The Security Council today decided to extend, for six months, mandates of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) relating to the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians, among others, while also underlining that its tasks relating to the contested region’s Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism would be extended no further unless the parties to the dispute accelerated progress in several key areas.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2416 (2018) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also decided to extend, until 15 November 2018, the mandate of UNISFA as set out in operative paragraph 2 of resolution 1990 (2011). That text calls on the Force to participate in relevant Abyei Area bodies as stipulated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan and South Sudan. Also mandated by that paragraph are UNISFA’s tasks related to providing demining assistance; facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel; strengthening the capacity of the Abyei Police Service; and providing security for oil infrastructure, as needed.
Also by the terms of the resolution just adopted, the Council extended various tasks laid out in operative paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011) until 15 November 2018. They related to the protection of UNISFA personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, as well as ensuring the security and freedom of movement of its staff, humanitarian personnel and members of the Joint Military Observers Committee and Joint Military Observer teams. Tasks involving the protection of civilians from imminent threats of violence — and of the Abyei Area from incursions by unauthorized elements — were also extended.
By other terms, the Council recalled its decision to extend, until 15 October 2018, UNISFA’s mandate modification set forth in resolution 2024 (2011) and operative paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012) — relating to the Force’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism — as well as its decision in resolution 2412 (2018) that the extension would be the last one unless both parties demonstrated measurable progress on border demarcation. It also decided to reduce UNISFA’s authorized troop ceiling to 4,500 until 15 November 2018, and that — as of 15 October 2018 — that ceiling would decrease further to 3,959, unless the aforementioned mandate modifications were extended.
Further by the text, the Council urged continued progress towards the establishment of the Abyei Area interim institutions; reaffirmed UNISFA’s authority to undertake the confiscation and destruction of weapons in the Abyei Area; demanded that all parties allow humanitarian personnel full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need; and requested that the Force make rapid progress on deploying women and child protection advisers.
Expressing its intention to revise UNISFA’s configuration, and in light of the Secretary‑General’s recommendations contained in a letter dated 22 April 2018, the Council further requested that the Secretary‑General — in consultation with relevant stakeholders — report no later than 15 August 2018 on recommendations to create the space for a viable political process that would also serve as an exit strategy.
Following the vote, Sudan’s representative said the security situation in Abyei described in the report was the result of the joint efforts of his country’s Government and UNISFA. He emphasized the obligation of States not to take ill‑calculated actions until the final status of Abyei was determined. Until then, the region remained a part of Sudan which had full sovereignty over it. He also stressed that his country’s Government was committed to fully respect all agreements concluded with the Government of South Sudan, in particular those relating to the Abyei Area, and urged that country to work with the Government of Sudan and the African Union to accelerate the creation of Abyei institutions, in particular its joint administration, legislative council and police. He went on to urge respect for the peaceful coexistence among the area’s communities, and stressed the need to consider the question of Abyei in the wider context of relations between the two countries, and implementation of the provisional arrangements for the administration of Abyei. However, he expressed reservations concerning the High‑level Implementation Panel of the African Union.
The meeting began at 3:11 p.m. and ended at 3:24 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2416 (2018) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and its presidential statements on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, and in particular resolutions 1990 (2011), 2024 (2011), 2032 (2011), 2046 (2012), 2047 (2012), 2075 (2012), 2104 (2013), 2126 (2013), 2156 (2014), 2179 (2014), 2205 (2015), 2230 (2015), 2251 (2015), 2287 (2016), 2318 (2016), 2352 (2017), 2386 (2017), 2411 (2018) and 2412 (2018), as well as presidential statements S/PRST/2012/19 and S/PRST/2013/14, and the Council’s press statements of 18 June 2012, 21 September 2012, 28 September 2012, 6 May 2013, 14 June 2013, 14 February 2014, 17 March 2014, 11 December 2014 and 27 November 2015,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sudan and South Sudan, and to the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and recalling the importance of the principles of good neighbourliness, non‑interference and regional cooperation,
“Reiterating that the territorial boundaries of States shall not be altered by force, and that any territorial disputes shall be settled exclusively by peaceful means, affirming the priority it attaches to the full and urgent implementation of all outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and underscoring that the future status of Abyei shall be resolved by negotiations between the parties in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and not by the unilateral actions of either party,
