1) Middle East, 8806th meeting. 2) Democratic Republic of the Congo, 8807th meeting. 3) Date of election to fill a vacancy in the ICJ, 8808th meeting. 4) Mali, 8809th meeting. 5) Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8810th meeting - Security Council
The Security Council today renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) for six months, until 31 December, as it continues to monitor the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria in the Golan.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2581 (2021), the Council called upon the parties concerned to implement resolution 338 (1973) — which called for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur war — and stressed their obligation to respect the terms of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement.
By other terms, the Council called on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation, where there should be no military activity of any kind, including military operations by Syria’s armed forces.
It further called on all parties to cooperate fully with UNDOF operations, to respect its privileges and immunities and to ensure its freedom of movement, and for all groups other than UNDOF to abandon all UNDOF positions and to return peacekeeper vehicles, weapons and other equipment.
In addition, the Council called on the parties to provide all necessary support for the Observer Force to use the Quneitra crossing, in line with established procedures, and to lift COVID-19 restrictions as soon as conditions permit so that the Observer Force can step up its operations on the Bravo side of the area of separation.
It also requested UNDOF, Member States and relevant parties to take all steps to protect the safety, security and health of all UNDOF personnel, taking into account the impact of the pandemic.
The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:04 p.m.
Renewing the sanctions regime imposed on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Security Council today also extended by 12 months the mandate of the Group of Experts overseeing their implementation.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2582 (2021) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the 15-member Council decided to renew until 1 July 2022 measures set out in paragraphs 1 to 6 of resolution 2293 (2016) pertaining to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze. These measures require all States to refrain from, among other things, providing weapons to non-governmental entities operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
By other terms, the Council reaffirmed that the financial and travel measures described in paragraph 5 of resolution 2293 (2016) shall apply to individuals and entities designated by the related Security Council Sanctions Committee, as set forth in paragraph 7 of resolution 2293 (2016) and paragraph 3 of resolution 2360 (2017). These measures outline acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the country, including attacks on peacekeepers with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations personnel and members of the Group of Experts.
In renewing the sanctions, the Council decided that these measures shall also apply to individuals and entities designated by the Security Council Sanctions Committee for planning, directing, sponsoring or participating in attacks against medical personnel or humanitarian personnel.
The Council demanded that States ensure that all measures taken to implement this resolution comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international refugee law, as applicable. It also called for enhanced cooperation between all States, particularly those in the region, and the Group of Experts. The Council requested the Group of Experts to provide a mid-term report by 30 December 2021, and a final report by 15 June 2022, as well as monthly updates.
Speaking after the vote, Geng Shuang (China) said that sanctions are only a means, not an end. As such, he expressed hope that the Government will assume its full responsibility over these related matters.
Paul Losoko Efambe Empole (Democratic Republic of the Congo) raised several concerns about the resolution. Regarding the presence of armed groups in the country’s eastern region, he said a military offensive has weakened their influence, and all efforts are being made to break the cycle of violence. To do this, the new mandate of the Group of Experts should examine recent steps and review the measures, as needed. The sanctions in paragraph 2 should also apply to persons designated by the Security Council Sanctions Committee involved with acquiring materials to make improvised explosive devices, he said, stressing that the latest explosions of these weapons occurred in a church and in the centre of a city.
He also expressed concern over the Group of Experts’ resistance to recognize the link between the Allied Democratic Forces and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Pointing out that the Democratic Republic of the Congo actively participates in counter‑terrorism meetings and efforts, he called on the international community to recognize the link between these two terrorist groups, adding that “we cannot let this consolidation occur”. Appropriate targeted sanctions must be adopted against these groups. Recalling recent related actions, including the prosecution of arms traffickers, he pointed out that adequate security measures must be ensured as the country prepares for the MONUSCO drawdown.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:19 p.m.
The Security Council decided today that a vacancy on the International Court of Justice would be filled by election in November.
