Security Council: 1) The situation in Mali - 8844th Meeting; 2) The situation in the Middle East - 8845th Meeting; 3) The situation in Somalia - 8846th Meeting; 4) The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question - 8847th Meeting
30 Aug 2021
Security Council Renews Mali sanctions, panel of experts monitoring implementation, unanimously adopting resolution 2590 (2021). Security Council extends mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for one year, unanimously adopting resolution 2591 (2021). Unanimously adopting Resolution 2592 (2021), Security Council extends Somalia mission mandate until 31 May, requests stronger presence as security situation allows.
The Security Council today renewed until 31 August 2022 the travel ban and asset freeze imposed through resolution 2374 (2017) against individuals and entities obstructing implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. Unanimously adopting resolution 2590 (2021) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the 15-member organ also extended until 30 September 2022 the mandate of the Panel of Experts, as set out in paragraphs 11 to 15 of resolution 2374 (2017), as well as the request — contained therein — encouraging the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to assist the Panel. By other terms, the Council requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the Panel of Experts, in consultation with the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2374 (2017), drawing on the expertise of its current members. Against that backdrop, the Council requested the Panel to provide a midterm report no later than 28 February 2022, a final report no later than 15 August 2022 and periodic updates in between. It also requested the Secretary-General to include in his December 2021 report on MINUSMA an update on measures taken to ensure that sanctioned individuals do not benefit from any support from United Nations entities deployed in Mali. The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:09 a.m. The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) until August 2022, reiterating its call for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the principles and elements set out in resolution 1701 (2006). Unanimously adopting resolution 2591 (2021), the Council condemned all violations of the Blue Line, both by air and ground, strongly calling on all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, prevent any violation of the Blue Line and respect it in its entirety, and to cooperate fully with the United Nations and UNIFIL. The Council also urged Israel to expedite the withdrawal of its army from northern Ghajar without further delay in coordination with UNIFIL. It strongly reaffirmed the need for effective deployment of Lebanon’s Armed Forces in the country’s south and in its territorial waters at an accelerated pace, recalling its own request for precise timelines to be jointly and promptly elaborated by the Armed Forces and the Secretary-General for such deployments, in order to fully implement resolution 1701 (2006). By other terms, the Council urged all parties to abide scrupulously by their obligations to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other United Nations personnel, reiterating its call for the rapid finalization of Lebanon’s investigation into all attacks against the Mission, notably the incidents of 4 August 2018 and 10 February 2020. It similarly urged all parties to ensure that UNIFIL’s access to the Blue Line is fully respected and unimpeded in all its operations, condemning in the strongest terms all attempts to restrict its free movement. The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and ended at 10:13 a.m. The Security Council today extended until 31 May 2022 the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), requesting it to strengthen its presence across the country “as the security situation allows”. Unanimously adopting resolution 2592 (2021), the Council further decided that UNSOM should continue to coordinate United Nations efforts, maximizing joint approaches and programming, in full cooperation with the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states, focused in particular on supporting acceleration of Government-led inclusive politics. Against that backdrop, it called on the Federal Government and federal member states to organize free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, in line with the 17 September 2020 and 27 May 2021 agreements without further delay and finalize preparations to this end. It similarly called on them to enhance — “as a matter of urgency” - broad-based consultations and consensus building on national priorities through consultative mechanisms at all levels, and with the two Houses of Parliament. In particular, the Council urged the Federal Government and federal member states to create a conducive political and security climate for inclusive elections across Somalia, fostering political pluralism, ensuring political space for the rights of legally constituted political parties and upholding the rights to free expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement. On the security front, the Council strongly condemned continued attacks by Al-Shabaab and urged Somalia’s authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations to work closely on strengthening safety for United Nations and African Union facilities and staff. By other terms, it demanded that all parties work to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, identify those responsible, consider primarily as victims those children who have been released or otherwise separated from armed forces and armed groups — per the Paris Principles endorsed by the Federal Government — and to cease detention of all children on national security charges where it is in violation of international law. Further, the Council strongly condemned any misuse or obstruction of humanitarian assistance, calling on the Federal Government and federal member states to support and implement durable solutions for internal displacement, including local integration or resettlement, and to create the conditions conducive for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons. The representative of China said the international community is facing a major adjustment of its security arrangement in Somalia, noting that UNSOM’s mandate renewal is conducive to helping the country achieve its security and political transition. As such, China voted in