“Underscoring that continued cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and Government of the Republic of South Sudan is critical for peace, security and stability and the future relations between them, encouraging progress on improving bilateral relations and holding regular meetings of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism and other joint mechanisms, and calling on both Governments to implement their commitments in the 20 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, the 29 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of the Sudan and the Government of South Sudan on Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism, the 30 July 2011 Agreement on the Border Monitoring Support Mission between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, the 27 September 2012 Agreements on Cooperation and Security Arrangements, and all subsequent decisions of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism,
“Commending the continued assistance provided to the parties by the African Union, the African Union High‑level Implementation Panel, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Special Envoy of the Secretary‑General for Sudan and South Sudan, and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA),
“Acknowledging that over the course of the seven years since establishment of UNISFA, the mission has been able to stabilize and demilitarize the Abyei Area and that UNISFA is now an interim security force with no viable exit strategy, and in this regard, taking note of the need to reconfigure the Mission in order to create the space for a viable political process that would also serve as an exit strategy,
“Taking note of the security situation in the Abyei Area as characterized by the 3 April 2018 Secretary‑General’s report (document S/2018/293), commending the United Nations police for activities to advise and mentor the local population in absence of the Abyei Police Service, urging both parties to urgently establish the Abyei Police Service, welcoming UNISFA’s enhanced role in fostering intercommunal dialogue, and urging all parties to continue these dialogues,
“Commending the efforts of UNISFA in effectively carrying out its mandate, including by its ongoing facilitation of peaceful migration throughout the Abyei Area, conflict prevention, mediation and deterrence, and strongly underscoring the unacceptability of any attack on United Nations personnel, and reiterating that such attacks, which may constitute a war crime, should be swiftly and thoroughly investigated, and that those responsible should be held to account,
“Bearing in mind the current humanitarian situation in which humanitarian actors continue to provide assistance to 170,000 people in the Abyei Area,
“Recalling resolution 2378 (2017) and its request of the Secretary‑General to ensure that data related to the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, including peacekeeping performance data, is used to improve analytics and the evaluation of mission operations, based on clear and well‑identified benchmarks,
“Further recalling resolutions 1325 (2000) and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security, and emphasizing that persistent barriers to full implementation of these resolutions will only be dismantled through dedicated commitment to women’s empowerment, participation and human rights, and through concerted leadership, consistent information and action, and support, to build women’s engagement in all levels of decision‑making, also recalling resolution 2242 (2015) and its aspiration to increase the number of women in military and police contingents of United Nations peacekeeping operations,
“Expressing concern about the residual threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war in the Abyei Area, which hinders the safe return of displaced persons to their homes, safe migration, and livelihood activities,
“Recalling that the Security Council welcomed in resolution 2205 (2015) the decision of the Secretary‑General to appoint a civilian head of mission,
“Recognizing that the current situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace and security,
“1. Decides to extend until 15 November 2018 the mandate of UNISFA as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1990 (2011) and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, further decides to extend until 15 November 2018 the tasks of UNISFA as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011);
“2. Recalls its decision in resolution 2412 (2018) to extend until 15 October 2018 UNISFA’s mandate modification set forth in resolution 2024 (2011) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012), further recalls its decision in resolution 2412 (2018) that such extension shall be the final extension of support to the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism unless both parties demonstrate measurable progress as outlined in paragraph 3 of resolution 2412 (2018), and calls on the parties to take those steps;
“3. Decides to reduce the authorized troop ceiling to 4,500 until 15 November 2018, and further decides that as of 15 October 2018, the authorized troop ceiling shall decrease to 3,959, unless it decides to extend the mandate modification set forth in resolution 2024 (2011) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012), in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 2412 (2018);
“4. Recalls the police ceiling established in resolution 1990 (2011) and requests the United Nations to immediately deploy additional United Nations police in order to meet the authorized police ceiling of 50, and demands that the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan provide full support to UNISFA in the deployment of these personnel, including by promptly issuing visas;
“5. Expresses its intention to revise the configuration and mandate of UNISFA in light of recommendations contained in the Secretary‑General’s 22 April 2018 letter and in this regard, requests the Secretary‑General report to it, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders in particular the Governments of the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, as outlined in paragraph 33 below;
“6. Expresses disappointment that the parties have taken few steps to implement the Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of Abyei Area and to achieve a political resolution to the status of Abyei, and requests the parties update the African Union High‑level Implementation Panel on the steps outlined below and invites the Panel to update it by 15 October 2018 on the steps taken towards the following:
