CHAIRS OF SECURITY COUNCIL SUBSIDIARY BODIES BRIEF MEMBERS AS TWO-YEAR TENURES APPROACH CONCLUSION

15 December 2008
SC/9537

CHAIRS OF SECURITY COUNCIL SUBSIDIARY BODIES BRIEF MEMBERS AS TWO-YEAR TENURES APPROACH CONCLUSION

15 December 2008
Security Council
SC/9537
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6043rd Meeting (AM)

CHAIRS OF SECURITY COUNCIL SUBSIDIARY BODIES BRIEF MEMBERS

 

AS TWO-YEAR TENURES APPROACH CONCLUSION

 

Departing members of the Security Council -– Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa -– briefed members this morning on the activities of the subsidiary bodies they had chaired over the past two years.

Opening the meeting, the representative of Italy, who chaired the Committee on Sudan sanctions and the Committee established by resolution 1718 (2006) concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said that chairing the former had been a challenge owing to a lack of consensus among members and other obstacles, and he called for a review of subsidiary bodies in order better to align their work with their mandates.  It was important to seek information from a wider range of sources, promote dialogue with countries in the region and ensure liaison with the mediation in various political processes and with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Turning to the work of the 1718 Committee, he said it had held 14 expert consultations and one formal meeting.  In addition, it had communicated with various individual Member States and air transport organizations in reply to queries, and continued the process of additional items and technology affected by resolution 1718 (2006).  As of 15 December 2008, the Committee had received reports from 73 countries and one organization concerning implementation of the resolution.

South Africa’s representative, Chair of the Committee on Somalia sanctions and of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, said the Somalia Monitoring Group had unsparingly described widespread violations of the arms embargo, which had continued unabated for the past 16 years, as well as the state of lawlessness in that country.  The Council could not watch Somalia become an even worse disaster; even if it passed tougher security and embargo measures, the situation demanded a comprehensive solution.

He said the Group on African conflict looked forward to a report of the African Union-United Nations Panel, which would make concrete proposals on how the Organization could support the work of the African Union with predictable and sustainable resources.  Additionally, it was to be hoped that the Working Group’s deliberations on the concept of “responsibility to protect” would contribute to that debate.

Belgium’s representative, who chaired the Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions Committee, the Committee on Côte d’Ivoire sanctions and the Committee on Iran sanctions, said resolution 1822 (2008) -– a milestone in the life of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) on Al-Qaida and the Taliban -- had introduced several important innovations concerning listing and de-listing, notification of sanctioned individuals and entities, the posting of narrative summaries of reasons for listing and review mechanisms.  The sanctions regime against the named groups was one of the most important tools in the fight against terrorism and Member States should use it to the fullest extent possible by proposing the names of key actors for listing and complying fully with the sanctions measures.

Concerning the Côte d’Ivoire Committee, he said the various reports of the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire had established serious failures in the implementation of the sanctions.  There had been some ignorance and indifference, and, in certain cases, contempt for the measures.  Especially striking had been the lack of follow-up in numerous, serious allegations of human rights violations, particularly cases of sexual violence against women and children.  That was “intolerable” and should be very closely followed.

Turning to the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) on Iran, he said the sanctions against that country had undoubtedly “hit the nuclear programme and most actors and intermediaries involved in the programme”.  The Committee should take a closer look at national reports and examine more thoroughly deficiencies in the implementation of the Council’s resolutions.  The Committee could benefit from the assistance of a panel of experts and from visits to certain countries.

Indonesia’s representative, speaking as Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, noted that the Council had effectively lifted the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, though supplier States continued to be required to notify the Committee on shipments to the Government.

During 2008, he said, the Committee had updated the list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions by resolution 1596 (2005), but implementation of the assets freeze and travel ban was hindered when listed individuals had no tangible assets and did not travel across borders.  It was also that the level of awareness and implementation of the sanctions remained very limited, requiring the full collaboration and engagement of States in the region.  It was to be hoped that the Council would integrate the sanctions regime into a wider political strategy to end the conflict.

