As Old Questions Linger, New Realities Compel Security Council to Rethink Traditional Means of Tackling Global Hotspots
As Old Questions Linger, New Realities Compel Security Council to Rethink Traditional Means of Tackling Global Hotspots
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
As Old Questions Linger, New Realities Compel Security Council to Rethink
Traditional Means of Tackling Global Hotspots
Fewer Meetings as Members Pass 47 Resolutions, Issue 22 Presidential Statements
The Security Council went to great lengths in 2013 to adapt — and occasionally redefine — its traditional means of intervention so as to better accommodate twenty-first century realities as it worked to quell fresh fighting in the heart of Africa and soften fierce hostilities reshaping even the strongest alliances in the Middle East over the course of the year.
Entrenched ethnic and political rivalries engulfing countries from Africa’s Sahel region to the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent and beyond struck at the core of the Council’s ability to function effectively in a world demanding responses to rapidly widening humanitarian crises. The 15-member body was pressed throughout the year to demonstrate real and sustained influence in nudging domestic and regional power dynamics towards greater stability, and more broadly, to dispel perceptions that it was slow off the mark in carrying out its mandate.
Such concerns were laid bare by Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented refusal to accept the non-permanent Council seat it had won on 17 October. Stating that “the manner, mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities” in preserving international peace and security, a letter from that country’s Permanent Representative said that had led to “the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the injustices against peoples, the violation of rights and the spread of conflicts and wars around the world”. It also noted a lack of reforms that would enable the Council to regain its role in the service of global peace and security. Similarly, during the Council’s annual debate on its working methods, France’s proposal that the five permanent members refrain from wielding the veto in mass-atrocity situations such as that in Syria unleashed a torrent of debate over whether a “code of conduct” could be developed to guide their behaviour in such dire cases.
To be sure, the Council adopted 47 resolutions in 2013 — 27 of them concerning Africa — and issued 22 presidential statements. Striving for unity, it passed just four texts with a less-than-unanimous vote. However, itfailed to adopt one resolution that sought a one-year delay in International Criminal Court proceedings against the President and Deputy President of Kenya. That action followed a vote — perceived by some as a rebuff of African interests — of 7 in favour (Azerbaijan, China, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Togo), to none against, with 8 abstentions (Argentina, Australia, France, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States).
In total, the Council convened 172 public meetings — 93 of them concerning Africa — compared with 184 in 2012. In July, taking one of its most extraordinary actions to date, the Council deployed the first-ever “intervention brigade” within the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), breaking the mould of standard peacekeeping practice by authorizing a modernized mandate and potentially turning the tides in one of Africa’s bloodiest and longest-running current conflicts.
Council resolution 2098 (2013) authorized the intervention brigade to carry out offensive operations — with or without the Congolese armed forces — against the 23 March Movement (M23) and other armed groups threatening peace in the restive eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Based in Goma for one year, the brigade would seek to reduce the threat that such groups posed to State authority and civilian security. The augmented United Nations presence set the stage for the M23’s declaration in November that it would end its 20-month insurgency, a dramatic reversal after its 2012 capture of Goma from MONUSCO troops who had offered no resistance. The text also authorized the Mission to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, better know as “drones”) to better protect civilians and peacekeepers, and to monitor arms trafficking — another unprecedented authorization activated in December, marking the first deployment of such advanced technology by United Nations peacekeepers.
Elsewhere, the Council authorized the creation of three new missions across Africa. On 1 July, it created the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), a 12,600-strong force intended to help cement a tentative truce between the Malian authorities and separatists in the north of the country. Authorized to help the Government stabilize key areas by “all necessary means”, it assumed the functions of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) in September.
The Council took similarly sweeping year-end action in the Central African Republic, creating and deploying the African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA). It also mandated French forces already in the country to use “all necessary measures” to help the new Mission restore law and order after months of anarchy and sectarian bloodshed sparked by a coup d’état in March. The move dovetailed with an earlier Council decision to reinforce the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).
In the Horn of Africa, the Council established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in May to prevent the al-Shabaab rebel group from gaining a stronger foothold in the volatile East African nation. Hailed as a “fresh start”, the new Mission was to support efforts by the Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to address the root causes of the violence in the country while building security, justice and administrative institutions capable of fostering the rule of law. Later in the year, the Council reinforced AMISOM’s strength from 17,731 to the maximum 22,126 uniformed personnel as part of overall efforts to combat al-Shabaab.
Responding to perhaps the most unanticipated development in Africa, the Council decided on 24 December to augment the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by 12,500 military and 1,323 police personnel, in an effort to stem a sudden eruption of heavy fighting between troops loyal to the two-year-old Government and rebel soldiers seeking to topple it. To meet its objective, the Council authorized the transfer of troops, force enablers and multipliers from five other missions on the continent.
In the Middle East, the Council punctuated a dramatic month of diplomacy on the situation in Syria with a unanimous September vote which required the Government to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal or face the consequences under “Chapter VII” enforcement measures, after United Nations investigators concluded that chemical agents had been used in an attack against a Damascus suburb on 21 August. Hailing the adoption of resolution 2118 (2013) as “the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, present at the meeting, also warned: “We must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns.”
Weeks later, the Council issued a statement condemning widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, as well as any such abuses by armed groups. It urged all parties to facilitate immediate humanitarian assistance to affected persons — ground efforts that the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs subsequently told the Council had been “severely insufficient”. Without sustained Council pressure on the warring parties, it would be impossible to reach those in need, she warned.
Monthly briefings on the Israeli-Palestinian situation followed their usual pattern in 2013, with top officials warning that the consequences of inaction on the conflict could be dire for all. Calls for both parties to show unswerving diplomatic commitment to direct negotiations, which had resumed on 29 July, reached a crescendo in October, when the representatives of Israel and the State of Palestine exchanged barbs over each other’s actions during a boisterous open debate. By November, the Council had heard that unless steps were taken to prevent the recurrence of negative developments, the chances of reaching a two-State solution could be irreparably damaged.
As for Iraq, the top United Nations official in that country warned that the political fabric was “fraying” amid a political stalemate, terrorist attacks and strained Arab-Kurdish relations which had fuelled existing security challenges. Iraq must choose whether to continue pursuing democracy and reform, or “go down a dangerous path potholed with political impasse and sectarian violence at every turn”.
Similarly, the Council heard that, in the Balkans, a “zero-sum” approach to politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina had hampered the country’s quest for European Union integration, whereas Serbia and Kosovo had signed the First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations on 19 April.
On the thematic level, the Council passed its first resolution in 13 years to substantially address the participation aspects of the “women, peace and security” agenda, capping an open debate on “Women, rule of law and transitional justice in conflict-affected situations”. Resolution 2122 (2013) placed the onus of providing women with seats at the peace table on Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations itself.
As for mission draw downs and adjustments, the Council reconfigured the military presence of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to concentrate on high-risk areas. It authorized the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to carry out a second phase of troop reduction, aimed at cutting 1,129 personnel by 30 September 2014, deciding to renew and adjust the arms embargo originally imposed on the country in 2003. In addition, it mandated the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to draw down fully by 31 March 2014, wrapping up the latest phase of the Organization’s decades-long engagement with the West African country.
The General Assembly elected Chad, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, and Nigeria as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January 2014. On 6 December, it elected Jordan in an unprecedented special election after Saudi Arabia declined to accept its seat. The new members replaced Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo, which concluded their terms on 31 December 2013. Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea and Rwanda remain on the Council through 2014.
Following are summaries of Council activities in 2013:
Question of Palestine
The Security Council’s regular monthly briefings followed their usual pattern, beginning on 23 January with the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process warning that that the consequences of inaction in the Arab-Israeli conflict could be dire for all. Without serious engagement, the peace process would remain on life support and stability on the ground would face further risk. Regional and international partners were increasingly alarmed that the only way to resolve the conflict was “slipping away”, and they questioned the effectiveness of international efforts to bring about decisive results. In the ensuing day-long debate, discussion focused on the obstacles to peace and their continued devastating consequences.
In his first address to the Council following the General Assembly’s 2012 decision to accord the State of Palestine non-member observer status in the United Nations, its Minister for Foreign Affairs quoted the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to that decision: “What the UN says does not interest me”. That attitude was manifest in Israel’s systematic escalation of the settlement campaign, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, he noted, warning that unless all such practices were halted, Israel would bear responsibility for the destruction of the two-State solution.
