posted on Mon 22 Aug 2011 6:22 PM
Monthly DPA Briefing on Emerging Issues

This afternoon Council members will have their monthly briefing on emerging or significant issues by the Department of Political Affairs head, B. Lynn Pascoe. It seems the briefing was originally going to focus on the constitutional crisis in Nepal and the issue of piracy off the west coast of Africa. However, given recent developments, Libya was added to the agenda yesterday and Syria is also expected to be discussed.

It seems that the Secretary-General met with the president of the Council and the P5 members yesterday to discuss the Libyan situation. The briefing this afternoon will provide an opportunity for all Council members to discuss the most recent developments and the possible involvement of the UN in a post-conflict Libya. Council members are likely to be interested in hearing more about the post-conflict contingency planning which has been undertaken by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-Conflict Planning on Libya, Ian Martin.

The Secretary-General yesterday called for a smooth transition and said the UN was ready to provide Libya with post-conflict assistance. He also said he would be holding meetings with major organisations including the AU, EU and the Arab League. It appears that Martin and UN Special Envoy for Libya Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, are expected to meet with members of the National Transitional Council in Doha this week.

While Council members are all following the situation in Libya very closely, it seems that any action from the Council in a post-conflict Libya will be dependent on what the government emerging from the conflict requests. Possible options range from deploying military observers to monitor a ceasefire arrangement, if a political solution is eventually negotiated, to an interim stabilisation force and a future UN mission. Council members also appear aware that consideration will also have to be given to the sanctions imposed on Libya by resolution 1973.

Syria is also likely to be of interest to Council members. The Human Rights Council yesterday adopted a resolution condemning “grave and systematic” human rights violations by Syrian authorities and agreed to “urgently dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of international human rights law in Syria since July 2011”.

It seems that it may be too early for Pascoe to brief on the findings of the UN humanitarian assessment team which visited Syria over the weekend, but Council members are likely to want to hear more about the visit once a report is ready.

It seems that the US and the European members of the Council have a draft resolution on Syria ready to be circulated to Council members. It appears that the draft calls for Council sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other top officials as well as several Syrian firms.