posted on Fri 11 Nov 2011 10:45 AM
Secretary-General’s briefing on Libya and monthly DPA briefing

This afternoon (11 November) the Council will be briefed by the Secretary-General on Libya, following his visit to Tripoli in early November. After the Secretary-General’s briefing, it appears that Council members will receive their monthly “horizon scanning” briefing on emerging issues from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe.

The Secretary-General is likely to update the Council on how the situation on the ground is impacting the UN Support Mission in Libya’s (UNSMIL) operations and staff. He may also address some of the key problems UNSMIL is facing, including the lack of credible Libyan counterparts, given the absence of government in Tripoli. The mandate of UNSMIL expires on 15 December and Council members will likely be looking for an assessment from the Secretary-General on possible options for extending the mission. A number of members appear to be in favour of a three-month technical roll-over for UNSMIL in early December.

During his “horizon scanning” briefing, Pascoe is expected to cover the role of political field missions in counter-terrorism efforts, Somalia and Syria. Apparently the issue of political field missions and how they could contribute to counter-terrorism was first raised during the Secretary-General’s lunch last month. Pascoe is expected to provide his initial thoughts on this issue during tomorrow’s briefing.

On Somalia, Pascoe is likely to provide an assessment of recent developments including implementation of the road map and security situation, the continuing threats from Al-Shabaab and implications of the recent developments of the Kenyan operation into Somalia. It is possible that he may also touch on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

It seems Pascoe will provide an update on the situation in Syria. Among the issues likely to be addressed is the Arab League’s Initiative. In a letter to the Council, (S/2011/692) Syria has said it has made “every effort” to implement the initiative, which calls for the government to stop all acts of violence against civilians. Most Council members are watching the Arab League initiative closely and will be interested to hear Pascoe’s assessment of the government’s commitment to implementing the initiative as the crisis continues to escalate. (The Arab League has called an emergency meeting of its Foreign Ministers for Saturday, 12 November.)

Another matter which is likely to be of interest to Council members is the rising death toll in Syria, which the Human Rights Council estimates has exceeded 3,500, and concerns that increasing defections from the Syrian military are leading the country towards civil war.