a. Resolution of the final status of Abyei to include steps towards considering the 2012 proposal made by the African Union High‑level Implementation Panel, noting, in particular the African Union Peace and Security Council Communiqués of 26 October 2013 and 6 February 2018,
b. Implementation of all Abyei Joint Oversight Committee decisions, resolution of the allocation of positions as referred to the two Presidents, including delegation of sufficient authority to the Committee chairs and other officials to make additional decisions and personnel appointments necessary to make, progress towards the establishment of the Abyei Area interim institutions, in accordance with the Agreement on Temporary Administrative and Security Arrangements for the Abyei Area of June 2011,
c. Steps to promote reconciliation and engagement of the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities on the findings and recommendations of the Abyei Area Joint Investigation and Inquiry Committee;
“7. Urges continued progress toward the establishment of the Abyei Area interim institutions, in accordance with the Agreement on Temporary Administrative and Security Arrangements for the Abyei Area of June 2011, takes note, in particular, that in the absence of an Abyei Police Service, UNISFA continues to be the only entity to provide policing services in response to matters of law and order, further takes note of the mapping exercise from 30 November 2017 to 2 February 2018 by United Nations police in conjunction with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and traditional leaders of both communities for the eventual establishment of an Abyei Police Service, and urges the two Governments to appoint the relevant officials to participate in, along with UNISFA, a joint integrated planning exercise and development of a road map towards establishment of the Abyei Police Service, by 15 October 2018;
“8. Encourages the African Union High‑level Implementation Panel and the Special Envoy of the Secretary‑General to continue coordinating efforts towards calling for full implementation of the 2011 agreements;
“9. Welcomes renewed efforts to determine conclusively the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone centreline on the ground, and reiterates that the centreline of the Border Zone in no way prejudices the current or future legal status of the border, ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, and demarcation of the borders;
“10. Underscores that UNISFA’s protection of civilians mandate as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011) includes taking the necessary actions to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence, and commending UNISFA’s efforts in that regard;
“11. Condemns the intermittent presence of South Sudan security service personnel and the deployment of Diffra Oil Police units in the Abyei Area, in violation of the 20 June 2011 Agreement, as well as any entry of armed militias into the territory, and reiterates its demands that immediately and without preconditions the Government of the Republic of South Sudan fully redeploy its security service personnel from the Abyei Area and that the Government of the Republic of the Sudan redeploy the Oil Police in Diffra from the Abyei Area, and further reiterates, in accordance with relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1990 (2011) and resolution 2046 (2012), that the Abyei Area shall be demilitarized from any forces, as well as armed elements of the local communities, other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service;
“12. Urges the two Governments to take all necessary steps to ensure that Abyei is effectively demilitarized, including through disarmament programs as necessary;
“13. Reaffirms that UNISFA may undertake weapons confiscation and destruction in the Abyei Area as authorized under resolution 1990 (2011), consistent with its mandate and within its existing capabilities, in coordination with the signatories of the June 2011 Agreement on the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee, and the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities, and consistent with the previous Committee decision to establish the Area as a “weapons‑free area”;
“14. Requests UNISFA to continue its dialogue with the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee and with the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities on effective strategies and oversight mechanisms for ensuring full compliance by all relevant parties with Abyei’s status as a weapons‑free area, and calls upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, the Committee, and the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities to extend full cooperation to UNISFA in this regard;
“15. Welcomes UNISFA initiatives to support community dialogue and efforts by the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities, such as peace committees, to strengthen intercommunal relationships and facilitate stability and reconciliation in the Abyei Area;
“16. Urges the two Governments immediately to take steps to implement confidence‑building measures among the respective communities in the Abyei Area, ensuring women are involved at all stages, including through reconciliation processes at the grass‑roots level as well as through support for the ongoing efforts of non‑governmental organizations engaging in peacebuilding, and by fully supporting UNISFA’s efforts in promoting community dialogue;
“17. Underscores that women’s participation at all levels of intercommunity dialogue is critical to ensure a credible, and legitimate process and calls upon all parties to promote full and equal participation of women;
“18. Welcomes UNISFA’s continued efforts, within existing capabilities and resources, and in close coordination with the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities, to strengthen the capacities of Community Protection Committees in order to assist with management of law and order processes in Abyei, while ensuring the humane and dignified treatment of suspects and other detainees, and to continue engaging with both Governments on this issue;