favour of the resolution. However, the text calls on UNSOM to work with international financial institutions and to battle climate change through financing for development, which is inconsistent with the consensus outlined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an instrument that calls on developed countries to provide financial and technical support to developing countries. He wondered whether this was an attempt by developed countries to shirk their climate financing responsibilities. He called for duly upholding obligations and implementing climate financing pledges. Moreover, while some Council members had concerns about the text and were working to reach consensus, the penholders hastened to put the draft to a vote. “This is unconstructive”, he said, expressing hope that they would respect the views of Council members and avoid misusing their powers, with a view to maintaining unity in the Council. The representative of the Russian Federation expressed regret over efforts by the United Kingdom to introduce additional language “on the climate issue” into the text. While drought, floods, locusts and other natural disasters compound the situation in Somalia, her delegation sees no reason to use this resolution as a way to enshrine in the Council mandate climate change activities. It also would be incorrect to make the Mission work on this issue, as its most topical efforts involve extending support to the Federal Government, assisting in the conduct of elections and transferring security responsibility to Somalia’s security forces. She called the Council’s involvement in climate issues “counter-productive”, and similarly expressed concern over the inclusion of language on human rights issues. “Colleagues from Somalia do not need to be mentored by the Security Council on how to defend human rights,” she said, stressing: “They are perfectly capable of preparing and implementing bills on this issue themselves.” Artificial recipes from outside will hardly be successful in Somalia, she asserted. The representative of the United States commended the cooperative spirit in which they led the process. His delegation supported the text because “we remain committed to Somalia” and because tailored, appropriate support and assistance from UNSOM to the Somali people remains critical at this time of political transition. “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity for Somalia,” he said, urging the Federal Government to promote cooperation with the federal member states and to coordinate with all partners in ensuring that UNSOM remains fit-for purpose. The meeting began at 10:14 a.m. and ended at 10:21 a.m. Describing an increasingly fragile situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, marked by violence, evictions and protests, a top United Nations envoy urged the Security Council today to seize every opportunity to resume meaningful dialogue. Three months after the deadly escalation in Gaza, Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process reported the situation remains tense. He drew attention to a number of Palestinian deaths in July and August, as well as a rally along the Gaza perimeter, where stones and, reportedly, improvised explosive devices were thrown towards Israeli security personnel who retaliated by firing, injuring 51 Palestinians, including 25 children. Children must never be targeted, he stressed, calling on all sides to show restraint. Also on 21 August, he added, Palestinian security forces arrested 23 people, including well-known human rights defenders and lawyers, for their participation in a planned demonstration. Calling on the Palestinian Authority to immediately stop arrests of human rights defenders, he also highlighted the precarious state of its clearance revenues due to Israel’s continued deductions of an amount equivalent to what it calculates is paid by the Palestinian Authority to the families of prisoners and martyrs. While welcoming the gradual and partial easing of the access restrictions in Gaza by Israeli authorities, he noted that the volume of trade still remains below pre-escalation levels. In positive developments, he noted meetings between Israeli ministers and their Palestinian counterparts, as well as a meeting between Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. The latter is “the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the formation of the current Israeli Government” he stressed, urging the international community that “no positive, hopeful step should be wasted.” In the ensuing discussion, delegates called for the resumption of political dialogue while stressing the importance of restraint from both parties. The representative of Kenya warned that if unchecked, incidents such as last week’s altercation at the Gaza perimeter fence “could escalate to the levels we saw in May or worse”. Mexico’s representative reminded the parties that the prosperity of Palestinians contributes to the prosperity and security of Israelis. The delegate of France welcomed the cooperation measures undertaken between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian authorities and hoped that such actions would lead to more trust. The delegate of the United States welcomed the agreement between the Organization and Qatar to resume aid delivery to Gaza and called on the international community to facilitate regular predictable access to the territory. Noting his country’s $136 million commitment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), he said provocations along the Gaza border make it more difficult to deliver humanitarian relief to the territory. Both sides must refrain from actions and rhetoric that inflame tensions, such as evictions and compensating individuals who are in prison for acts of terrorism, he said. Noting that the Middle East peace process has deviated off track, the representative of China pointed to ideas put forward by his Government, such as efforts to support intra-Palestinian unity and the resumption of direct talks between the parties. The double shock of conflict and COVID-19 has exacerbated the dire humanitarian situation, he said, adding that his country has pledged to provide 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Agency. Also speaking today were the representatives of India, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Norway, Viet Nam, Russian Federation, Estonia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Ireland. The meeting began at 10:23 a.m. and ended at 11:59 a.m.