, violated international humanitarian law and committed offensive military overflights


He noted that the names of the individuals for possible inclusion for targeted sanctions had been included in a confidential annex to the panel’s third report, which had raised the concern of some Committee members who had emphasized that the panel should take political sensitivities into account and be more attuned to the ongoing diplomatic initiatives to address the Darfur situation.  Other members, however, had considered that the panel had produced a high quality report, despite the volatile environment in which it conducted its work.


That divergence of views concerning the panel’s recommendations also existed regarding the overall question of the identification of individuals to be designated for targeted sanctions, he said.  So far, the Committee members had not been able to designate any individual on its lists, due to a lack of unity and political will.  The Security Council, and not the Sanctions Committee, had named the four individuals so far designated for targeted sanctions, specifically concerning the travel ban and assets freeze, and it had done so under its resolution 1672 (2006).  That text, however, had not included sufficient identifying elements on the designated persons, despite the relevant provisions of the guidelines.  There were fears that that might create problems for implementation of the targeted measures.  In an effort to address those concerns, the Committee had subsequently posted the customary sanctions list on its website, which included the additional relevant information on the four individuals.


He said that the situation in Darfur for thousands of refugees and displaced persons had considerably deteriorated.  The Darfur Peace Agreement and other ceasefire agreements continued to be violated.  The humanitarian crisis could only be resolved through a series of robust measures, such as the reinforcement of the African Union mission.  Sanctions must be one part of an overall solution, and they could only be effective if they had Council members’ full support.  The Council should be in a position to implement its own decisions and should try to avert a more serious humanitarian crisis.  Sanctions could be a powerful weapon in that respect, but only as a result of consensus among the Council members.


Briefing on the informal working group on general sanctions issues, for which he assumed the chairmanship for 2006, he said that, pursuant to its mandate to “develop general recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions”, the group had approved some extremely important best practices with respect to all aspects of sanctions -- sanctions design, implementation, evaluation, follow-up, monitoring and enforcement, among others.  Those developments were of major importance, as they demonstrated the will of the Council to improve its sanctions regimes and maximize their effectiveness.


He said that targeted sanctions, if applied effectively, were preferable to the general economic or trade sanctions that the Council had imposed in the past, as they directly affected decision-makers, with minimal humanitarian impact.  They could also have a deterrent effect on the continuing threats to peace and security.  For that reason, it was important that targeted sanctions comply with certain principles and criteria to be implemented by the Council when deciding to impose sanctions.  For example, the highest evidentiary standards to substantiate findings by the expert panels should be used for the identifying of information concerning individuals and entities to be targeted, and the development fair and clear procedures concerning their listing and de-listing. 


The Council should also evaluate the possible humanitarian consequences of targeted sanctions, bearing in mind that the more “implementable” the measures, the more effective, he said.  Also, greater international and regional consensus around the targeted sanctions would lead to greater implementation.   The best practices adopted by the informal working group, to be endorsed by the Council, was an important step towards a more transparent, fair and effective implementation of the sanctions regime.  Adoption of those best practices by the Council, and their consistent and uniform implementation by the sanctions committees and expert panels, would improve the effectiveness of sanctions and enhance the legitimacy of the Council and its subsidiary organs.


KENZO OSHIMA (Japan), Chairman of the working group on peacekeeping operations and the informal working group on documentation and other procedural questions, noted that, when the working group had started its work in 2001, the scale of United Nations peacekeeping operations had already been quite substantial, with 15 missions, 39,000 military and police personnel and a budget of some $2.16 billion.  The recent surge of United Nations peacekeeping operations, however, had gone far beyond expectation in terms of both the number of personnel and the budget.  As of the end of October 2006, the number of missions supported by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been 18, with over 80,000 troops and a police, and a budget of more than $5 billion, which was nearly three times the size of the United Nations regular budget.


Operations of that magnitude could not be sustained without the strong commitment of Member States both in terms of personnel and financial contributions and in political terms, he said.  To secure the cooperation of a wide range of Member States, it was necessary to ensure that they had a proper understanding of the Council’s activities in the field of peacekeeping, in particular with regard to the process when a new operation was created or when the mandate of an existing mission was changed.   It was with that in mind that he had felt the need to revitalize the working group, which could serve as an effective forum for the promotion of a better interaction between the Council and other interested Member States by providing the opportunity to engage in close, interactive dialogue with the troop-contributing countries, financial contributors, other major stakeholders and the Secretariat.


