Report | Date: 2001-08-22 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Monthly Report on the work of The Security Council July 2001
Overview of Security Council work in July 2001
- Sierra Leone – Consultations on the diamond embargo 5 July
- Central African Republic – Briefing on the situation 6 July
- Prevlaka, UNMOP – Meeting with troop-contributing countries 9 July, consultations 10 July
- Guinea Bissau, UNOGBIS – Briefing on the situation 10 July
- Somalia – Briefing 11 July
- Burundi – Consultations 17 July, briefing 25 July
- DR Congo – Consultations 18 July, public briefing 24 July
- Afghanistan – Consultations on the humanitarian situation 19 July
- Lebanon, UNIFIL – Meeting with troop-contributing countries 24 July, consultations 25 July
- Georgia, UNOMIG – Meeting with troop-contributing countries 24 July, consultations 25 July
- Kosovo, UNMIK – Public briefing 26 July
- Iraq – Extension of Oil for Food programme 3 July
Norwegian priorities – current matters
Conflict-prevention and peace-building
The Balkans: The head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations gave a briefing in a public meeting of the Council on 26 July on the situation in Kosovo and the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). He repeated his call to Belgrade to send a clear message to the Serbian parties in Kosovo to register for the election to be held on 17 November. Norway pointed out in its statement that more must be done to improve the security of non-Albanians in Kosovo and to facilitate the return of those who have had to abandon their homes in Kosovo. Efforts to discover what has happened to the many hundreds of Serbs missing in Kosovo must be stepped up. Measures of this kind will have a decisive impact on the participation of non-Albanians in the election. The authorities in Belgrade were commended for handing over former president Slobodan Milosevic to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. The debate also showed that there was broad agreement that the conflict in Macedonia, which is seriously affecting the stability of the entire region, cannot be solved by military means. The parties to the conflict were urged to show greater willingness to compromise.
Afghanistan: The Secretary-General’s report on the humanitarian impact of the sanctions against the Taliban was discussed on 19 July. Members of the Council generally supported the main conclusion that the deteriorating humanitarian situation is the result of war and drought, not sanctions. Res. 1363 (2001) on the sanctions monitoring mechanism was adopted on 30 July.
East Timor: A public meeting on East Timor was held on 30 July on the background of a progress report from the Secretary-General on developments in the area. Independence for East Timor is now in sight, though a number of critical tasks still remain for the UN to accomplish: establishing and maintaining a secure environment, conducting the election on 30 August in a satisfactory way, and laying the foundation for the exercise of executive and central government administration and financial resources management. To ensure that these tasks are completed, the Secretary-General recommends the creation of an integrated mission to succeed UNTAET after independence is proclaimed in East Timor and funding it through assessed contributions. Norway made a statement expressing its support for the Secretary-General’s recommendation.
UNIFIL, Lebanon: On 21 July the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was extended to 31 January 2002. The reorganization and reduction of UNIFIL will continue in line with the recommendations of the Secretary-General.
UNOMIG, Georgia: On 31 July the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was extended to 31 January 2002. Norway supported the mandate extension resolution submitted by the Secretary-General’s Group of Friends for Georgia (France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA).
UNOGBIS, Guinea Bissau: On 10 July the Council deliberated the report on the situation in Guinea Bissau and on the activities of the UN Peace-building Support Office in Guinea Bissau (UNOGBIS) for the past three months. The members of the Council applauded the UNOGBIS’s peace-building initiative in Guinea Bissau aiming to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law and protect human rights.
UNOMOP, Prevlaka: On 11 July the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) on the Prevlaka Peninsula to 15 January 2002. The Security Council underscored the stabilizing role played by UNMOP on Prevlaka, and welcomed the resumption of expert-level negotiations by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Council urged the parties to consider various confidence-building measures in an effort to arrive at a satisfactory bilateral solution.
Several meetings on the DR Congo were held in the last two weeks of July, largely to demonstrate to the parties that the Council is following developments closely and is counting on them to fulfil their obligations pursuant to the Lusaka Agreement and SC resolutions 1341 and 1355 (disengagement and withdrawal). Progress in the peace process was cited, as well as a number of positive aspects of developments, but it was noted that lasting peace and positive development will require further political will and commitment by the leaders in the region. The Council issued a presidential statement again calling on the parties to fulfil their commitments and comply with resolutions, and emphasizing the important role played by the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the DD&R (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration) process in the peace effort.
In a public meeting held on 24 July, Ambassador Kolby made a statement expressing concern about the lack of progress in demilitarizing Kisangani. Norway emphasized the DD&R process, which is key also to the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from the DRC, and took up the lawlessness which currently reigns in the DR Congo, pointing out that there could be no lasting peace without justice.
The Council was briefed on 25 July on the situation in Burundi. The Council welcomed the announcement of the agreement on the transitioinal leadership and supported the efforts of facilitator Mandela and the leaders of the Great Lakes Region. At the same time, it strongly urged the armed groups to cease hostilities immediately and join the peace process. An attempted coup in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, on 24 July, served as a reminder that strong internal forces are still at play.
The third review of the diamond embargo against Sierra Leone took place on 5 July. It was recalled that the deadline was past for filing a new 90-day report providing diamond export and production statistics in Sierra Leone. ECOWAS was commended for its efforts to establish regional certification systems for West Africa. There were a number of statements supporting work on global certification systems (the Kimberly process).
On 11 July a short briefing was given on the situation in Somalia, focusing on the need for humanitarian support, on issues connected with an independence referendum in "Somaliland", and on the continued independent political leadership in the "Puntland" region. At Norway’s suggestion, the Council adopted a press statement supporting a broad regional approach – under the leadership of IGAD – to the process of reconciliation in Somalia. The statement also expressed support for the decision to the same effect adopted by the Council of Ministers at the OAU Lusaka Summit on 7 July. The Secretary General has expressed his concern over the meagre response to the consolidated appeal for Somalia in which commitments of only USD 12 million out of the USD 125 million needed had been received, and announced that the UN Secretariat would issue a report on Somalia in September.
Human rights and humanitarian issues
At the meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Norway underscored the importance of designing the sanctions regime to minimize the humanitarian impact. The UN was urged to put a special focus on women and children in its reports.
In July Norway expressed its concern about the situation of children in the Great Lakes region, and has requested additional information on the UN’s strategy for reaching vulnerable groups. Norway also expressed concern at the violence against the civilian population and against humanitarian workers, and also focussed on the difficult situation for the many child soldiers in the region and the extent of sexual abuse of women.
Norway has also supported the efforts of the UNHCR to give priority to the repatriation of refugees wishing to return to their homes in East Timor in order to protect them from punitive reactions.
The Iraq question
On 3 July the Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1360 (2001) extending the Oil for Food programme in its current form for another five months. During this period – the tenth half-year phase – the Security Council will continue to negotiate reforms in UN sanctions against Iraq.
Distribution plans provide the basis for Iraqi spending in each phase of the Oil for Food programme. The Secretary-General has now approved the distribution plan for phase ten, which carries a budget of USD 5.5 billion.
During the six months of Norway’s chairmanship of the Sanctions Committee, there has been a pronounced decline in the percentage of new holds. Norway will continue to work for the reduction of the number of applications placed on hold.