Israel’s Permanent Representative said there were many security threats in the Middle East, but the presence of Jewish homes in Jerusalem was not one of them. He recalled that after the historic Assembly vote, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority had promised that his delegation would return promptly to the negotiating table, without preconditions. Yet, the Palestinians “have not lifted one finger to restart negotiations”, he said, adding: “Make no mistake, the major obstacle to the two-State solution is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to speak to their own people about the true parameters of a two-State solution, to speak a lexicon of peace, not a litany of war.” (Press Release SC/10985)
Briefing the Council on 26 February, the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs said it was already two months into a year that could preserve or extinguish what hope remained for a two-State solution. At the same time, he acknowledged that progress could not be expected without the articulation of a credible political framework within which to achieve a negotiated two-State solution. (Press Release SC/10926)
On 25 March, following a visit to the Middle East region by President Barack Obama of the United States, the Special Coordinator declared there was now an opening to develop a “serious and substantial” political initiative to achieve the negotiated two-State solution. The President’s visit marked an important opportunity to reinvigorate peace efforts. To be sure, the region faced a period of “extraordinary” turmoil, and the months ahead would not be easy, he cautioned. Both sides must show the political will and determination to make progress. (Press Release SC/10957)
Delivering the next briefing on 24 April, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs said that, as the grim tragedy inside Syria deteriorated, advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was central to forestalling further destabilization. A critical point was approaching for the viability of the peace process, and whether that prospect “solidifies or vanishes” would depend on the direction chosen by leaders on both sides. (Press Release SC/10985)
Briefing the Council again on 22 May, the Special Coordinator said the recent visit to Washington, D.C., by Arab Ministers had reaffirmed the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Government of Israel should respond positively to that “slight opening”. On the ground, he noted, both parties had exercised some care not to upset the fragile situation in support of ongoing diplomatic efforts; with the exception of the pre-approval of 300 housing units, no new approvals or tenders had been issued for settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since March. Nevertheless, recent tensions around Jerusalem, particularly restricted access to holy sites, were worrying. (Press Release SC/11013)
During a briefing on 25 June, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs declared: “The Middle East is living dangerous and tragic days as the scourge of war is once again destroying lives and burying hopes.” The whole region was “feeling the reverberations” as the bloody conflict in Syria unfolded. Courageous and mutual compromises were needed to resolve both the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rapidly escalating crisis in Syria, he said, noting several recent visits to the region by Secretary of State John Kerry of the United States. However, “rushing the parties back to the table without having the necessary framework in place and buy-in from both sides would be counter-productive”, he cautioned. (Press Release SC/11046)
The situation was at a “decisive point”, the Special Coordinator declared while briefing the Council before a 23 July open debate. Israelis and Palestinians had agreed, in principle, to return to the negotiating table. Now, “some very tough choices will be required from both sides in the period ahead”.
In the ensuing debate, speakers emphasized the importance of the opportunity presented by the agreement to resume negotiations. (Press Release SC/11073)
The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Council on 29 July that the resumption of direct talks between the two sides represented a “small but important” opening for peace and an opportunity that “neither can afford to miss”. The talks would focus on all core final-status issues, he said, adding that progress towards ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could also bode well for regional stability, which was all the more critical in recent weeks in view of the volatile situation in Egypt, a fragile Lebanon and ongoing turmoil in Syria. The Secretary-General remained deeply troubled by Israel’s continuing settlement activity and by ongoing settler violence, he said, adding that he was also concerned about the fate of some 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, especially those on hunger strike and in administrative detention. (Press Release SC/11100)
On 17 September, the Special Coordinator said that 20 years of endless negotiations and conflict since the signing of the Oslo Accords had undermined belief in the possibility of peace, but the same 20 years had also demonstrated that fair, reasonable and legitimate solutions could be found. While acknowledging that developments in the region were “profoundly troubling”, he stressed that prospects for peace “should not be neglected, even against the background of turmoil elsewhere in the neighbourhood”. On the confidentiality of the negotiations, he said it was understandable that sceptics continued to question their substance, but the parties’ commitment not to reveal their contents should be respected. (Press Release SC/11124)
The Council heard again, on 22 October, that despite the difficult regional context and challenges on the ground, the opportunity created by the resumed talks must not be lost. Briefing the 15-member body during its open debate on the Middle East, which heard from nearly 50 speakers, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs urged maintaining, and even increasing, the momentum behind diplomacy, pointing out that for the first time in 17 months, the Quartet principals had met in New York on 27 September, with the chief negotiators for both sides, to discuss the progress of the negotiations. Both sides had stressed their shared goal of ending the conflict on the basis of a two-State solution, he recalled.
On the other hand, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said the Council must be made aware of the vastly negative impact of unlawful Israeli policies on the ground. Israel’s representative said that examples of incitement were all too easy to find in Palestinian society. Highlighting the death of Gal Kobi, shot by a Palestinian “terrorist” in September, he stressed that it was time for the Palestinian leadership to condemn such violence.
In the ensuing debate, the representative of the United States said that country was deeply engaged in seeking a conclusion to the talks within the nine-month timeline. Other delegates voiced strong support for the resumed negotiations, but some registered concern over their slow pace and called for adherence to the timeline. Still others urged both sides to refrain from provocative acts — such as settlement building — that could derail the talks, while yet others appealed to the Council to uphold its most basic duty of ensuring that its resolutions were implemented. (Press Release SC/11155)
Briefing the Council on 19 November, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs said the negotiations were at a “delicate” moment, adding that unless steps were taken to prevent the recurrence of negative developments, as seen in recent weeks, the chances of reaching a two-State solution could be irreparably damaged. The consequences of failure would be dire, he warned, urging the parties to remain steadfast in their commitment to seeing the process through.
“Nobody predicted this would be an easy process,” he continued. While negotiators were working towards narrowing differences on substantive issues, strains had been growing “dangerously” between the parties, and following the 29 October release of 26 “pre-Oslo” prisoners, the process had suffered a serious setback with the announcement of new settlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The United Nations was of the view that settlement expansion could not be reconciled with the vision of a two-State solution, and without progress soon, such a solution might be irreparably damaged, he warned. (Press Release SC/11179)
The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2118 (2013) in a fast-breaking 27 September evening meeting on the expeditious destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, following the conclusion of a joint investigation team that the weapons had been used in a Damascus suburb on 21 August. The Secretary-General, present during that meeting, hailed the action as “the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time”, but warned that “we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns”. (Press Release SC/11135)
Weeks later, on 25 October, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Council: “No one is taking their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law seriously”. In the second of two formal briefings, she described efforts to deliver humanitarian relief as “a race against time”, with the international response on the ground “severely insufficient”. Without real and sustained pressure from the Council on the warring parties, it would be impossible to make progress, she warned. United Nations agencies and partners continued to work in extremely dangerous and difficult conditions to reach millions of people. Still, an estimated 2.5 million were trapped, despite attempts to operationalize a presidential statement of the Council earlier in the month. She urged the members to exert influence and take necessary action to stop the brutality and violence. (Press Release SC/11160)
In a presidential statement on 2 October, the Council cautioned that the humanitarian situation in Syria would deteriorate further in the absence of a political solution. It urged the Syrian authorities to take immediate steps to facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need, including those across its borders. It urged the immediate demilitarization of medical facilities, schools and water stations, and agreement by all parties on the modalities for implementing further humanitarian “pauses” and a key route to enable safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian convoys. (Press Release SC/11138)
The Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator said during a briefing on 18 April that the situation in Syria was a “humanitarian catastrophe”, nearing the “point of no return”, with ordinary people paying the price of failure to end the conflict. Painting a similarly grim picture were Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict. (Press Release SC/10981)
The Council took two actions concerning the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the first on 27 June, extending the operation’s mandate until 31 December by unanimously adopting resolution 2108 (2013). It insisted, by the text, that there be no military forces in the area of separation between Israel and Syria, and called upon all parties to Syria’s domestic conflict to cease military action in UNDOF’s area of operation. On 18 December, the Council extended the Force’s mandate fora further six months, until 30 June 2014, unanimously adopting resolution 2131 (2013). It also strongly condemned the intense fighting in the area of separation and called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to cease military actions there. It strongly condemned the fighting on 1 October in the vicinity of Khan Arnabeh, in which UNDOF personnel had been injured, as well as the firing on UNDOF vehicles of 15 October and 5 November by Syrian forces in the area of limitation, and the firing on and detention of four mission personnel on 1 November by armed elements of the Syrian opposition near the Mughur Al-Mir village. (Press Releases SC/11223, SC/11051)
Declaring in the first of three briefings, on 21 March, that “the political fabric [of Iraq] is fraying”, the Secretary-General’s then Special Representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) cited in particular the tens of thousands of demonstrators in the country’s western provinces who had taken to the streets to voice their grievances concerning human rights and access to basic services. They felt unprotected, insecure and excluded, he said, adding that he had listened to their growing frustrations in Ramadi, Samarra, Mosul, Falluja, Tikrit and Kirkuk. With the potential for the ongoing political stalemate, the protracted demonstrations, the terrorist attacks and strained Arab-Kurd relations to fuel existing political and security challenges, Iraqis faced “a complex set of interrelated problems, among them the very real potential of a spillover of violence from Syria”. Further destabilization would threaten the achievements of the past decade, he warned. (Press Release SC/10950)
Briefing again on 16 July, he said Iraq had reached a “crucial phase”, from where it could either continue to deepen its democratic roots or surrender to increased instability. Ten years after the fall of the former regime and less than two years after the withdrawal of United States forces, Iraq had two choices: continue to make important strides in democracy, pursue reform, embrace diversity and improve its standing in the international community or “go down a dangerous path, potholed with political impasse and sectarian violence at each turn”. Addressing the Council for the last time as head of UNAMI, he said the previous four months had been among the bloodiest of the last five years, with some 3,000 people killed and more than 7,000 others injured.
