SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY CHAIRS OF SANCTIONS COMMITTEES, WORKING GROUPS; LESSONS LEARNED, CONTINUITY STRESSED
NEW YORK, 18 December (UN Headquarters) -- Issues of lessons learned and continuity of effort were stressed this morning, as the Security Council heard briefings by the outgoing Chairmen of four Council Sanctions Committees, as well as of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa and the Working Group on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning the situation in Afghanistan, the President of the Council, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), said, reflecting new developments, the Committee had acquired a global scope, and was now the only active Committee aimed at fighting terrorism. After 11 September 2001, the fight against terrorism must be preventive to be effective. He stressed that the Council must be more active in efforts related to the work of the Committee, in particular in assigning action against States or individuals. A transition had to be made from a general framework of cooperation, to implementation of measures and actions.
The Chairman of the Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, Ole Peter Kolby (Norway), said the Committee’s meetings had been characterized by frank discussion and sometimes controversy, due to the complexity of issues. He considered the Goods Review List and new procedures established by resolution 1409 (2002) as a milestone during his chairmanship. That resolution had brought about improvements to the people of Iraq, but had been marred by a funding shortfall in the humanitarian programme. Despite shortcomings, the humanitarian programme had made, and continued to make, a difference in the lives of Iraqis.
Richard Ryan (Ireland), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola, said the Committee had been dissolved last week by the Council, following the positive military and political developments in the country. The Committee had grappled with sensitive issues, such as travel restrictions, registration of arms dealers and the capacity and willingness of the diamond industry to better police itself. The question remained what line the Council should take against sanctions busters after the sanctions had been dissolved. Should it contemplate further pursuing transgressors, the issue remained of who should carry out that function.
Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) concerning the situation in Liberia, said three measures had been most effective: the arms embargo established in 2001; the diamonds embargo; and the travel ban on senior Government officials. Although the Committee's efforts had contributed to further progress in the peace process, violations of sanctions continued. Among lessons learned, he mentioned that it was very important for the Chair of the Committee to visit the region. Naming and shaming of sanctions violators was also important. Further, sanctions committees also needed to be provided with adequate resources.
The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, Jagdish Koonjul (Mauritius), noted that, although the Council spent most of its time on African issues, it hardly had time for in-depth discussions. The Working Group, established in January, addressed such shortcoming. After 11 September, Africa was not getting the attention it deserved, and the Group would help in maintaining the focus on African issues. The Group could also provide a vital link for continuation of cooperation between the Council and the Economic and Social Council, and could be of significant importance in strengthening the partnerships among the Council, the African Union and subregional organizations in Africa.
Wegger Christian Strommen (Norway), Chairman of the Working Group on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, described the Group’s work during the year and advocated further development of the new mechanism for cooperation with troop-contributing countries, which had been set up by a note by the Council’s President of 14 January this year (S/2002/56). Close contact and consultations between Council members, troop contributors and the Secretariat would serve the important purpose of strengthening the much-needed partnership between those who designed and those who implemented mandates for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Briefings by Committee Chairmen
The Chairman of the Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway), speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of Committee members, said the work of the Committee had continued to increase. Due to a complexity of issues, the meetings had been characterized by frank discussion and sometimes controversy. Results on all issues had not been achieved, but the Committee had worked on behalf of the Iraqi people.
Much of the Committee’s attention had been focused on holds on contracts. In resolution 1409 (2002), the Council had put into operation the Goods Review List and new procedures, which he considered a milestone during his chairmanship. The Office of the Iraq Programme, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had ensured a smooth transition to the implementation of the List and the new procedures, which had brought about improvements for the people of Iraq, but had been marred by a funding shortfall in the humanitarian programme. Much time had been committed to violations of the sanctions and humanitarian exemptions. Various reports had been submitted to the Council.
Since January 2001, the Committee had held 33 formal meetings and had held frequent informal consultations at the expert level. The humanitarian programme in Iraq was not intended to be a substitute for normal economic activities. Despite shortcomings, the programme had made, and continued to make, a difference in the lives of Iraqis.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola, said that since the Committee had been dissolved last week by the Council, his comments today could only be made in his personal capacity. The circumstances surrounding the termination of the Committee had been happy, for the positive military and political developments had provided the Council with the basis for its welcome action last week. He believed it was right to say the Council’s efforts had had some influence on the events in Angola.
Regarding the implementation of sanctions, he said that for a number of years there had been total disregard for measures against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). That situation had done nothing to enhance the image of the Council. Recently, however, a whole new dynamic had been introduced. By its resolution 1295 (2000), the Council had put the international community on notice that sanctions against UNITA could no longer be treated as a paper tiger. The most important measure had been the establishment in July 2000 of the sanctions monitoring mechanism, providing an additional arm to monitor the sanctions and the violators of the regime.
The harmonious atmosphere within the Committee itself had facilitated its work, he continued. However, he believed that "a firewall of sorts" should exist between the sanctions committees and the political track within the countries. Although in the last weeks there had been some "dovetailing" of those lines in Angola, in the process it had been very important to avoid entanglement.
