posted on THU 9 JUN 2011 11:04 AMBriefing on Sudan
Tomorrow, 10 June, Council members are expected to be briefed by the Secretariat on the situation in Sudan. The implementation of the presidential statement adopted on 3 June which made very specific demands to the parties with regard to the situation in Abyei will be the focus of the discussion. The immediate withdrawal of the government of Sudan from Abyei , the immediate withdrawal of all military elements from Abyei and full cooperation of both parties with AU mediation under Thabo Mbeki to establish a viable security arrangement in Abyei were all demanded by the Council. Council members now seem to want to meet and assess compliance with these demands.
It seems that a decision on the format of the meeting has not yet been made. Some members appear keen to have a closed meeting as this would be more conducive to frank discussion. Others would like an open meeting so that messages are delivered publicly to the relevant parties. A press statement may be agreed in light of the deteriorating security situation in Southern Kordofan. But at this point it is not expected that there will be a formal decision from the meeting.
One of the possible elements of discussion at tomorrow’s meetings is the Ethiopian offer of a security presence in Abyei. This has raised questions about what this would mean in practice. For example would the Ethiopians be deployed under the UNMIS mandate or as a new UN mission? Other possibilities that have been mentioned include an AU mission authorised by the Council (such as in Somalia) or a joint UN-AU mission. There are major concerns about how any non-UN mission would be financed.
During the discussions on the presidential statement on 3 June although all members seemed to agree that there was a need to reprimand Khartoum over the takeover of Abyei, there were major differences about getting the right tone and balance in the presidential statement. There were also differences over how to refer to the Council’s follow up on implementation of the statement, ie. whether or not to include a specific date for the Council to review the implementation of the presidential statement. The compromise finally agreed upon was for the Council president to announce 10 June as the date for a follow-up discussion, while the statement referred to a review in the “coming days”.
There is an expectation amongst members that negotiations on the new mission in South Sudan will also start soon. The briefing on Sudan scheduled for 20 June may focus on this.