He went on to say that the perpetrators were taking advantage of two leading factors of instability — the ongoing political stalemate and the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Furthermore, “the violence in Iraq cannot be separated from the civil war in Syria”. The battlefields were merging, and Iraqi armed groups had an increasingly active presence in Syria, he said, adding that the conflict was no longer merely spilling over. It had spread to Iraq as Iraqis took up arms against each other in Syria and at home. Unless it was urgently addressed, that violence “could easily spiral out of control”, he warned. (Press Release SC/11065)
Briefing the Council on 25 November, UNAMI’s new chief agreed that the conflict in Syria had added a regional dimension to sectarian tensions in Iraq, enabling groups such as al-Qaida to forge ties with similar factions fighting across the border. Terrorism was a significant threat, with armed groups seeking to foment a vicious cycle of violence, he said, emphasizing that combating it required a range of political and development interventions. Most importantly, it required leaders to work together to reduce political tensions. “Today, more than ever, Iraq’s challenges cannot be considered in isolation from the broader risks that face the region,” he stressed. Resolving the Syrian crisis through an inclusive national project and a regional strategy against all forms of religious or sectarian extremism was vital to stabilizing Iraq.
In the first of two actions, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2107 (2013) on 27 June, removing Iraq from its obligations under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter concerning the return of Kuwaiti and third-State nationals or their remains and property seized by Iraq’s former regime during its 1990 invasion of that neighbouring country. (Press Release SC/11050)
On 24 July, it extended UNAMI’s mandate until 31 July 2014, but signalled its intention to review it if asked to do so by the Iraqi Government. Unanimously adopting resolution 2110 (2013), the Council encouraged the Government to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, improve security and public order, and combat terrorism and sectarian violence. (Press Release SC/11074)
The Council’s consideration of the situation in Yemen began with a briefing by the co-leaders of a mission to the troubled Gulf nation in January. During a meeting on 7 February, Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom) and Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) said they had received updates on the transition timeline from President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, who had reported that phase one — involving military restructuring and the consolidation of gains made against al-Qaida — was now complete. He had also said that Yemen had been saved from civil war owing to the engagement of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Security Council. Yet, the President had said that deep challenges remained as phase two focused on national dialogue in the run-up to elections in 2014. (Press Release SC/10909)
Days later, on 15 February, the Council issued a presidential statement welcoming the announcement by President Hadi that the National Dialogue Conference would be launched on 18 March. At the same time, it expressed concern over reports of interference in the transition by members of the former regime, the former opposition and others, including the former President and Vice-President, as well as reports of money and weapons being smuggled in to undermine the transition. The statement indicated the Council’s readiness to consider further measures, including under the Article 41 of the Charter, if actions aimed at undermining the Government of National Unity and the political transition continued. (Press Release SC/10919)
“Yemen is in the heart of its transition,” declared the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser when briefing the Council on 11 June. Yemenis had embarked on an “extraordinary course” and were counting on the international community, especially the Security Council, to “walk” with them through the process and to deliver all available political and financial support. Yemen was a nation in the midst of “an undertaking of great hope in a fragile environment”, in which a range of perspectives and diverse interests sought to realize a new and better order. Yet, the transition was delicate, he cautioned, recalling a deadly weekend clash between security forces and Ansar Allah demonstrators outside the National Security Bureau in Sana’a, the capital. (Press Release SC/11029)
The Special Representative briefed the Council again on 27 September, saying that the political transition was at a critical juncture. The National Dialogue Conference faced difficulties in the run-up to the conclusion of its work, and the so-called “southern question” was proving particularly difficult, with the Hiraak Southern Movement having suspended its participation in the Dialogue. Various proposals on the establishment of a federal Yemen were under consideration, but southern support was contingent upon redressing past injustices, he said. Given the emerging consensus on federalism, debate had begun on a “constituting period”, during which benchmarks would be cleared, resources pooled and capacity built for the transition to a federal State. (Press Release SC/11134)
In a late-year development, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported that a rocket attack on Israel had occurred from southern Lebanon, and that the Israel Defense Forces had returned artillery fire.
The Council held two formal meetings on Lebanon. In the first, on 10 July, it issued a statement expressing deep concern at the increasingly apparent impact of the crisis in Syria on the neighbouring country’s stability and the growing involvement of Lebanese parties in the conflict. Specifically, it underscored its growing concern at the marked increase of cross-border fire from Syria into Lebanon, as well as incursions, abductions and arms trafficking on both sides. The statement also expressed grave concern over the “dramatic influx” of refugees into Lebanon — 587,000 Syrian and 65,500 Palestinian refugees — and stressed the need for strong international support to help the country withstand the multiple current challenges to its security and stability. The Council also condemned the recent violence by armed groups throughout Lebanon, including Tripoli and Sidon. It called upon all communities to support the armed forces as a central pillar of national stability. (Press Release SC/11056)
On 29 August, the Council authorized an extension of UNIFIL’s mandate until 31 August 2014, with no major operational changes. Originally created by the Council in March 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and help the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area, the Force was enhanced following the crisis between the two countries in July/August 2006. In addition to its original mandate, the Force would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deployed throughout south Lebanon; and help to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations as well as the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons. Adopted unanimously, resolution 2115 (2013) called on all parties concerned to respect the cessation of hostilities, prevent violations of the Blue Line and cooperate fully with UNIFIL. (Press Release SC/11106)
Reviewing the situation in Afghanistan over the course of five meetings as the country prepared for an important transition into a new decade of transformation, the Council adopted two texts, and heard a number of briefings.
Adopting resolution 2096 (2013) on 19 March, the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until March 2014, calling on the international community to bolster the Afghan Government’s efforts to take ownership and leadership of security, governance, justice and socioeconomic development programmes. It also tasked UNAMA with continuing its support for Afghanistan’s multi-phase transition process, and with helping to organize fair and inclusive presidential elections, set for April 2014 (Press Release SC/10943).
The Council also adopted resolution 2120 (2013) on 10 October, extending its authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) until 31 December 2014. It welcomed Afghanistan’s transition process, ongoing since 2011, and called on States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to ISAF. The Council welcomed the Government’s strong commitment to develop — with the support of ISAF nations — an Afghan National Security Force governed by the Constitution (Press Release SC/11143).
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA briefed the Council three times, the first on 20 June, when he called on the Afghan Government to bolster steps to ensure transparent and inclusive presidential and provincial council elections. While commending President Hamid Karzai’s stated commitment to creating a robust, credible architecture for the transfer of power in April, he expressed concern that two crucial pieces of electoral legislation had yet to be approved.
Briefing again on 19 September, he reported significant progress in the technical preparations for the elections, including the passage of the two key laws, appointments to the two independent electoral management bodies and the rollout of district-level voter registration updates. All that was needed now was better coordination of security institutions and instilling more confidence through public awareness. The transfer of security responsibilities from ISAF to Afghan forces was now in its final stage, and the army and police had shown courage and increased capability in rising to the challenges of the security transition, he said. They increasingly trusted themselves and worked to earn the people’s trust, despite heavy casualties. However, their capabilities were not yet fully developed and international support would be required for the next five years at least.
In his final briefing, on 17 December, the Special Representative said that despite temporary setbacks, Afghanistan’s political and security transition was on track. The political transition was at the core of national efforts, with the presidential elections expected to mark a historic democratic transfer of power. Technical preparations for the agreed 5 April election day were moving ahead, he said, adding that an Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and a Media Commission had been established. The 11 candidates for the presidential polls and the 2,713 for the provincial councils, including 308 women, reflected the widespread interest in the elections, he noted. The security transition was proceeding as planned, with the army and police stepping up to the challenge. Casualties remained a concern, however, with civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the conflict. As Afghan forces assumed the security lead, they would bear increased responsibility for ensuring the protection of civilians.
Addressing the Council, Afghanistan’s representative said the coming decade would be one of transformation, marked by the country’s assumption of responsibility for its own security and defence. At the same time, it would need international assistance beyond 2014, especially for training, advice and support for the national security forces, he emphasized. He said preparations for the third presidential elections showed Afghanistan’s democratic maturity. Afghanistan had signed a number of strategic partnership agreements, including with the United States, and the Government was reaching out to the armed opposition, building confidence and engaging in peace talks, he said. (Press Releases SC/11041, SC/11127, SC/11218)
The goal of holding free, fair and transparent elections in Haiti remained elusive in 2013, despite efforts to help the Caribbean nation resolve an intractable political impasse that had led to repeated delays. Against that backdrop, the Council heard about plans to address waning economic growth, high unemployment and food insecurity, all exacerbated by extreme climate and weather events.