He said the Rwanda Committee had been largely inactive over the past 10 years, adding that he had recommended its dissolution.  As for the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, it had considered the surge in the number of operations, security-sector reform and issues relating to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

Panama’s representative, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, said “fruitful” exchanges within the Working Group had been crucial in exploring new ways to make the Council more efficient in its deliberations.

At the close of the meeting, Council President Neven Jurica ( Croatia) thanked the outgoing Committee Chairs for their work over the past two years.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

Background

Security Council members heard briefings on the activities of its subsidiary bodies whose Chairs were about to conclude their tenure on the Council.

Briefings

GIULIO TERZI DE SANT’AGATA (Italy), Chairman of the Committee on Sudan sanctions and of the Committee established by resolution 1718 (2006) concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said that chairing the Sudan Committee had been a challenge, because, although all members shared the objective of peace and stability in Darfur, they had a varying understanding of the role of sanctions in that effort.  After almost four years, the Committee had yet to designate any individual as a subject to a travel ban or assets freeze.  It was the Council that had designated the four individuals now subject to sanctions.  Another difficulty was monitoring an arms embargo covering only part of the territory, as in the case of Darfur.

However, the Committee had been able to discharge its mandate to monitor measures imposed by resolutions 1556 (2004) and 1591 (2005), he said, adding that it had regularly reported the lack of compliance by all parties to the conflict and provided a forum to discuss implementation.  Unfortunately, a lack of consensus had often hindered follow-up to recommendations, and a review of subsidiary bodies in order better to align their work with their mandates would be welcome.

He stressed the importance of seeking more information from sources within international and non-governmental organizations, promoting dialogue with countries in the region and ensuring liaison with the mediation in various political processes and with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which had a mandate to monitor the arms embargo, but not enough resources for that purpose.  Those suggestions were meant to prevent the Committee from operating in a vacuum.

Turning to the efforts of the 1718 Committee concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that, in the past two years, it had held 14 expert consultations and one formal meeting.  In addition, it had communicated with various individual Member States and air transport organizations in reply to queries, and continued the process of additional items and technology affected by resolution 1718 (2006).  As of 15 December 2008, the Committee had received reports from 73 countries and one organization concerning implementation of the resolution.

DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa), Chair of the Committee on Somalia sanctions and of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, said the Somalia Committee had considered “consistently sobering, as well as troubling” information.  The reports of the Monitoring Group, documenting the worsening security situation in Somalia over time, had been unsparing in describing the widespread violations of the arms embargo by land, air and sea, which had continued unabated for the past 16 years.  The Monitoring Group had also reported consistently on the general lawlessness and lack of accountability prevailing in Somalia.

Recently, the link connecting piracy, kidnapping and ransom payments to the financing of embargo violations committed by armed groups had received increased attention, he said.  The number of piracy incidents had increased dramatically, capturing global attention.  The Monitoring Group described piracy as a multimillion dollar industry involving up to 2,000 people using more than 60 small boats and several mother ships.  The pirates were said to have made an estimated $100 million, making piracy very compelling.  Yet it was only one symptom of the root causes of the Somali conflict.  The Monitoring Group noted that pirates invoked legitimate Somalia grievances about illegal fishing in Somali waters by foreign ships and the illegal dumping of toxic waste off the coast.  Those grievances had earned the pirates general support among Somali society.

“What Somalia needs urgently is for its tragic situation to be addressed in a comprehensive and holistic manner,” he urged, noting that the Monitoring Group’s latest report recommended the creation of a maritime administration caretaker authority for Somalia, and that the recommendation, even if it was accepted, would address only one part of the problem.  That also explained the minimal effect of the arms embargo imposed by the Council in resolution 751 (1992).  The solution lay in addressing piracy and the arms embargo, together with a political solution leading to the establishment of reliable Government authority.  Otherwise, systematic violations would continue in an environment that had been one of impunity.