“19. Welcomes the 14 November 2017 meeting of traditional leaders of the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the findings and recommendations following the Abyei Area Joint Investigation and Inquiry Committee’s investigation into the killing of a UNISFA peacekeeper and the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, welcomes the 24 March 2015 African Union Peace and Security Council press statement requesting the African Union Commission to engage the parties on the findings and recommendations, and looks forward to the release of the African Union Commission’s report on the killing of the Ngok Dinka chief, as agreed to by the traditional leaders, and for the report to be used as a basis for reconciliation between the communities, bearing in mind the need to promote stability and reconciliation in the Abyei Area;
“20. Calls upon all Member States, in particular Sudan and South Sudan, to ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement, to and from Abyei and throughout the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone, of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles, aircraft, and spare parts, which are for the exclusive and official use of UNISFA;
“21. Renews its call upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to provide full support to the United Nations, including by promptly issuing visas to military, police and civilian United Nations personnel, including humanitarian personnel, without prejudice to their nationality, for entry into Sudan and South Sudan, facilitating basing arrangements, infrastructure construction, including the Athony airport, in the Mission Area and flight clearances, and providing logistical support, calls upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to facilitate travel from within Sudan and South Sudan to and from Abyei, and further calls upon all parties to fully adhere to their obligations under the Status of Forces Agreements;
“22. Recognizes that the absence of development projects and the inability to deliver basic Government services has had an adverse effect on Abyei populations and calls upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as donors to support road maintenance, general reconstruction and capacity‑building;
“23. Demands that the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan continue to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations Mine Action Service to ensure freedom of movement, as well as the identification and clearance of mines in the Abyei Area and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone;
“24. Further demands that all parties involved allow all humanitarian personnel full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need of assistance and all necessary facilities for their operations, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance;
“25. Strongly urges that all parties cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, and in particular violations and abuses of applicable international law committed against women and children;
“26. Requests the Secretary‑General to ensure that effective human rights monitoring is carried out, including of any sexual and gender‑based violence and violations and abuses of human rights committed against women and children and reiterates its call upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to extend their full cooperation to the Secretary‑General to this end, including by issuing visas to the concerned United Nations personnel;
“27. Requests the Secretary‑General to seek to increase the number of women in UNISFA, as well as to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of operations;
“28. Requests UNISFA to make rapid progress on deploying a Women and Child Protection Advisor;
“29. Welcomes the initiatives undertaken by the Secretary‑General to standardize a culture of performance in United Nations peacekeeping, and calls on him to continue his efforts to develop an integrated performance policy framework and apply it to UNISFA;
“30. Recalls its presidential statement S/PRST/2015/22 and its resolution 2272 (2016) and requests the Secretary‑General to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance of UNISFA with the United Nations zero‑tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure that all personnel of the Mission are vetted for history of sexual misconduct in the service with the United Nations, and to keep it informed through his reports about UNISFA’s progress in this regard, and urges troop- and police‑contributing countries to take appropriate preventative action including predeployment awareness training, and to promote full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“31. Notes the Secretary‑General’s efforts to ensure close cooperation among United Nations missions in the region, including UNISFA, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and requests that he continue this practice;
“32. Requests the Secretary‑General to continue to inform it of progress in implementing UNISFA’s mandate, in one written report, no later than 15 October 2018 and include reporting on:
• the movement of weapons into Abyei and the presence, destruction and confiscation of weapons within Abyei per paragraph 13,
• the steps that have been taken in line with paragraph 29,
• results of human rights monitoring as requested in paragraph 26, including information, analysis and data on violations and abuses of human rights,
• steps which the parties have taken per paragraphs 6 and 7;
“33. Requests the Secretary‑General to report no later than 15 August 2018 on detailed recommendations on the reconfiguration of the UNISFA mandate in order to create the space for a viable political process that would also serve as an exit strategy, including the role of the United Nations country teams in support of rule of law and peacebuilding, and detailed information on steps the Governments should take to create the conditions for an exit strategy, and in this regard, welcomes the Secretary‑General’s initiative to undertake a military and police capability study, to include realigning military troops and associated equipment to match the security situation in Abyei, and further expresses its intention to continue reviewing as appropriate the mandate of UNISFA for reconfiguration based on the Secretary‑General’s recommendations;
“34. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”