In briefings on 20 March and 28 August, the interim and current Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said the Mission was ready to help Haiti take more responsibility for its national security and create a “propitious” environment for its citizens. The Mission’s three-year consolidation plan aimed to strengthen security and the rule of law, bolster elections administration and modernize national institutions. (Press Releases SC/10946, SC/11105)
In its final meeting on Haiti, on 10 October, the Council extended the Mission’s mandate until 15 October 2014 and, endorsing the recommendations of the Secretary-General, reduced its overall force levels from 6,270 to 5,021 troops, while maintaining 2,601 police personnel. By resolution 2119 (2013), it also urged political actors to cooperate in completing all steps required for holding elections, and called on MINUSTAH to coordinate electoral assistance with international stakeholders. (Press Release SC/11142)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Council kept the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under close review in 2013, hearing during the course of two briefings that national leaders had failed to carry out crucial political and economic reforms that they had themselves set out to achieve in the quest for integration into the European Union. On 14 May and 12 November, the United Nations High Representative in the country emphasized that the leadership’s “zero-sum approach” to politics must change, warning that Bosnia and Herzegovina was stagnating in comparison to Serbia and Kosovo, which were working to settle their disagreements, and Croatia, which had gained full European Union membership earlier in the year.
Perhaps most visibly, he said, leaders had failed to agree on implementing the Sejdic-Finci ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, intended to unlock the next stage in the integration process by correcting discriminatory provisions in the electoral system. Progress had also been elusive on the question of who owned military property, which had kept Bosnia and Herzegovina from activating its Membership Action Plan with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Political interference in the judiciary was another serious matter, as was the Republika Srpska’s advocacy for dissolving the federation. One positive development, however, had been conduct of the first population census in 20 years, a significant achievement.
The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina reaffirmed her country’s commitment to the “European path” and the “5+2” agenda for European Union membership, but expressed regret that the High Representative had not highlighted improved regional cooperation as one of its foreign policy priorities. The Council capped its debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina by unanimously adopting resolution 2123 (2013), by which it extended the mandate of the multinational stabilization force (EUFOR ALTHEA) for another 12 months. It also called upon all political leaders to refrain from divisive rhetoric, and to make tangible progress towards European Union integration. (Press Releases SC/11009, SC/11171, SC/11173)
Kosovo and Serbia signed the First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations, a decision hailed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) as a “decisive step forward” for both Belgrade and Pristina. The 15-point accord, signed on 19 April, provided for the creation of an association of ethnic Serb municipalities with representation in the central Government; municipal elections to be held in northern Kosovo in 2013; and a commitment that neither party would block the other’s paths towards integration into the European Union. (Press Release SC/11033)
During his 19 November briefing, the last of four, the Special Representative applauded the conduct of Kosovo-wide municipal elections on 3 November as a milestone in the Agreement’s implementation, saying they had showcased the “growing maturity of Kosovo’s polity”. A significant number of municipalities had recorded substantially higher voter turnout figures than in the 2009 ballot. Kosovo’s representative said the elections had resulted from the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. (Press Release SC/11181)
Earlier in the year, following a 29 August update by the Special Representative on his meeting with the two sides, Serbia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs had cast doubt on Pristina’s willingness to implement the Agreement fully. He cited protests by ethnic Serbs over attempts by internally displaced Kosovo Albanians to build houses in Brdjani, with the aim of altering the ethnic make-up of northern Mitrovica through land-grabbing.
On 22 March, the Special Representative had described the situation in that area as “very troubling” following a series of events involving explosive devices targeted at property. He also took issue with the performance of Kosovo’s judiciary, saying that unsolved cases inevitably became the subject of political manipulation and led to public frustration. Such tensions underlined the need for all international presences to sustain conditions in which political talks could achieve their true potential, he stressed. (Press Releases SC/11107, SC/10954)
The Council twice extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). On 24 January, it adopted resolution 2089 (2013), extending the mandate until 31 July 2013. The action was supported by 14 delegations, while Azerbaijan abstained, explaining that the text contained “outdated language” vis-à-vis calls to intensify negotiations. In addition, the reference to “military areas” in the north was inaccurate, as that was no longer an issue. (Press Release SC/10897)
In July, the Council passed resolution 2114 (2013) by 13 votes in favour to 0 against, with 2 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Pakistan), extending UNFICYP’s mandate until 31 January 2014. Speaking in explanation of position, Pakistan’s representative said the exclusion of references to joint statements on 23 May and 1 July by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides was regrettable, pointing out that the Council had included them in its 24 January text on the matter. Azerbaijan’s representative said the resolution did not give an accurate update of the situation on the ground, nor emphasize the need to agree on a results-oriented process. (Press Release SC/11084)
West Africa continued to face a range of challenges, from instability in Mali to election-related pressures, piracy, transnational organized crime and other cross-border tensions affecting countries of the Mano River basin and the Gulf of Guinea. Against that backdrop, West African leaders had made “praiseworthy” efforts to design integrated strategies for stabilizing the region, top officials said, among them a pledge to create a rapid reaction force to deal with regional crises. In a 14 August presidential statement, the Council welcomed the adoption by regional leaders of a Code of Conduct to prevent piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, saying it paved the way for a legally binding instrument. (Press Release SC/11091)
Briefing the Council three times in 2013, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) focused each time on the need for sustained United Nations support in Mali, where implementation of the 2012 African Union Strategic Concept — setting out seven objectives for the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) — remained critical. “I wish to stress that the situation in Mali exemplifies the fragility and vulnerability that prevails in the whole of the Sahel region,” the Special Representative said on 25 January. By July, the violence had been attenuated by an 18 June agreement between the authorities and armed groups, signed under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and obliging the parties to negotiate a resolution to the conflict. (Press Release SC/10900)
In a 10 July briefing, the Special Representative said that an agreement signed on 3 July had ended months of differences between the presidential coalition and the opposition over electoral issues. The accord outlined a timetable for the holding of elections in September 2013. As for the situation in the area between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, trans-border threats continued to undermine stability in the Mano River nations. Briefing again on 17 December, he said constitutional order and territorial integrity had been re-established in Mali with President Boubacar Keita’s election in polls held in July and August. As for the Sahel, the Secretary-General’s tour, alongside African Union, European Union and World Bank officials, had strengthened partnerships among the region’s States and the international community, he said, adding that a coordinating mechanism had been established to help the different United Nations entities there implement the Organization’s Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (Press Releases SC/11057, SC/11220)
The Council spent much of 2013 considering how to stabilize the situation and advance peace efforts in Mali. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative, briefing on 16 October, said that despite a hard-won ceasefire, presidential elections and the creation of a new United Nations peacekeeping operation that had “opened new prospects” for recovery from near-collapse in 2012, the security situation remained fragile at year-end, amid asymmetric attacks by extremists and tensions within the armed forces. Although civilian rule had been re-established, a truce between the Malian authorities and separatists in the north was only tentative. (Press Release SC/11147)
As 2013 began, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs warned that the factors behind Mali’s sudden collapse 10 months earlier — and the swift takeover of its northern half — ran deep. The crisis was at a “turning point” and vigorous military actions must be matched by an “equally strong” focus on the political challenges. Whether Mali could restore its democracy and recapture its territory would depend on the breadth of the international response, he emphasized. Briefing again in April, he outlined options for a possible United Nations stabilization mission, stressing the crucial need for dialogue between and within communities and among various actors, including the national armed forces. (Press Releases SC/10892, SC/10966)
On the heels of those remarks, the Council adopted resolution 2100 (2013) on 25 April, authorizing the creation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by 1 July 2013, and the transfer of functions from the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to the new operation. MINUSMA would comprise up to 11,200 military personnel, including reserve battalions, and 1,440 police. It would be authorized to “use all necessary means” to support the transitional authorities in stabilizing key population centres. (Press Release SC/10987)
An important step in that direction was the 18 June signing of the preliminary agreement to hold inclusive negotiations and, on 28 July, presidential elections, including in the tense northern region of Kidal. Senior officials, briefing the Council on 25 June, said the “critical” agreement committed transitional authorities and armed groups in the north to a post-election dialogue. To succeed, the talks must tackle the root causes of the crisis in Mali, including widespread malnutrition and scant education. Arrangements were under way to set up MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako and in the north, starting with Gao and Timbuktu. (Press Release SC/11045)
The Council adopted two resolutions concerning Côte d’Ivoire, with the aim of addressing “significant” risks to its stability three years after the West African country was swept by violence when its then-incumbent President refused to concede victory to the internationally recognized winner of elections held in 2010. By resolution 2101 (2013), adopted on 25 April, the Council extended its arms embargo, as well as financial and travel measures, until 30 April 2014, calling on all States to take measures to prevent the direct or indirect sale or transfer of arms and related materials to Côte d’Ivoire. It also extended the mandate of the Group of Experts monitoring those sanctions. (Press Release SC/10988)
Three months later, on 30 July, the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) until 30 June 2014, deciding to consider troop reductions based on the evolution of conditions on the ground. Unanimously adopting resolution 2112 (2013), it also decided to reconfigure the military presence so as to concentrate resources in high-risk areas. UNOCI’s police component would remain at 1,555 personnel and the number of customs officers at the previously authorized strength of eight. (Press Release SC/11082)
Notable among three briefings to the Council on Côte d’Ivoire was one delivered on 18 July by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who commended the significant steps taken by the Government to stabilize the security situation, accelerate economic recovery and initiate key reforms. An elected legislative assembly was in place and working well, while the start of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of 65,000 former combatants in 2012 was another milestone, he said, his remarks echoing praise earlier in the year by the head of UNOCI and the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. (Press Releases SC/10886, SC/10973, SC/11068)
Senior officials praised Liberians’ commitment to moving their country forward, in the first of the Council’s four meetings on the situation in that country, saying it augured well for the hard work that lay ahead in building a “transformed” nation. As the United Nations continued to draw down the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), issues of equitable growth, institutional development and national reconciliation had emerged as sensitive touchstones for ensuring future prosperity. There was also a vital need for responsible exploitation and management of resources, since corruption could potentially reignite conflict. (Press Release SC/10958)
Briefing the Council on 10 September, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Coordinator of UNMIL said that the Mission, having completed the first phase of its three-stage drawdown on 30 June, no longer had a fixed military presence in four of Liberia’s counties and had handed eight locations over to federal entities. Liberia’s Minister for National Defence recalled that his country had celebrated 10 years of uninterrupted peace on 18 August. The Government and UNMIL had carried out an extensive transition-planning process that had resulted in a road map for the Mission’s reconfiguration, he said, cautioning, however, that “fast-tracking” those plans could be destabilizing. (Press Release SC/11114)
On the heels of those remarks, the Council extended UNMIL’s mandate until 30 September 2014, and authorized implementation of the second phase of reducing the Mission’s military component, by 1,129 personnel. Supporting Government efforts to solidify peace and stability, protect civilians and transfer security responsibility to the Liberian National Police would continue to be its primary tasks. As the year drew to a close, the Council renewed and adjusted the arms embargo it originally imposed in 2003, deciding that notification for the provision of non-lethal materials and associated training was no longer required. (Press Releases SC/11125, SC/11207)
Progress in restoring constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau following the 2012 coup d’état remained “frustratingly slow”, the senior United Nations official there told the Council in November, citing electoral delays and a generalized climate of fear. Those developments prompted the Council to issue a presidential statement in December, deploring repeated military interference in civilian affairs. Taking note that presidential and legislative elections had been postponed from year-end until 16 March 2014, it urged the transitional authorities to ensure there were no further delays, and reiterated its readiness to consider imposing sanctions against those who undermined efforts to restore constitutional order. (Press Releases SC/11192, SC/11204)
Guinea-Bissau had been suffering from political confusion since the April 2012 coup, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs said at the beginning of 2013, urging authorities to develop a road map to steer the country towards the creation of a transitional Government and the holding of elections, which had been postponed from their original April 2013 date. The Council’s three-month mandate extension for the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), adopted on 22 February, was meant to allow time to assess the situation and make recommendations.
