posted on FRI 22 AUG 2014 3:10 PM
Council Consultations on Russian Humanitarian Convoy Entering Ukraine

This afternoon (22 August), the Security Council will be briefed in consultations on the situation in Ukraine by Oscar Fernández-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Lithuania called for the meeting after a number of trucks from a Russian humanitarian convoy entered the territory of Ukraine earlier today without the consent of Ukraine and without escort from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

According to the Observer Mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which monitoring and reporting on the Donetsk Border Crossing Point, a total of 134 trucks crossed the border into Ukraine without state consent or ICRC escort. It also said that only 34 of the trucks that crossed the border had been inspected by Ukraine.

After the convoy spent several days near the border awaiting assurances of safe passage under ICRC auspices, Russia decided to move in without permission from Ukraine. In a statement today Russia said that the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine has become intolerable and that it had met all the demands raised by Ukraine and the ICRC necessary for delivery of the aid. Russia has also claimed that it went ahead because Ukraine kept delaying granting formal consent for the passage of the convoy required by the ICRC.

Ukraine has accused Russia of violating its sovereignty with President Petro Poroshenko calling it an act of aggression by Russia. However, Valentin Nalyvaichenko, the head of the security service, stated that Ukraine will not be using force against the convoy. The humanitarian convoy, which was escorted by the pro-Russian separatist forces, reached the city of Lugansk a few hours ago.

NATO has termed Russia’s actions as a blatant breach of international commitments. It has also suggested that Russia has been using artillery against Ukrainian troops, both across the borders and within Ukraine. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (Russia) in a press conference today said he was not aware of any Russian troops in Ukraine.

Yesterday (21 August), while the convoy was still on the other side of the border, Russia proposed a draft statement which welcomed the agreements achieved on delivery of humanitarian aid shipments under the auspices of the ICRC while it also called for a ceasefire and assurances of safe passage for the humanitarian convoy. The draft statement was put under silence procedure yesterday afternoon. It seems both Lithuania and the US broke silence and proposed amendments, including acknowledging that there are a number of organisations and states providing aid as well as dropping the reference to a ceasefire. At press time no new draft text has been circulated.

Earlier this week on 18 August, following the meeting on the Middle East, Ukraine was discussed under any other business at the request of Russia, asking for an update from the Secretariat on the implementation of resolution 2166 on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Resolution 2166 requests the Secretary-General “to identify possible options for UN support to the investigation and to report to the Security Council on relevant developments” but does not give a specific reporting timeline. Fernández-Taranco briefed Council members on the ongoing efforts regarding the investigation into the downing of flight MH17 and indicated that the detailed report will be presented to the Council by the end of August.

At today’s meeting, the majority of Council members are likely to condemn this cross-border incursion by Russia. Russia is expected to continue with its humanitarian aid narrative and argue that the convoy needed to go in to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. It seems that Russia had wanted to have a briefing from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs but others were of the view that today’s developments were essentially political actions and should be discussed under that optic.

While the complexity of the current situation in eastern Ukraine may make it difficult to categorise it neatly as either purely humanitarian or political, it appears that the humanitarian situation cannot be improved without a political decision. The need for a ceasefire is clear, but so far no Council member has raised the option of a Chapter VI draft resolution on the pacific settlement of the situation in Ukraine. A Chapter VI resolution would also allow for the use of Article 27(3), which states that in decisions under Chapter VI, “a party to the dispute shall abstain from voting”. While Russia may argue that it is not a party to this dispute, it would nevertheless have to face the preliminary debate into the question, a scenario the Council avoided when it allowed Russia to veto a draft resolution on the situation in Crimea on 15 March (S/2014/189).