The working group’s report described activities carried out over the last two years, he said.  Meetings had been held at the time of the creation of a new mission and when a mission’s mandate was modified and its structure changed.  There had also been meetings to discuss operational issues that affected a mission’s capabilities and safety and security of its personnel, such as the restrictions on movement imposed on United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) by Eritrea.  The report made a number of recommendations for making the group’s work more meaningful and effective, including a recommendation to encourage the working group to hold a meeting at the time of the creation of a new mission or a renewal involving substantial changes in the mandate, structure or size of a mission, by inviting troop-contributing countries and other major stakeholders to attend.


The working group’s main objective, he stressed, was to promote mutual understanding among the members of the Security Council, troop-contributing countries, other major stakeholders and the Secretariat.  Japan intended to continue to cooperate with the working group after if left the Council at the end of the year.


Turning to working-method issues in his capacity as Chair of the informal working group on documentation and other procedural questions, he noted that, at the beginning of the year, the Council had agreed to revitalize its working group in the belief that there was a need to further improve the Council’s working methods and procedures.  It had been agreed earlier in the year that the revitalization efforts should begin with a change in the way the working group’s Chair functioned.  In lieu of the old practice where the Chair rotated with the monthly presidency, the Council had decided to appoint a Chair with a term of office extending for several months, allowing the working group to function in a more focused manner.


Between March and July 2006, the working group had met 11 times and had examined various proposals on two categories of issues, namely the Council’s own internal work and its relationship with non-members.  As a result of the discussions, the working group had produced a set of recommendations to be presented to the Council for its approval.  The recommendations included existing agreements on working methods, some of which went as far back as 1993, as well as newly agreed or updated measures for improvement.  In the latter half of the year, the working group had continued its discussions, mainly on two issues, namely the procedure for conducting “Arria-formula” meetings and the way to promote the implementation of the recommendations contained in the note by the President (document S/2006/507).


With regard to holding Arria-formula meetings, Council members had requested the working group in September 2006 to discuss the appropriate way to conduct the meetings, believing that there was need for some clarity on that aspect, he said.  In response to that request, the working group had met twice and had reached a common understanding on the conduct of Arria-formula meetings, which he presented orally.  Council members were encouraged to plan Arria-formula meetings in accordance with paragraph 54 of the President’s note and to take part in such meetings.  Any Council member convening an Arria-formula meeting was encouraged to carefully organize the meeting, so as to maintain its informal character.  Also, any member convening an Arria-formula meeting should inform all participating Council members about the planned procedure for, and participants in, the meeting.


He concluded by noting that Japan was preparing a Handbook on the Working Methods of the Security Council, which contained official documents related to the Council’s working methods, including the note by the President and the provisional rules of procedure.


Addressing the Council on the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1132 (1997) concerning Sierra Leone, TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) recalled that, since the expiration of the diamond sanctions in June 2003, the Committee’s mandate had been wholly contained in resolution 1171 (1998), which referred to the requirement of notifications to the Council for the export and import of arms and related materiel, and to the tasks of the Committee in relation to the arms embargo and the travel ban, both of which were still in force.  The travel ban list presently included the names of 30 individuals designated as leading members of the former military junta in Sierra Leone, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), or as leading members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).


This year, he said, the Committee had considered two notifications submitted by States with respect to the arms embargo.  Also during 2006, no violations or alleged violations of the sanctions regime had been brought to the Committee’s attention.  Following consultations in July, the Chairman, Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, had written to the Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to inform him that Committee members had agreed that the time might be ripe to review the travel ban list to ensure that it accurately reflected the changing security situation in Sierra Leone and the ongoing judicial process in the Special Court, and that the Committee would welcome receiving the Government’s views in that connection.


In light of Sierra Leone’s continued progress in its peacebuilding efforts, he said he would encourage members of the Committee and the Council to continue consultations to determine the appropriate time to streamline the legal basis for sanctions in Sierra Leone.  While recognizing that any revision of the sanctions measures would fall under the Council’s purview, he noted that one contribution the Committee could make towards having an up-to-date sanctions regime was to ensure that the travel ban list reflected, as closely as possible, the current situation in the country.  In that connection, the Committee awaited the views of the Government of Sierra Leone.


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