Meanwhile, the head of UNIOGBIS said he placed the country’s manifold problems at the feet of the political elite, who had failed their people for almost four decades. A return to constitutional order through year-end elections and post-electoral strengthening of State bodies was desperately needed. In May, the Council extended the mandate of UNIOGBIS for a year, deciding to readjust its presence so that it could help restore constitutional order and facilitate elections. In particular, it was charged with supporting an inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation process, as well as providing strategic and technical advice for the establishment of law-enforcement, criminal justice and penitentiary systems. (Press Releases SC/10907, SC/10920, SC/11002, SC/11012)
The Council heeded calls to help begin a gradual transfer of functions from the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to the Organization’s country team and the Government of Sierra Leone. The Secretary-General’s top envoy said on 13 March that he wished to see that transfer begin 1 April. At the time, Sierra Leone’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation emphasized that his country was at a crossroads in its peacebuilding journey, and the Council must weigh such a move against the present situation of both Sierra Leone and the wider region. (Press Release SC/10937)
Two weeks later, on 26 March, the Council extended until 31 March 2014 the mandate of UNIPSIL, deciding also — in line with the Government’s views — that the operation should end by that date. By the terms of resolution 2097 (2013), the Council requested the mission to focus on facilitating political dialogue providing support for a constitutional review, the security sector and the strengthening of human rights institutions. Sierra Leone’s representative applauded collective efforts to put his country “on the right track”. (Press Release SC/10961)
By mid-September, the Executive Director of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIPSIL said the mission was set for a full drawdown on 31 March 2014. Over the next two to four years, it would focus on constitutional review, security-sector reform and conflict prevention. The aviation unit and democratic institutions section had already closed, while the human rights section would complete its work by 31 December. UNIPSIL’s three remaining field offices would close or be transferred to the country team by year-end. Sierra Leone’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that the “Agenda for Prosperity” envisioned his country attaining middle-income and donor-country status within 25 to 50 years. (Press Release SC/11126)
The operational security of the United Nations presence in Somalia continued to be a main focus as the Council convened 11 public meetings on the situation there against the backdrop of increasingly asymmetrical tactics used by al-Shabaab and renewed Government resolve not to lose recovered territory. Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister, briefing the Council in February, said the top priority of getting rid of Al-Shabaab required lifting the arms embargo, strengthening the Somali National Armed Forces,and allowing them to assume full responsibility for the nation’s security. Somalia needed an integrated United Nations mission that would “deliver and speak as one”.
Calls for a coordinated strategic approach in Somalia reverberated throughout the year during briefings by the Deputy Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. In response, the Council adopted five resolutions on the situation, including resolution 2093 (2013) on 6 March. By its terms, the Council decided to maintain deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until February 2014, and to partially lift its 20-year-old weapons ban for one year to boost the Government’s capacity to protect areas recovered from al-Shabaab. Adopted under the Chapter VII of the Charter, the text defined a new United Nation presence in Somalia, guided by the Secretary-General’s Strategic Review. (Press Releases SC/10918, SC/10990, SC/11120, SC/11166, SC/10931)
That decision set the stage for the passage of four other resolutions to adjust the United Nations presence, notably resolution 2102 (2013), on 2 May, which established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Applauded as a “fresh start”, and mandated to support Somalia and AMISOM in their peacebuilding and State-building efforts, UNSOM would, in particular, support the Government’s peace and reconciliation agenda, as well as its plans to strengthen the armed forces and police, rebuild the judiciary and improve financial management. As the Council issued a 6 June presidential statement on the matter, the Deputy Secretary-General urged that UNSOM be provided with the requisite resources. (Press Release SC/10994, SC/11025)
In perhaps its biggest action on the security front, the Council adopted resolution 2124 (2013) on 12 November, extending AMISOM’s mandate until 31 October 2014 and requesting the African Union to increase its troop strength from 17,731 to a maximum of 22,126 uniformed personnel, as part of overall efforts to defeat al-Shabaab. However, conditions were not yet appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, it stated. (Press Release SC/11172)
Somalia’s representative called the Council’s support a “turning point”, and asked whether resources would arrive in enough time to allow the armed forces to liberate the country before elections in 2015-2016. Rounding out its action concerning Somalia on 18 November, the Council renewed for another year authorizations first agreed in 2008 for international action to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, in cooperation with Government authorities. It also renewed the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 25 November 2014. (Press Releases SC/11075, SC/11177)
By year-end, the Special Representative and head of UNSOM said in a briefing that preparations were under way to restart major offensive operations in al-Shabaab-controlled territory. Underlining the immense challenges ahead, he emphasized the need to redraw Somalia’s political map of 18 regions into a reduced number of federal states. (Press Release SC/11208)
Two years after Libya’s dictatorship fell, the North African country’s security situation remained precarious, amid violent protests, clashes among rival armed groups in the capital, Tripoli, and mounting discontent with a protracted political process requiring the writing of a new constitution. Despite those challenges, the new authorities were intent on tackling national priorities, the Council heard, from improving and restoring trust in the judiciary to reforming the security sector. In a presidential statement, the Council underlined the importance of a single, inclusive national dialogue to agree on priorities for a democratic transition. (Press Release SC/11215)
Over the course of seven meetings, the Council grappled to help Libya produce a shared vision for the future, perhaps most visibly by adopting resolution 2095 (2013) on 14 March, by which it extended the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and adjusted its two-year-old arms embargo to boost Government security and disarmament efforts. Highlighting pressing issues at that time, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSMIL reported that thousands had gathered in Benghazi on the second anniversary of the revolution, calling for an end to the political and socioeconomic marginalization of eastern Libya. (Press Release SC/10939)
A January warning by the Special Representative that the Government’s plans to restructure the Ministry of Interior had been met with resistance by revolutionary brigades who were not ready to be absorbed into State institutions proved prescient as his subsequent updates revealed Libyans’ uncertainty over how the new Government would resolve integration and status questions. Moreover, growing polarization on the political scene had manifested in the disagreement over the 5 May adoption of a law on political isolation, which would have far-reaching repercussions on the political process and the public administration.