Action from the Council would help strengthen ongoing high-level diplomatic efforts. On 17 August, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia met in Berlin where they focused their discussion on the details of a possible cease-fire and the humanitarian situation. The meeting did not result in any concrete proposals or agreements. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs travelled to Kiev this week where he met with Poroshenko and other high-level government officials. Also, Valerie Amos, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator is in Ukraine this week. Both Feltman and Amos are likely to brief the Council on their visits upon their return. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to meet with Poroshenko in Kiev on 23 August, while Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko are scheduled to meet in Minsk on 26 August at a high level summit that also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and the EU.

posted on WED 20 AUG 2014 6:37 PM
Open Debate and Resolution on Conflict Prevention

Tomorrow (21 August), the Security Council will hold an open debate on conflict prevention, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay as briefers. A vote is expected on a draft resolution on conflict prevention during the debate. Following four meetings, the text was first put under silence procedure on Tuesday morning. Following silence being broken, it was once again put under silence on Tuesday afternoon and is now in blue.… Read more »

posted on TUE 19 AUG 2014 12:59 PM
Briefing on the Council Visiting Mission to Europe and Africa

This afternoon, the Security Council is expected to hold a public briefing on its 8-14 August visiting mission to Europe and Africa. One of the co-leaders of each leg of the trip will brief -Australia on Belgium, Chile on the Netherlands, the US on South Sudan and the UK on Somalia. Interventions from other Council members are not anticipated. The briefings are expected to provide a factual overview of the meetings held and other interactions during the mission. Some key… Read more »

posted on MON 18 AUG 2014 5:58 PM
Briefing on the Protection of Humanitarian Workers

Tomorrow morning (19 August), the Security Council will hold a briefing on the protection of humanitarian workers in armed conflict to mark World Humanitarian Day, which honours the efforts of aid workers. World Humanitarian Day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 19 August 2003 bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad, in which 22 people were killed. Briefings will be provided by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, ICRC President Peter Maurer, and Masood Karokhail,… Read more »

posted on MON 18 AUG 2014 5:45 PM
Briefing on Preparations for Deployment of the Mission in the Central African Republic

Tomorrow (19 August), Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) Babacar Gaye will brief the Security Council on preparations for the deployment of MINUSCA, due to take place on 15 September, and on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2014/562). Morocco will also brief as the chair of the Central African Republic (CAR) Peacebuilding Commission. The briefing will be followed by consultations and no outcome had been discussed at press time.… Read more »

posted on FRI 15 AUG 2014 3:59 PM
Briefing on Middle East Peace Process

On Monday (18 August), Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry will brief Security Council members on Israel-Palestine during the regular monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East. Consultations will follow, during which members may also discuss other developments in the region.… Read more »

posted on THU 14 AUG 2014 6:35 PM
Adoption of a Resolution on Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Al-Nusra Front

Tomorrow afternoon (15 August), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution listing six individuals affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front on the Al-Qaida sanctions regime in an attempt to cut off funding to these groups. The draft resolution was circulated by the UK late last week and the Council seems ready to put it to a vote after holding two rounds of negotiations. At the request of Russia, silence procedure… Read more »

posted on THU 14 AUG 2014 4:48 PM
Dispatches from the Field: Security Council Concludes Visiting Mission to Horn of Africa

Mogadishu and Nairobi - (13 August) Last night Council members ended their visiting mission to Europe and Africa. During the trip, Council members visited five countries in five days and met with three presidents and two prime ministers; several other high-level government officials; presidents and other officials of the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and international criminal tribunals; representatives of the UN, the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); internally displaced persons; and a number of… Read more »

posted on WED 13 AUG 2014 9:47 AM
Dispatches from the Field: Council Meetings in South Sudan

Juba and Malakal— Yesterday (12 August), Council members traveled to South Sudan, where they had a full schedule of activities. The day included briefings from senior UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) officials, meetings with President Salva Kiir and the cabinet, a tour of the UNMISS Protection of Civilians Site in Malakal that included a meeting with internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the camp, a meeting with civil society representatives and a videoconference discussion with rebel leader Riek Machar, head… Read more »

posted on MON 11 AUG 2014 5:41 PM
Dispatches from the Field: Security Council Meetings in The Hague

The Hague - On Monday (11 August), Council members focused on justice and accountability issues as they engaged with representatives of the various international legal institutions headquartered in The Hague. They also received an update on the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is also located in this city.… Read more »