Adopting resolution 2583 (2021) without a vote, the Council noted with regret the death of Judge James Richard Crawford on 31 May 2021, and decided that the election to fill the remainder of his term would take place on 5 November 2021 at a meeting of the Security Council and a meeting of the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session.
The meeting began at 3:20 p.m. and ended at 3:21 p.m.
Niger, United States Representatives Differ Over Operational, Logistical Support to Group of Five for Sahel Joint Force
The Security Council today decided to renew the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) until 30 June 2022, and to task the Mission with supporting the country’s political transition ahead of presidential and legislative elections slated for 27 February 2022.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2584 (2021) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the 15-member organ called on all Malian stakeholders to facilitate the full realization of the political transition and handover of power to elected civilian authorities within the 18-month transition period, as decided during the 15 September 2020 meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mali’s Transitional Government must also organize free and fair presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for 27 February 2022, along with regional and local elections and a constitutional referendum, as appropriate, within that 18-month time frame.
By other terms, the Council called on all parties in Mali to strictly abide by the arrangements in place for a cessation of hostilities and demanded that all armed groups cut all ties with terrorist organizations and transnational organized crime. They must also end the recruitment and use of child soldiers and cease any activities hampering the return of State authority and basic social services. Further, the Council called for the inclusion within national and regional strategies of programmes that address the stigma of sexual and gender-based violence, bring justice to victims and survivors, and support their reintegration into their communities.
In addition to extending MINUSMA’s mandate, the Council decided that the Mission shall continue to comprise up to 13,289 military and 1,920 police personnel. Highlighting the growing insecurity and physical violence against civilians in central Mali, the Council also requested that the Secretary-General provide recommendations on the force levels and ceiling of MINUSMA’s uniformed personnel no later than 15 July 2021 in order to facilitate its future discussions.
Authorizing MINUSMA to use “all necessary means to carry out its mandate”, the Council decided that the Mission’s primary strategic priority is to support implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and the political transition, and that its second strategic priority is to facilitate implementation of a comprehensive, politically led strategy to protect civilians, reduce intercommunal violence and re-establish State presence and authority, along with basic social services, in central Mali.
Moussa Maman Sani (Niger), also speaking for Kenya, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said his delegation voted for the resolution from a belief that United Nations support is essential for achieving a lasting solution to the crisis in Mali. He stressed, however, that if stability in that country remains elusive, the international community will need to adjust its efforts. MINUSMA must provide operational and logistical support to the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) Joint Force, he said, calling on the United Nations to establish a support office to this end.
Richard M. Mills, Jr. (United States) said that, considering MINUSMA’s immense tasks, a clear line must be maintained between counter-terrorism operations and peacekeeping missions in order to protect United Nations impartiality, personnel and efficacy. Noting that the Joint Force is under the control of national Governments — rather than the Security Council — he said the United States does not support the use of United Nations funds to establish a support office for the Joint Force. Further, MINUSMA’s support to regional actors must be conditioned on strict compliance with human-rights and due-diligence policies. On climate change, he expressed disappointment that the Council failed to take the needed steps to increase the Organization’s information-gathering, which would have allowed the Council to understand how climate-related security risks affect the situation in Mali. The upcoming elections on 22 February must be free, fair and result in the country’s transition to democratic governance by April 2022, he added.
Madhu Sudan Ravindran (India) said partners are needed to help Mali to overcome its current challenges. Highlighting India’s contributions to security-related areas, he said the primary responsibility to fight terrorism rests with Mali, and the peacekeeping forces are there to provide support. He expressed concern over the report’s indication that troop-contributing countries have not been optimally performing, which is not the case. Calling for the implementation of existing measures, he underlined the importance of accountability.
Sonia Farrey (United Kingdom) said her country supported ongoing efforts. The transitional authorities must uphold their commitments to tackle impunity and MINUSMA must be able to focus on its peacekeeping tasks. Negotiations on this issue demonstrate that there is no agreement among Council members about the Sahel Force, she said, adding that the United Kingdom does not support a United Nations support office.