By September, UNSMIL was facing calls to actively facilitate national dialogue amid widespread popular discontent with political parties, he said. Three months later, he reported that the Mission was offering political and technical advice in preparation for the dialogue, that steady progress was being made towards the election of a constitution-drafting assembly, and that the transitional justice law would include provisions on truth-seeking and reparations. (Press Releases SC/11205, SC/11123, SC/11036, SC/10902)
While Libya had come a long way since 2011, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said in her semi-annual briefings on 14 November and 8 May, it aspired to be a stable, democratic society that punished perpetrators of crimes that had “shaken the conscience of humanity”. The Government had set an example for how States could protect their sovereign right to investigate and prosecute their own nationals, having met the statutory criteria for stopping the Prosecutor’s Office from pursuing the Abdullah al-Senussi case. Libya must now show that he would receive a fair, impartial and speedy trial within the country. Indeed, the trials of those accused of the most heinous crimes under the Qadhafi regime, regardless of where they took place, could be Libya’s “ Nuremberg moment”, demonstrating what could be achieved through human endeavours to seek justice, she said. (Press Release SC/11175, SC/11000)
In its single meeting on the situation in the territory, where the holding of a Security Council-mandated self-determination referendum has been stalled for decades, the Council adopted resolution 2099 (2013) on 25 April, extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2014. The action was in line with a recommendation in the Secretary-General’s 8 April report, affirming the Mission’s relevance as a guarantor of the stability of the ceasefire in the territory and a “visible commitment” of the international community to resolve the conflict there. By terms of the text, the Council welcomed the parties’ commitment to continue preparations for a fifth round of negotiations, calling on them to work in an “atmosphere propitious for dialogue”, so as to reach a more intensive, substantive phase of negotiations. (Press Release SC/10986)
Sudan and South Sudan
The Council’s three meetings on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan centred on the contested border town of Abyei, with members twice extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) by six months. The first time, on 29 May, it also reinforced the 4,200-strong presence to 5,326 peacekeepers, as requested by both countries. The second time, on 25 November, it extended the mandate until 31 May 2014, underscoring the Force’s duty to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.
Following those decisions, Sudan’s representative said that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement clearly outlined that Abyei was an integral part of his country, while South Sudan’s delegate countered that the 6 November 2013 press release by the African Union Peace and Security Council underscored the inalienable right of Abyei’s people to self-determination. In a presidential statement on 23 August, the Council called on both countries to make use of the joint mechanisms established to implement the 2012 Cooperation Agreements, and immediately to implement the Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for the Abyei Area. (Press Releases SC/11017, SC/11102, SC/11184)
Events in Darfur dominated the Council’s eight meetings dedicated exclusively to the situation in Sudan, with cautious optimism expressed in January about an agreement between Sudan and a faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) giving way to anxiety over steadily increasing violence that, by July, had claimed the lives of seven Tanzanian peacekeepers, among other casualties. Fighting between Sudan and non-signatory movements, as well as inter-ethnic violence throughout the Darfur states in the first half of 2013, was “very worrying”, the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur said on 24 July. (Press Release SC/11076)
Throughout the year, the Council heard calls to support the peace process. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations said on 29 April that a peaceful resolution required efforts by the Council, the African Union and the wider international community. The Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations observed that it also required the Sudanese Government, the Regional Authority of Darfur, and armed movements — both inside and outside the peace process — to remain focused on striking a deal. By October, the Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) voiced concern at the slow pace of the peace process, pointing out that a Zambian peacekeeper and three members of a Senegalese formed police unit had been killed in separate attacks. (Press Release SC/10991, SC/10899, SC/11156)
As for international justice, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged the Council, on 5 June and 11 December, to ensure that the perpetrators of grave atrocities in Darfur would be brought to justice. She expressed deep frustration that it had failed to act on any of the seven formal communications from the Court in that regard. She also pressed Sudan to arrest and surrender persons against whom the Court had issued arrest warrants. In both meetings, Sudan’s representative emphasized that his Government did not recognize the Court’s jurisdiction. (Press Releases SC/11024, SC/11209)
On 30 July, the Council renewed UNAMID’s mandate until 31 August 2014, urging a reconfiguration of the mission within a 12-to-19-month time frame. On 14 February, it extended until 17 February 2014 the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring the arms embargo and sanctions against those impeding peace in Sudan. (Press Releases SC/11083, SC/10917)
In a drastic turn of events, heavy fighting engulfed Africa’s and the world’s youngest nation on 15 December, just two years after its long-sought secession from Sudan. Tensions within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) boiled over after President Salva Kiir dismissed Vice President Riek Machar and the entire Cabinet in July.
In an urgently arranged meeting on 24 December, the Council adopted resolution 2132 (2013), augmenting the military component of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to 12,500 troops of all ranks, and boosting its police component to 1,323, including formed police units. To meet that objective, it authorized the transfer of troops, force enablers and multipliers from five other missions: UNAMID, UNIFSA, UNOCI, UNMIL and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). (Press Release SC/11230)
While there had been few signs that political events could so easily ignite latent tensions, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMISS had voiced concerns a month earlier about growing instability following President Kiir’s 23 July decision to restructure his Government. There was a need to monitor internal party dynamics “very carefully”, she said, noting, however, that public debate and the President’s 15 November announcement indicated that the country was committed to holding national elections in 2015, as constitutionally mandated. (Press Release SC/11178)
On 11 July, the Council renewed the mandate of UNMISS until 15 July 2014, authorizing it to use “all necessary means” to carry out its protection mandate. Adopting resolution 2109 (2013) almost two years to the day after South Sudan’s declaration of independence, the Council demanded that all parties cease human rights violations. South Sudan must take more responsibility for protecting civilians and refrain from restricting the Mission’s movements. The Council also underlined the need to address the causes of intercommunal violence. It expressed deep concern over increased conflict in Lakes, Unity and Warrap States, as well as in Jonglei and Western Bahr el-Ghazal States — issues raised by the Special Representative in her 8 July and 21 March briefings. (Press Releases SC/11058, SC/11054, SC/10951)
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the spillover effects of the deepening crisis in the Central African Republic took centre stage during the Council’s three public meetings on Central Africa. In a 29 May presidential statement, it condemned the LRA’s recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, its killings, rapes and other sexual violence, and its abductions. The Council demanded that the LRA immediately end all such attacks, release abductees, disarm and demobilize. Following a briefing by the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Luxembourg’s representative, voicing the view of many, urged States to cooperate with arrest warrants issued for Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, stressing: “These leaders of the LRA must be brought to justice.” (Press Release SC/11018)
Later in the year, the Special Representative pressed the Council to address the crisis in the Central African Republic, saying the Transitional Government’s inability to control Séléka former rebel elements had stirred tensions with neighbouring Cameroon, while refugee flows were straining a subregion already struggling to cope with multitudes of displaced persons. In addition, piracy and armed robbery in the “inconsistently controlled” Gulf of Guinea had surpassed that in the Gulf of Aden. In the ensuing discussion, the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union on LRA Issues urged the Council to declare the LRA a terrorist group, and to consider adjusting the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping missions in LRA-affected countries. (Press Release SC/11182)
On 25 November, the Council issued a presidential statement reiterating its strong support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative, created in 2012 to eliminate the LRA and foster stability in the four affected countries: Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. It also commended “significant” progress by the African Union Regional Task Force and steps taken to deliver a more regional approach to the humanitarian situation. It urged MONUSCO and UNMISS to enhance cooperation with the Task Force. (Press Release SC/11183)
Democratic Republic of Congo
Addressing continuing volatility in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council took an unprecedented decision on 28 March with its adoption of resolution 2098 (2013), by which it approved the creation of the first-ever offensive combat force to “neutralize and disarm” the 23 March Movement (M23) and other armed groups in the strife-torn country, either unilaterally or jointly with the Congolese armed forces, in a “robust, highly mobile and versatile manner”. With that action, the Council also extended MONUSCO’s mandate until 31 March 2014.