The Djibouti Agreement had been a promising start, bringing the Transitional Federal Government together with some of the Islamic groups interested in rebuilding the country, he said.  However, the Agreement was in desperate need of international political support, and the lack of security stabilization inside Somalia precluded the political process from taking root.  The African Union had contributed the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help stabilize the situation and support the Transitional Federal Government, but it could never be enough on its own and was in dire need of strengthening.  The Council could not watch Somalia become an even worse disaster.

Thousands of people were dying of hunger and disease, even when the murderous militias running freely throughout the country did not kill them first, he said.  The Council could pass the toughest resolutions on piracy, strengthen the arms embargo and even aim the most stringent measures at individuals and entities that might be obstructing the Somali peace process.  But such fragmented efforts were unlikely to succeed without a comprehensive solution.  Meanwhile, Somalia would continue to “sink further and further into despair”.  Surely, the Somali people deserved a better life.

Speaking as Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, he pledged that his country’s contribution to the Council was in line with the aims of the Working Group -- to strengthen the African agenda on peace, security and development.  During its presidency of the Council, South Africa had highlighted the need to bring closer the working relationship between the African Union and the United Nations, particularly the Security Council.  It now looked forward to a report of the African Union-United Nations Panel, headed by former Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy, which would make concrete proposals on how the United Nations could support the work of the African Union with predictable and sustainable resources.

He voiced the hope that the Working Group’s deliberations on the concept of “responsibility to protect” would contribute to that debate, the objective of which, among other things, to arrive at a common understanding of the relevant issues set forth in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document.  The concept of “responsibility to protect” fell within the Working Group’s mandate and it was critical, therefore, that it propose recommendations to the Council for enhancing cooperation in conflict prevention and resolution between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.

MARTY NATALEGAWA (Indonesia), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee established pursuant to resolution 918 (1994) concerning Rwanda and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, noted that his tenure was about to expire in all three functions.

He said the Council had effectively lifted the arms embargo, though supplier States continued to be required to notify the Committee about shipments to the Congolese Government.  The simplification of the sanctions by resolution 1807 (2008) had had a positive effect.  During 2008, the Committee had updated the list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions by resolution 1596 (2005), but implementation of the assets freeze and travel ban was hindered when listed individuals lacked tangible assets or did not travel across borders.  The Committee had considered four requests for de-listing.

He said only seven notifications had been received from supplier States, but there had been communications with other Member States in connection with request for exemptions and recommendations by the Expert Group.  The Committee had collaborated with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) on information analysis.  Unfortunately, the level of awareness and implementation of the sanctions remained very limited, and the full collaboration and engagement of States in the region was essential.  It was to be hoped that next year the Council would integrate the sanctions regime into a wider political strategy to end the conflict.

Turning to the Rwanda Committee, he noted that it had been established to oversee the arms embargo and other measures that had gradually been terminated by the Council.  Members of the Committee had met on 11 April, but it had been largely inactive over the past 10 years.  For that reason, the Chair had recommended its dissolution on 22 May and the Council had agreed.

Regarding the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, he said its meetings over the past year had considered the surge in the number of peace operations, security-sector reform and the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).  On the latter, the opinion had been voiced that the Council should be more proactive in such dire situations.

JAN GRAULS (Belgium), speaking as Chair of the Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions Committee, the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions Committee and the Iran sanctions Committee, said that resolution 1822 (2008) -– a milestone in the life of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) on Al-Qaida and the Taliban -- had introduced several important innovations with regard to the listing and de-listing procedures, the notification of sanctioned individuals and entities, the posting of narrative summaries of reasons for listing on the Committee’s website and the review mechanisms.  Those improvements had added to the transparency, fairness and clarity of the sanctions regime.