Geng Shuang (China) said his country voted in favour of the resolution renewing MINUSMA’s mandate. He questioned the necessity, however, of the request in operative paragraph 19 that the Secretary-General provide a report by 15 July regarding force levels and a ceiling for uniformed personnel, given that such a report was already presented on 1 June. Noting that the Council should also fully acknowledge the important contributions and enormous sacrifices made by MINUSMA peacekeepers, he said operative paragraph 46 is worded in such a way that invites misunderstanding on this point.
The meeting began at 3:22 p.m. and ended at 3:38 p.m.
Several Delegates Welcome Incoming High Representative Tasked with Advancing Implementation of 1995 Dayton Accord, as Foreign Minister Says Much Work Remains
Chronic divisive rhetoric and genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina are contributing to polarization and hindering prospects for national and regional stability and prosperity, a senior peacekeeping official told the Security Council today during a briefing on recent developments.
Hervé Lecoq, Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Peace Operations’ Europe and Central Asia Division, expressed concern about the overall situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina relating to the consolidation of peace and reconciliation, despite progress made in certain areas. Hate speech and instances of revisionist narratives and the glorification of convicted war criminals are persistent, he said, adding that, during a recent 10-day visit, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Wairimu Nderitu, called for an increased commitment to trust‑building and reconciliation.
Turning to recent developments in the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Sarajevo, related to the appointment of the new High Representative, he said the United Nations is not a member and therefore did not participate in the process. However, the Organization remains committed to supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path towards sustainable peace and development and looks forward to continuing its work with all stakeholders in the country towards that end.
During the ensuing discussion, Council members expressed their support for the country, with many calling on all parties to refrain from taking any steps that could threaten hard-won gains after the three-year war in 1992 caused widespread suffering. Many urged the parties to fully implement the General Framework Agreement for Peace — initialled in Dayton, Ohio, in the United States and signed on 14 December 1995 in Paris.
Many delegates welcomed the new High Representative, Christian Schmidt, and his task to advance the implementation of the Dayton Agreement. China’s delegate, highlighting that the Dayton accord outlined the procedure for appointing the High Representative, encouraged all parties to find a reasonable solution. Recalling that Republika Srpska had issued a document calling for the closure of the Office of the High Representative, he said the international community should assess its role.
The United States representative, recognizing the critical role played by the Office of the High Representative, said that, before its closure, Bosnia and Herzegovina must meet the goals set in the “5+2” agenda, adopted by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, which outlines a set of conditions.
Expressing another view, the Russian Federation’s delegate said his delegation does not agree with the confirmation of the new appointment, which should have been done through a logical, democratic and transparent process. However, this was not the case and the Steering Board confirmed the appointment without discussions. He wondered how work can begin on reconciliation when such an act only compounds differences.
The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said that, hopefully, a climate can be created in which all parties can work together and overcome problems. She encouraged members of the Peace Implementation Council to work in a spirit of collaboration and coordination and to engage in constructive dialogue with all parties. “Consensus in decision-making is desirable and should be our aim,” she said.
Bisera Turković, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, assured the Council that her country looks forward to the day when the Office of the High Representative can close, but “that day has not arrived yet”. While some progress has been made towards fulfilling the requirements set out in the “5+2” agenda for the Office’s closure, much work remains to be done. Noting that the new High Representative will take office on 1 August, she invited all members of the Peace Implementation Council to continue supporting the mandate, which helps Bosnia and Herzegovina progress towards becoming a prosperous, effective democracy on its path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
Also delivering statements were representatives of India, France, Viet Nam, Mexico, Niger, Tunisia, Norway, Kenya, Ireland, United Kingdom and Estonia.
The representatives of the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina took the floor for a second time during the meeting.
The meeting began at 3:40 p.m. and ended at 4:52 p.m.