posted on TUE 29 JUL 2014 3:22 PM
Adoption of Resolution Renewing the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

Tomorrow morning (30 July), the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing for a period of six months the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The adoption follows the consultations on UNFICYP held on 24 July, during which Council members were briefed via video teleconference by Lisa Buttenheim, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNFICYP, on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2014/461). (Buttenheim is also currently serving as the interim Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus.)

During the January negotiations of the resolution renewing UNFICYP(S/RES/2135), Council members, as well as members of the Secretariat, seemed to be frustrated by the failure of both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to agree to the joint statement necessary for the resumption of talks. However, soon after UNFICYP’s mandate was renewed, agreement on a joint communiqué was reached on 11 February, paving the way for renewed talks. As a result, the mood around this mandate renewal has been more positive than during the deliberations in January, allowing for easy consensus on extending the mandate of UNFICYP for an additional six months. It appears that the draft text was agreed to by all Council members informally on 25 July and put under silence procedure on 28 July. The current draft draws heavily on the most recent UNFICYP resolution (resolution 2135 of 30 January) and contains mostly previously agreed language on the Cyprus issue. Reflecting latest developments, the draft resolution welcomes the resumption of negotiations and the agreement on the joint declaration of 11 February. It also expresses support for the ongoing efforts by the leaders and negotiators to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.

While UNFICYP resolutions regularly mention and commend the work of the Committee on Missing Persons, Council members agreed to use stronger language this time, highlighting the importance of intensifying the Committee’s activities. The latest Secretary-General’s report also notes that “up to 50 years after their disappearance, half of all missing persons are yet to be located and 75 per cent have yet to be identified”.

References to confidence building measures are similar to those in the last resolution, although Buttenheim and some Council members pointed out the need for further implementation of military confidence-building measures in particular. Buttenheim noted that there are still no direct communication channels between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot military officials on the island and that all talks between military officials are done through facilitation by UNFICYP. In all other areas, confidence-building measures are being implemented to some extent through direct communication between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot officials.

It seems that the UK suggested language, included in the draft put in blue, encouraging the Secretary-General to appoint a new Special Adviser in the near future. It seems that initially, following Alexander Downer’s departure at the end of January from the post, there wasn’t a strong push to fill the position. In the past some members of the Council had signalled dissatisfaction with Downer, while both sides in Cyprus were unwilling to cooperate with him. With there being some progress in the talks more recently, initially some members felt that it would be best not to disrupt the progress by bringing a new adviser in too quickly.

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posted on MON 28 JUL 2014 6:13 PM
Adoption of a Presidential Statement on Gaza

At 12 am this morning (28 July), the Security Council held an urgent meeting to adopt its first formal outcome on the situation in Israel/Palestine—a presidential statement—since the onset of the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza.… Read more »

posted on FRI 25 JUL 2014 3:57 PM
Adoption of a Resolution on Regional Partnerships in Peacekeeping

On Monday (28 July), the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on “UN Peacekeeping: regional partnershipsand its evolution” with the Secretary-General expected to brief and AU and EU representatives likely to participate. A resolution is expected to be adopted during the debate. Council members have had two rounds of negotiations on the draft text which was circulated by Rwanda on 16 July and put in blue today.… Read more »

posted on FRI 25 JUL 2014 3:31 PM
Iraq and Syria:Presidential Statement on Illicit Oil Trade Financing Terrorism

A draft presidential statement on illicit oil trade as a source of revenue for terrorists in Iraq and Syria is currently under silence until Monday morning (28 July). Russia and the US have been in bilateral negotiations on the draft since 22 July, but at press time it seems agreement had been reached allowing for possible adoption early next week. Russia circulated the first draft of this presidential statement, almost a month ago, on 27 June. This initial draft focused… Read more »

posted on THU 24 JUL 2014 3:44 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

Tomorrow (25 July), Security Council members are set to meet with Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro and Karen AbuZayd of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria in a closed Arria-formula format session arranged by the UK. It seems the meeting was organised to keep the Syria accountability track alive and a closed format was chosen to allow for a frank exchange of views. (Similar meetings with the Commission of Inquiry were organised by Australia in June 2013 and by… Read more »

posted on MON 21 JUL 2014 6:44 PM
Middle East Debate to Focus on Situation in Gaza

Tomorrow morning (22 July), the Security Council will hold its regular quarterly open debate on the situation in Israel/Palestine with Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry expected to brief. (Update: After this story was published, we learned that Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who was on a trip to the Middle East, would brief by video teleconference.) The main focus of the debate will be on the continually escalating violence in Gaza as a result of the Israeli… Read more »

posted on MON 21 JUL 2014 2:18 PM
Vote on Draft Resolution Condemning Downing of MH17

The Draft Resolution This afternoon (21 July), the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution condemning the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Netherlands Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans are both expected to attend the meeting. (Australia, a non-permanent Council member, lost 37 of its citizens, and the Netherlands lost 193 citizens, the highest number from one nationality on the downed flight.) Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Jean Asselborn was… Read more »

posted on FRI 18 JUL 2014 1:58 PM
Israel/Palestine: Political Affairs Chief to Brief following Israeli Ground Operation in Gaza

This afternoon at 3 pm(18 July), Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will brief the Security Council on the situation in Israel/Palestine. An urgent meeting was requested last night by Jordan, the Arab Group’s voice on the Council, in response to Israel’s announcement that it was initiating a ground operation into Gaza. It seems there were divergent views over the meeting’s format. Turkey, though not a Council member requested an open debate and was supported by Council members Argentina, China,… Read more »

posted on FRI 18 JUL 2014 7:14 AM
Ukraine Meeting Following Crash of Malaysia Airlines Plane

This morning the Council will meet in its chamber to be briefed by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, following yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines jet crash in the eastern Ukraine amidst continued fighting in south-east Ukraine. The UK, supported by Lithuania, requested an urgent meeting on the situation in Ukraine yesterday. A similar request came from Ukraine who also asked to participate in the meeting and is likely to be represented by its Ambassador, Yuri Sergeyev. At press time, it seemed… Read more »

posted on WED 16 JUL 2014 5:26 PM
Briefing and Consultations on Critical Security Situation in Libya

Tomorrow morning (17 July), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a public briefing by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), via video teleconference, which will be followed by consultations. Even though resolution 2144 requests the Secretariat to brief on UNSMIL’s mandate every 90 days, during the last consultations on 9 June some Council members requested more frequent meetings, given the worsening security and political situation in Libya.… Read more »