Heeding the Secretary-General’s 5 March recommendations to create a special “intervention brigade” within the existing peacekeeping operation, the Council set out, in the text, the operational parameters for three infantry battalions, one artillery, one special forces unit and one reconnaissance company. Characterizing the human tragedy in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as “an exceptional situation that requires exceptional measures”, the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and La Francophonie said the “innovative decision” should help his country end the repeated cycles of violence. (Press Releases SC/10929, SC/10964)
The Council’s decision set the stage for M23’s announcement, eight months later, that it would lay down its arms after 19 months of rebellion, a move applauded by the Council in a 24 November presidential statement. The Council called for the swift conclusion and implementation of an agreed outcome, in line with the Kampala peace talks being held under the auspices of the Chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. (Press Release SC/11174)
Briefing the Council on 6 May, when she pressed delegates to seize a “moment of renewed opportunity” to resolve the underlying causes of the crisis, the Secretary-General’s newly appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region said that the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region, signed in Addis Ababa on 24 February, offered an opportunity to “get it right”. Later, on 22 October, she outlined her “sequenced political approach” to securing a peace accord between M23 and the Government. The Special Representative and head of MONUSCO followed up with an appeal to better align MONUSCO’s mandate with all six objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, recalling comments by his predecessor, who had urged the Council to consider authorizing an additional military brigade to help the overstretched Mission. (Press Releases SC/10921, SC/10996, SC/11153)
Central African Republic
The total breakdown of law and order was the Council’s main order of business as it took up the situation in the Central African Republic, holding seven public meetings devoted to helping the landlocked country extricate itself from the chaos sparked by the 24 March seizure of power by Séléka rebels. In an urgent appeal on 15 May, Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye — who was designated by the opposition and the rebels in January, and continued in that role after the coup — requested France to intervene “with force” to disarm Séléka elements, and the European Union and African Union to provide financial support for that undertaking. The State’s collapse and the disappearance of security and defence forces had led to a security vacuum, he stressed, which in turn, had sparked total anarchy. In Bangui, unbridled pillaging had forced schools and businesses to close, while outside the capital, looting by Séléka elements targeted non-Muslims, fuelling resentment among Christians. (Press Release SC/11010)
That appeal was echoed in briefings by the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, on 25 November, as well as both the former and current Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), on 24 January and 14 August, respectively, during which the Council heard calls for action, including the deployment of an impartial force to protect civilians. (Press Releases SC/11010, SC/10879, SC/11092, SC/11188)
Taking that call to heart, the Council passed three resolutions during the year to bolster support for the Central African Republic. On 5 December, it authorized, through resolution 2127 (2013), the deployment of both the African Union-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA), and the French forces already there to support the Mission “by all necessary measures”. On 10 October, the Council adopted resolution 2121 (2013), reinforcing BINUCA in five key areas: support for implementation of the transition process; support for conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance; support for stabilization of the security situation; promotion and protection of human rights; and coordination of international actors. By resolution 2088 (2013), adopted on 24 January, it extended the mandate of BINUCA until 31 January 2014, with a strong emphasis on supporting the country as it sought to recover from the rebels’ month-long advance on the capital. (Press Releases SC/11200, SC/11144, SC/10896)
Despite its fiscal woes, Burundi had made significant strides in political reform and preparing for peaceful, free and fair elections in 2015 during the course of 2013, senior officials told the Council in a 22 July briefing, the last of three public meetings devoted to the situation. For the first time since 2010, all Burundian political actors — including those returning from exile — had agreed on a road map for inclusive political dialogue, the creation of a security environment conductive to holding elections and freedom for all political actors to carry out their activities. (Press Release SC/11070)
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) said that sustained international political engagement was needed to remedy the two-year standoff between the Government and opposition parties. With the 2015 elections hanging in the balance, it was essential that both parties played their part in ensuring a consensual approach to the challenges ahead. The Permanent Secretary in Burundi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation urged the Council to reconfigure the United Nations presence into a country team when the time was right. (Press Release SC/10898)
With that in mind, the Council took action on 13 February to extend BINUCA’s mandate until 15 February 2014, laying out a six-point support agenda to help the country strengthen key national institutions, fight impunity and protect human rights, among other duties.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
In the first of six meetings on non-proliferation, the Council condemned, on 22 January, the 12 December 2012 launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea using ballistic missile technology in violation of the sanctions imposed on that country. Unanimously adopting resolution 2087 (2013), it demanded that the country not proceed with any further such activities, and expressed its “determination to take significant action” in the event that it did so. (Press Release SC/10891)
The Council continued its consideration of the implementation of sanctions first imposed on Iran under resolution 1737 (2006). On 12 December, members greeted as an important step to bringing Iran back into the international fold a six-month interim agreement reached in Geneva on 24 November between Iran and the “P5+1” (China, France, Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom, plus Germany). Under the accord, seen as a foundation for a more comprehensive pact intended to ensure the programme’s peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, the latter agreed not to enrich uranium beyond 5 per cent, as further enrichment would be enough not only for energy production, but also for military use. (Press Release SC/11212)
Before the debate, the Chair of the so-called “1737 Committee” — named for the Council resolution pursuant to which it was established in 2006 — reported in the last quarterly update on recent developments that the Committee had concluded on 23 October that Iran’s attempted procurement of carbon fibre was a violation of its obligations under resolution 1929 (2010). He also reported the receipt by a Member State of two notifications concerning the delivery of items for reactor unit 1 of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
On 6 March, the Chair noted that the Committee had focused on an appropriate response to Iran’s July 2012 missile launches — the Great Prophet 7 exercise. The Panel assisting the Committee had found that the launches of the Shahab 1 and Shahab 3 had been in violation of resolution 1929 (2010). Following that briefing, some Council members expressed their continuing concern about possible violations of resolutions and non-compliance with obligations, while others welcomed the 26-27 February 2013 meeting of the P5+1 and urged tangible results. (Press Release SC/10932)
The Chair reported on 15 July that doubts remained about the uniquely civilian character of Iran’s nuclear programme, and that Committee members were divided over whether Iran’s ballistic missile launches were or were not in violation of resolution 1929 (2010). The Committee had also discussed whether, and how, to respond to the Panel’s compilation of publicly available statements by Iranian officials and alleged recipients of Iranian military assistance, in possible breach of resolution 1747 (2007). (Press Release SC/11062)
In his 5 September report, the Chair said that Iran had remained silent to inquiries about the ballistic missile launches and an intercepted arms shipment. Following the briefing, several Council members expressed disappointment that none of the Panel’s recommendations had been adopted, while others stressed that the Committee must act impartially and objectively, on the basis of verified information. Most voiced expectations of progress in resumed negotiations between the newly elected Iranian Administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as the resumption of talks between Iran and the “P5+1”. (Press Release SC/11110)
Taking its only action on the subject, on 5 June, the Council extended for another year the mandate of the expert panel appointed by the Secretary-General pursuant to Council resolution 1929 (2010). Unanimously adopting resolution 2105 (2013), it asked the Panel to give the Committee a mid-term report relating to compliance with the sanctions on 9 November and, after discussing it with the Committee, to issue the report to the Council by 9 December. A final report containing the Panel’s findings and recommendations was to be submitted to the Committee by 9 May 2014 and, following discussions, to the Council by 9 June 2014. (Press Release SC/11023)
The Council adopted its first-ever resolution dedicated to small arms on 26 September, by 14 votes in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Russian Federation). (Press Release SC/11131) Prior to that action Secretary-General Ban said: “The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded.” The excessive accumulation of arms had fuelled insecurity and conflict from Mali to Afghanistan and beyond. Weapons trafficking affected far more than the immediate security situation; it was the main cause of people fleeing their homes, and had led to a vast range of human rights violations — killings, rapes, enforced disappearances and torture, among them. During the ensuing debate, several speakers cited the close link between conflict and the illicit arms trade, calling for more sustained international, regional and national action to counter it.
An almost evenly divided Security Council, lacking the requisite nine affirmative votes, failed to adopt a resolution seeking a one-year delay in International Criminal Court proceedings against Kenya’s President and Deputy President.
Seven Council members (Azerbaijan, China, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Togo) voted in favour of the text, none voted against, and 8 abstained (Argentina, Australia, France, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States).
Had the resolution passed, the Council would have requested the Court, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, to defer the investigation and prosecution of President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto for 12 months, in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which established the Court. Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto are accused of crimes against humanity and other abuses allegedly committed following general elections in late 2007.
In seeking the deferral, the African Union had argued that the proceedings, to take place at The Hague, would distract the two leaders from their constitutional duties in the wake of the September 2013 terrorist attack on a major shopping mall in Nairobi, the capital, which left more than 60 people dead. As such, the process would “threaten Kenya’s peace and stability”, according to the 22 October 2013 letter from the African Union to the Council.
Kenya’s representative called the lack of support “sad, absurd and confounding”, saying the Council had removed itself from an amicable solution, and had done irreparable damage to the Rome Statute. Ethiopia’s delegate, speaking for the African Union, said the Council’s response would lead many to conclude that it had difficulty in seeing Africa exercise ownership over its policies and strategies for peace. (Press Release SC/11176)
International Criminal Tribunals
The Security Council met three times to consider the International Tribunals in 2013. Unanimously adopting resolution 2130 (2013) on 18 December, it extended the tenure of 17 permanent and ad litem judges at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia until 31 December 2014, or the completion of cases assigned to them, whichever came sooner.
