posted on MON 29 SEP 2014 5:19 PM
Briefing on Humanitarian Access in Syria

Tomorrow morning (30 September), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos will brief the Security Council on humanitarian access in Syria pursuant to resolutions 2139 and 2165. Her public briefing will be followed by consultations.

Amos will present a report for the period 19 August to 17 September (S/2014/696). She is expected to report limited gains in the distribution of food and medical assistance and broader humanitarian reach in Aleppo, Dar’a, Hama and Idlib, Ladhiqiya and Quneitra. However, the humanitarian situation in Syria remains devastating, with a death toll conservatively estimated at 191,000, 3.03 million refugees and 6.4 million internally displaced persons. Almost half of the population, 10.8 million, require humanitarian assistance, and of those 4.7 million are in hard-to-reach areas and 241,000 are in besieged areas.

There have been 14 cross-border aid convoys, but cross-line deliveries within Syria remain inherently difficult due to the security situation and government procedures. The government continues to use administrative obstacles to slow aid delivery, in particular procedures for sealing trucks carrying aid and case-by-case negotiations of deliveries to hard-to-reach areas. Meanwhile, armed opposition groups and terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), block access to each other’s areas of control. Council members would be interested to know why access is improving in some areas and not others.

Tomorrow’s meeting will be the first Syria-specific Council meeting since US-led airstrikes against ISIS began in Syria on 22 September. Council members expect the public briefing to stay firmly focused on the humanitarian track. In the following consultations, some Council members may be interested in whether Amos has been able to see whether these strikes have had impact on the wider humanitarian situation in Syria. On the other hand, Council members think it is highly unlikely that Amos would volunteer to comment on the strikes in public or private. Nevertheless, several Council members are interested to see if discussion during consultations tomorrow breaks off from the humanitarian track to the broader issue of the further militarisation of the conflict and the continuing lack of a credible political horizon.

Several Council members are likely to emphasise that resolution 2139 was broader than humanitarian access and Amos is expected to report no progress in implementing any of the other key demands regarding human rights and protection of civilians, such as observing medical neutrality, ceasing aerial bombardments and easing administrative hurdles.

Despite a continued deterioration of the situation on the ground, the Council seems to be largely in a holding pattern on Syria. The accountability track is frozen following the 22 May veto by China and Russia of the ICC referral. Meanwhile, activity on the chemical weapons and humanitarian tracks has shifted down into monitoring mode. It is unlikely that either will garner much attention before year’s end when the authorisation for cross-border aid deliveries will need to be revisited and when Sigrid Kaag is expected to leave her “good offices” role on the chemical weapons track.

The Secretary-General’s latest report on humanitarian access, as all previous such reports, calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Most Council members expect Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to brief in early October following a round of September meetings in Damascus and the region, as well as meetings in New York during leaders’ week of the 69th General Assembly.

posted on TUE 23 SEP 2014 7:06 PM
Security Council Summit Meeting and Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters

Tomorrow (24 September), at a Security Council summit meeting, the Council is expected to adopt a resolution addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and expanding the obligations on member states in responding to this threat. The meeting will be chaired by US President Barack Obama and thirteen Council members are expected to be represented by their heads of state or government (Russia and China will be represented at foreign minister level). The US led two rounds of negotiations… Read more »

posted on THU 18 SEP 2014 5:37 PM
Ministerial Debate and Draft Presidential Statement on Iraq and the International Response to ISIS

Tomorrow afternoon (19 September), US Secretary of State John Kerry will preside over a ministerial debate on Iraq. The debate is an initiative of the US, Council president for September, to demonstrate support for the new Iraqi government as well as the international effort to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, as well as the new Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari will brief. In addition to Council members, member… Read more »

posted on THU 18 SEP 2014 3:39 PM
Ukraine Meeting on MH17 Investigation Report

Following a request from Russia, the Security Council will have a briefing tomorrow morning (19 September) on the Dutch Safety Board’s (DSB) preliminary investigation report (S/2014/657) on the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was circulated to the Council on 9 September. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is expected to brief. It seems that some Council members might be represented at the level of foreign minister. Ukraine and other concerned countries are expected to take part in the… Read more »

posted on WED 17 SEP 2014 5:52 PM
Security Council Meeting and Resolution on Ebola Crisis

Tomorrow afternoon (18 September) the Security Council will hold an open debate on the Ebola crisis in West Africa with briefings from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; David Nabarro, the Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola; Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and a Medecins Sans Frontiéres healthcare worker, who will address the Council via video-teleconference from Liberia. The Council is expected to adopt a resolution during the debate. The US, whoproposed the meeting, circulated a first draft… Read more »

posted on WED 17 SEP 2014 4:44 PM
Debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

Tomorrow morning (18 September) the Council is scheduled to hold its quarterly debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, is expected to brief, while Afghanistan and other non-Council member states are expected to participate in the debate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.… Read more »

posted on TUE 16 SEP 2014 4:36 PM
Consultations on UN Disengagement Observation Force Following Release of Peacekeepers

Council members are expecting a briefing in consultations tomorrow (17 September) from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmund Mulet on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). While consultations had been scheduled to discuss the latest UNDOF report (S/2014/665), tomorrow’s meeting has taken on a new dimension with the recent detention and subsequent release of Fijian peacekeepers and a siege of Filipino peacekeepers manning two UNDOF positions by Al-Nusra, a terrorist group listed by the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. (The report… Read more »

posted on TUE 16 SEP 2014 4:09 PM
Sudan-South Sudan Informal Interactive Dialogue

Tomorrow (17 September), the Security Council expects to hold an informal interactive dialogue on Sudan-South Sudan issues with Thabo Mbeki, chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP). (Informal interactive dialogues are off-the-record meetings chaired by the Council President and held in a meeting room other than the Council Chamber or Consultations Room that allow members to interact with high-level officials, who are usually not part of the UN system, often on a situation-specific matter.)… Read more »

posted on SUN 14 SEP 2014 2:55 PM
Briefings by the new UN Special Representative for Libya and Sanctions Committee Chair

On Monday morning (15 September), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing from Bernardino León, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), followed by consultations. The briefing is expected to build on the 5 September report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Libya (S/2014/653). The Council will also receive a briefing by the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Eugéne-Richard Gasana (Rwanda), and hold consultations… Read more »

posted on WED 10 SEP 2014 4:52 PM
Debate on UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti

Tomorrow morning (11 September) the Council is scheduled to hold a debate on Haiti to consider the Secretary-General’s most recent report (S/2014/617) on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Special Representative of the Secretary-General Sandra Honoré is expected to brief. While no outcome is anticipated at this stage, the upcoming October mandate renewal for MINUSTAH is likely to be one of the key themes in the debate. (The current mandate expires on 15 October.) The debate is also likely… Read more »