He said Committee members had committed themselves to transposing resolution 1822 (2008) in a new framework for the practical implementation of the new mechanisms before the end of the year.  The new framework would form a solid basis for the next Chair.  However, one could not ignore the international context in which those developments had occurred.  Security Council sanctions regimes, increasingly under pressure, had recently been questioned, especially in light of the need for fair and clear procedures for listing, de-listing and granting of humanitarian exemptions.  The Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions Committee had not made significant progress in that regard, but everyone must remain committed to ensuring that more attention was given to those concerns.

Underscoring that terrorism remained one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, he said the sanctions regime against Al-Qaida, the Taliban and their associates was still one of the international community’s most important tools in fighting that menace, and it was important that Member States use it to the fullest extent possible by proposing the names of key actors for listing and complying fully with the sanctions measures.  More must be done to ensure that the right individuals and entities were targeted.  Due respect for fair and clear procedures could only increase the effectiveness of the sanctions regimes.

Turning to the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1572 (2004) on Côte d’Ivoire, he said the Ouagadougou Agreement had marked a sense of Ivorian ownership of the peace process.  The Agreement contained provisions on sanctions, which the Ivorian political actors had echoed regularly in their interventions.  On the other hand, neither the Council nor the sanctions Committee had ever been seized of a request based on those provisions.

The various reports of the Group of Experts had established serious failures in implementation by Côte d’Ivoire and other countries, he said.  There had been some ignorance and indifference, and, in certain cases, contempt for the Council’s sanctions measures.  The persistent refusal of the Republican Guard to authorize embargo inspections by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and subsequent seizure of the results, had been elements of concern.

He said he had been struck by the lack of follow-up to allegations of human rights violations, which remained numerous and serious, particularly cases of sexual violence against women and children.  The majority of reported cases were not subjected to legal actions by the Ivorian authorities, which was “intolerable” and should be very closely followed.

Regarding the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006) on Iran, he said its activities had been carried out in parallel with the verification efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and political negotiations on the nuclear issue.  During the first two years of the Committee’s existence, the sanctions regime had been established by three successive waves of new measures, imposed by resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008).

He said the sanctions against Iran had undoubtedly “hit the nuclear programme and most actors and intermediaries involved in the programme”.  However, it was obvious that, despite that pressure and repeated offers of cooperation from the international community, the Iranian authorities persisted in refusing dialogue and in cultivating ambiguity.  More than five years after the disclosure of Iran’s clandestine programme, IAEA remained incapable of confirming its peaceful nature.  The Agency’s last report showed, once again, that the sanctions had caused a delay of the programme at most, but not stopped it, nor allowed reassurance of its peaceful nature.  The dual-track, pressure-and-dialogue approach adopted by the Council had been confirmed through resolution 1835 (2008), which contained both an invitation to intensify efforts to launch dialogue and a request for increased attention on the strict implementation of sanctions by all.

Recommending a closer look at national reports, he called for a more thorough examination of deficiencies in the implementation of the relevant resolutions.  In order to do so, it would be useful for the Committee to have the assistance of a panel of experts and to undertake visits in certain countries.  Such instruments were a logical complement to a sanctions committee.

In a note about the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, which Belgium had chaired during 2008, he said discussions had concentrated mainly on the establishment of a residual mechanism to carry out certain essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda after their closure.

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS (Panama), speaking as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, provided an overview of that body’s work, saying that among its priorities set for 2008 had been issues relating to the “seizure statement”, meeting formats, the participation of non-Council members in the Council’s work and the roles of the Council President and Chairs of subsidiary bodies.  Due to time constraints, it had not been possible to examine the last issue.  The Working Group had worked to make the “seizure statement” more user-friendly by subsuming similar or related items into single agenda items.  It was still considering a proposal to make the “seizure statement” more accurate, reflecting the items of which the Council was actually seized and giving the Council greater involvement in its preparation.  Regardless of specific results, fruitful exchanges held within the Working Group were crucial for clarifying and improving the implementation of current working methods, as well as for exploring new ways to make the Council more efficient in its deliberations.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.