In two briefings, on 12 June and 5 December, the respective Presidents and Prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda provided updates on recent progress and judgements, as well as on delays and still-heavy appellate workloads. They reported in June that The Hague branch of the global residual mechanism was on schedule for a smooth transfer of functions from the Tribunals on 1 July. In December, the mechanism’s President said it was now operating on two continents and would carry forward the legacy of the two related but distinct courts. It was fully engaged in fulfilling its “inherited” responsibilities, from the Rwanda Tribunal’s appeal in the Ngirabatware case to managing the archives of both courts, he added. (Press Releases SC/11201, SC/11222)
Rule of Law
Two briefings on the subject, the second followed by an open debate, were held in response to the General Assembly’s adoption in September 2012 of a historic declaration at its High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law. In the first briefing, on 30 January, the Deputy Secretary-General reported on institutional changes undertaken by the Organization to bolster its rule-of-law activities. The Secretary-General had, for instance, decided to realign the United Nations institutional response to such challenges by, for example, enhancing field leadership to be able to take responsibility for and oversight of rule-of-law strategies on the ground, addressing local challenges and coordinating country-team efforts. Other steps included designating the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the joint global focal point for police, justice and corrections in post-conflict and crisis-impaired areas. Strategically, the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group had been strengthened to ensure that the United Nations could foresee and address opportunities and mobilize partners in response, he said. (Press Release SC/10904)
On 19 June, the Deputy Secretary-General said that, although Governments bore primary responsibility for the prevention of conflict and the equitable management of resources, the United Nations supported dispute resolution and grievance mechanisms on the ground through its rule-of-law programmes. For example, by securing global rules to stifle opportunities for tax avoidance and eliminating murky and exploitative deals, the global community could help prevent armed conflict arising from competition for natural resources, he said. With exploitation and abuse of natural resources dominating briefings and debate, UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said robust legal and policy frameworks would enable countries to negotiate fair contracts, which in turn would protect communities through social and environmental safeguards. (Press Release SC/11037)
Opening a high-level Council meeting on 15 January, in which more than 50 speakers participated, the Secretary-General declared: “Nothing can justify terrorism — ever.” He urged all to “drown out shrill appeals to intolerance and extremism with sound calls for compassion and moderation”. Terrorists were increasingly exploiting social media networks to radicalize people and spread hate, he said. That narrative must be replaced with messages of peace, development and human welfare. Citing challenges in Mali and the broader Sahel region, where terrorism fed off extreme destitution and undermined development through violence, intolerance and human rights abuses, he welcomed the Council’s resolve, in a presidential statement issued that day, to tackle the challenges “head on”. (Press Release SC/10882)
On 10 May, the Council heard briefings by the Chairs of the Committees forming a crucial part of the United Nations counter-terrorism machinery: the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), also known as the Counter-Terrorism Committee; the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida; and the 1540 Committee concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Chairs said that the effectiveness of those bodies depended on strong domestic measures. The three Committees, together, could have a “multiplier effect” in delivering blows to the development of weapons of mass destruction and the rapidly evolving, Internet-powered terrorist threat. A joint statement to the Council, issued on behalf of those three bodies on 27 November, said that States on the “front lines” were in a unique position to assess the nature of the terrorist threat in their regions, and to keep the international community informed. (Press Releases SC/11003, SC/11194)
Unanimously adopting resolution 2129 (2013) on 17 December, the Council decided that the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) would continue to operate as a special political mission until 31 December 2017, under the policy guidance of the Counter-Terrorism Committee. It would conduct an interim review by 31 December 2015, so as to direct that body to identify emerging issues, trends and developments relating to Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), and to advise the Counter-Terrorism Committee on practical ways for States to implement those texts. (Press Release SC/11219)
Cooperation with Regional Organizations
The presidential statement issued by the Council on 6 August reflected its interest in deepening its relationships with regional and subregional entities. The text encouraged the continuing involvement of those organizations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, including through prevention, confidence-building and mediation, and underlined the importance of utilizing their capabilities. It recognized that they were well-positioned to understand the causes of armed conflicts and stressed the value of developing further effective partnerships with them in order to facilitate early responses to emerging crises.
Delegates representing several such bodies participated in the meeting, including Ethiopia’s representative, who, speaking for the African Union, stressed the need to provide more funding for Security Council-authorized African Union peace missions. While some progress had been made, it was still “a far cry” from the proposals put forward by the Joint African Union-United Nations Report on African Union Peacekeeping Operations — the so-called “Prodi Panel”. (Press Release SC/11087)
Briefing on 13 February, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Council said the 27-member bloc believed strongly in effective multilateralism and would remain a steadfast partner of the Security Council in steering the international community away from conflict and confrontation towards a more peaceful and secure world. Outlining the European Union’s contributions, she said it had the ability to marshal a broad range of tools with which to respond comprehensively to a crisis, be it humanitarian, security or political. (Press Release SC/10916)
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister briefed the Council on 7 May, on his country’s priorities for its Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) during 2013. Finding sustainable long-term solutions to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area was among the ambitious goals it had set itself. Ukraine was determined to contribute to the Transnistrian settlement process, to resolve security and humanitarian issues in areas of conflict in Georgia, and to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (Press Release SC/10998)
Organization of Islamic Cooperation
On 28 October, the Council issued a presidential statement in which it recognized the importance of strengthened cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and acknowledged the continuing dialogue between the United Nations and the 57-member body in peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It noted that the two entities shared common objectives in promoting a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a political solution to the Syrian conflict, in line with the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communiqué, as well as in fostering solutions to other conflicts. (Press Release SC/11161)
Recognizing the importance of multidimensional peacekeeping, the Council adopted resolution 2086 (2013) on 21 January, the first of its kind in 10 years, by which it stressed that peacekeeping activities should be conducted in such a manner as to facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding, help prevent relapse into conflict and assist progress towards sustainable peace and development. It noted that such missions might be mandated to assist national security-sector frameworks, support the strengthening of rule-of-law institutions in host countries, help with peace consolidation and inclusive political processes, and assist in the protection of civilians, among other tasks. (Press Release SC/10888)
In briefings by the force commanders of various missions, the Council heard that the expanded use of new technologies — including unarmed aerial vehicles, or drones — could bolster both military and political intelligence and help save lives. The meeting provided an opportunity for Member States to raise various concerns, with Pakistan’s representative emphasizing that close monitoring was necessary to ascertain the utility and effectiveness of drones and “targeted offensive operations”. (Press Release SC/11047)
In a meeting featuring two briefings, the Council heard a review of the Peacebuilding Commission’s performance over the past year from its former Chairperson, and saw a glimpse of its future work from its current Chair. Reaffirming the Commission’s role in preventing a relapse of conflict and supporting recovering Governments and societies in the process of rebuilding and leaving trauma behind, the briefers noted that despite progress, six countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda had suffered setbacks. (Press Release SC/10989)
Women and Peace and Security
Over the course of three meetings, two of which culminated in the adoption of resolutions, briefers condemned sexual violence in conflict as one of the world’s most violent crimes, and emphasized the need to end impunity for perpetrators. Launching the first of those meetings on 17 April, the Secretary-General called on the Council to use all the tools at its disposal to do so, including peacekeeping and political missions, mediation efforts and humanitarian initiatives. (Press Release SC/10977)
On 24 June, following a meeting that attracted 60 speakers, including Cabinet Ministers, top United Nations officials and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Council adopted resolution 2016 (2013), which urged the imposition of targeted sanctions against parties committing sexual violence during armed conflict. (Press Release SC/11043)
Resolution 2122 (2013), adopted on 18 October,put stronger measures in place to allow women to participate in all phases of conflict prevention, resolution and recovery, placing the onus of providing them with seats at the peace table on Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations itself. It was the seventh text adopted by the Council with the aim of addressing the participation aspects of the women, peace and security agenda, and senior officials briefed on implementation challenges. (Press Release SC/11149)
Children and Armed Conflict
Issuing a presidential statement, the Security Council condemned all human rights violations against children in situations of armed conflict, and demanded that all relevant parties immediately stop such violations. Further, it reaffirmed its commitment to taking targeted steps to deal with persistent perpetrators of such abuses. The Council also heard from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, who described the unprecedented threats to children in Mali, Syria and the Central African Republic. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations emphasized the importance of deploying child protection advisers in peacekeeping operations, as top officials from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children, as well as representatives of Member States, also addressed Council members. (Press Release SC/11035)
Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
While States had the primary responsibility for protection of civilians in armed conflict, the Security Council would continue to ensure that peacekeeping missions, “where appropriate and on a case-by-case basis”, were also mandated to play their part, and would be accorded priority in tapping into resources for that purpose, according to a presidential statement issued as part of a day-long debate on 12 February. The Council also heard briefings by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and a representative of the Red Cross. Briefers addressing the Council on 19 August pointed out that civilian protection remained at the core of nine current United Nations peacekeeping operations, as Member States expressed concern that stronger peacekeeping mandates may result in threats to national sovereignty and territorial integrity. (Press Releases SC/10913, SC/11097)
On 17 July, the Council heard from several journalists who participated in a day-long discussion during which it was noted that more than 600 journalists had been killed in the past decade, 41 of them in Syria over the course of 2012, and 108 in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006. (Press Releases SC/11066)
During the Council’s sixth annual debate on its working methods, on 29 October, speakers acknowledged the “slow and tortured” improvements that had helped the 15-member body build greater transparency and efficiency. Argentina’s representative, and Chair of the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, said that debates on the topic had allowed the wider United Nations membership to make proposals. At the same time, it was important that the Council hold wrap-up sessions to explain its activities, and constantly to improve consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries. In the ensuing discussion, nearly 50 speakers aired their views on improving the Council’s ability to function amid heightened demand for conflict prevention and management.
Many supported France’s proposed voluntary suspension of veto rights in cases of mass atrocity crimes, blaming abuse of veto power for the Council’s paralysis in the face of flagrant humanitarian abuses.
France’s representative said the conflict in Syria had prompted his proposal. The permanent Council members had an opportunity to establish a code of conduct. The Russian Federation’s representative took a different view, arguing that the Council should attend to matters on which it could and should adopt decisions. Charter provisions, such as the veto, exceeded the remit of working methods, he emphasized. (Press Release SC/11164)
During the Council’s meeting to adopt its annual report to the General Assembly for the period 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013, the representative of the United States, in charge of the introductory section, explained that it covered all Council meetings and activities, as well as the range of thematic issues discussed during the review period. The United States had worked to strike a “careful balance” between including a useful amount of substance and keeping the text as concise as possible. The Council unanimously adopted the report. (Press Release SC/11165)
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