Terrorism and cross-border crime in Africa would be a major focus at the Security Council in December as the body continued to closely watch a range of crises worldwide, the Permanent Representative of Chad, whose delegation holds the Council presidency for the month, said this afternoon.
“The concurrence of terrorism, extremism and criminality throughout the continent is of great concern,” Mahamat Zene Cherif told correspondents at the regular monthly briefing on the Council’s programme of work. “Most terrorist groups are engaged in all kind of trafficking, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, trafficking of persons and other kinds of activities,” he said.
An open debate on the issue, scheduled for 19 December with Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat presiding, was expected to hear a briefing from United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. Border security and the need for cooperation between States would be highlighted and a resolution was expected as the outcome. A related briefing, on 10 December, would address activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), including implementation of the regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army.
He said another open debate, planned for 16 December, would discuss progress in the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. Foreign Minister Mahamat was also expected to preside over that meeting, which would be opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a representative of the African Union. Peace operations would be discussed among other areas of cooperation.
Other debates, he said, included a 4 December meeting on Kosovo that would focus on the situation after the elections there and the role of the United Nations Interim Administration known as UNMIK, while a 10 December debate on the international tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia would consider progress in establishing the residual mechanism for the courts and the completion of casework. On 18 December, the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) would be the subject of another debate as the transition to Afghan leadership in all sectors continued.
Adoptions scheduled during the month, he said, included renewals of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Liberia sanctions, the Organization’s monitoring group in the Golan Heights known as UNDOF and the terms of judges and prosecutors of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. There were as yet no indications that the resolution sponsored by Jordan, on a time-bound resolution of the question of Palestine would be brought to a vote, he said in response to questions.
He said that the regular monthly briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria would be given by Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos, and the regular
briefing on the Middle East would be provided by Special Coordinator Robert Serry. Syria Joint Representative Stephan di Mistura was expected to brief on Syria as well. Outgoing chairpersons of the Council’s subsidiary bodies would give their wrap-up briefings during the month, and the situation in the Central African Republic would be addressed in a meeting that would also hear from the sanctions committee chair for that country, on 9 December.
Among other open briefings scheduled was one on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous. In response to questions on that topic, Mr. Cherif stated that he could not comment on the difficult relations between UNAMID and the Government of Sudan, but noted that dialogue was needed. He said allegations of rapes by UNAMID personnel would be discussed under other matters early in the month. He welcomed an independent investigation to establish the truth.
In response to questions on another scheduled briefing, by Special Representative for Libya and the Chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee, he said that the entire region was concerned over the situation in the North African country, with the elected Government losing control on the ground and the country held hostage by armed groups. He said the Council fully supported the efforts of the Special Representative to bring about negotiations. A political solution was needed, he stressed, adding: “If we see the situation worsening, I’m sure the Council would consider all possible options.”
Asked if the Council might consider referring the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the month, as had been requested by a General Assembly committee, he said that the matter was not scheduled. In his national capacity, he commented that Court should not be subjected to political influences on that matter or any other. If there was an initiative to submit a text, however, he would submit it and the Council would speak in due course.
Also speaking in his national capacity in response to a question about the Central African Republic, he welcomed the participation of refugees from that country in national elections, saying that exclusion could lead to further conflicts. Everyone needed to be involved in national dialogue at well, he added.
To questions on Mali, he said that the situation in the north was still difficult, noting that just this morning Chadian peacekeepers under the United Nations force known as MINUSMA sustained injuries from roadside bombs. A rapid reaction force as proposed by some did not seem to have support within the United Nations, but restructuring of MINUSMA was under discussion, along with strengthening of protective measures and communications equipment. Mr. Ladsous had spent much effort; on receipt of his report, the way ahead would be clearer. French support to peacekeepers was appreciated by all those under threat in the area, he commented. On Ebola in Mali, he said the latest news was that the situation seemed under control.
There were no meetings scheduled on Ukraine in the current programme, he said. However, it was listed to be discussed under “Other Matters”, because there were States that were expected to put it into the programme. Asked about Security Council reform, he said in his national capacity it was a crucial issue, but that, “we are not under the delusion that we could do anything about it during our presidency”. Working methods could be improved, however, and he would strive to make a modest contribution during the month.