Summarizing the efforts over the years, he emphasized the importance of the adoption of a revised list of UNITA members and their immediate families who were subject to travel restrictions, as well as a freezing of bank accounts of those on the list by some Members of the Council. An investigation of UNITA’s financial operations had sent another strong signal. The Committee had been in constant communication with Member States and, as its Chairman, he had visited 11 States. He also noted a high level of cooperation from the Government of Angola. The African Union had also played an important part. The Committee had closely followed the issues related to diamonds, as well as the marking of weapons and registration of arms dealers.
He went on to say that the Committee had grappled with many sensitive issues, including the lists of persons subject to travel restrictions, the registration of arms dealers and the capacity and willingness of the diamond industry to better police itself. Many of those issues remained a subject of debate and could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The question remained what line the Council should take against sanctions busters after the sanctions had been dissolved. Should it contemplate further pursuing transgressors, the issue remained of who should carry out that function.
In conclusion, he said that the need to ensure follow-up was an important element in favour of creating a permanent body in that regard. Many of the issues before the Angola Committee were also before the Sierra Leone and Liberia Committees. The advances should not lead to complacency. Further refinement of practice could lead to further success. He encouraged the Council to use the experience of his Committee and allow sanctions to play a positive role in the maintenance of international peace and security.
The President of the Council, ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia), speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning the situation in Afghanistan, said the Committee had been formerly known as the Committee on Afghanistan. The change in name reflected new developments, turning the focus of the Committee to a global scope, as terrorism was one of the major challenges to international peace and security. Besides the global scope the Committee was also the only active Committee to fight terrorism, in particular that of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The different acts of terrorism in recent years, in particular 11 September 2001, had raised the question of how to respond strongly to the challenge. The Council had been lagging in its responsibilities to the challenge, and he urged it to make up lost ground. The fight against terrorism must be preventive to be effective.
He said the Committee had had to deal with claims and requests from people who had been directly affected by the sanctions. Because of the global scope, the Committee could not limit itself to traditional procedures. There was a need for developing skillful preventive efforts. Guidelines adopted concerned procedures to include new names on the list of entities and people associated with the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
The sanctions regime included three issues: freezing of resources; travel bans; and arms embargoes. Regarding the freezing of financial resources, he said it was difficult to evaluate results. Al Qaeda still had access to a considerable amount of financial resources. The Committee, in regard to the travel ban, had not received any information on people on the list who had tried to travel. Nevertheless, the Monitoring Group had recommended that the list be used by Member States’ travel authorities. In that regard, he drew attention to the fact that, in some countries, it was very easy to change names. Recommendations to immigration authorities were needed on what to do when a person on the list presented him or herself. Arms embargoes were also difficult to implement. Different expert groups that monitored sanctions had made recommendations, and a discussion was needed on how to use that experience.
The list of people or entities and people associated with the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden constituted 232 individuals and 92 entities. He emphasized that the Monitoring Group had detected 104 names that were not on the list, but had ties with Al Qaeda. He emphasized, in that regard, that Member States had an obligation to provide information to the Committee, something that should be subject to consideration when discussing extension of the mandate. A report from the Monitoring Group contained recommendations that should be taken into account by Member States.
He said in January, the Council would have to consider the sanctions imposed to assess their effectiveness. He stressed that the Council must be more active in efforts related to the work of the Committee and the Counter-Terrorism Committee, in particular to assign action against States or individuals. A transition had to be made from a general framework of cooperation, to implementation of measures and actions. Even though international terrorism was not new, it had acquired a new dimension after 11 September. Recent attacks in Bali and Kenya had created more awareness of the new challenge. There was, therefore, an obligation to be more proactive and vigilant.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore), Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1343 (2001) concerning the situation in Liberia, said that, like others, he was going to speak in his personal capacity. At present, only three Member States were subject to sanctions as State entities: Iraq, Liberia and Somalia. In the case of Liberia, three measures had been most effective: extension of the arms embargo in 2001: a diamonds embargo; and a travel ban on senior Government officials. All three measures had been extended this year for another year.
The good news was that the efforts of the Committee had contributed to further progress in the peace process, he continued. The bad news was that violations of sanctions by both the Government of Liberia and other actors continued. The legal considerations of that issue needed to be further addressed by the Council.
Among the lessons learned, he mentioned that it was very important for the Chair of the Committee to visit the region and have direct contact with those involved. In April 2001, he had made such a visit. His experience showed that sanctions themselves could not be the sole policy of the Council, and a comprehensive policy was needed. On 13 December, a presidential statement had been adopted by the Council, which was an important complement to the sanctions in Liberia.
He went on to say that it was also important for sanctions committees to be provided with adequate resources to monitor the implementation of the sanctions. The Committee on Liberia had had to rely on ad hoc experts panels for that purpose. As there were gaps between the creation of such panels, such a stop-and-go process created problems, for some of the expertise and information was lost that way. He hoped that next year, an early decision would be made on the creation of such a panel.
Turning to the difficulties in the implementation of sanctions, he said that clearly the arms embargo was not functioning as it should, for the arms flow continued. In August, for example, more than 200 tons of weapons and ammunition had arrived in Liberia. Under relevant resolutions, all States in the region should prevent their territory from being used to prepare and launch attacks on their neighbours. In that respect, the naming and shaming were important. However, when a panel’s mandate expired, there was no mechanism for dealing with claims of Member States that disputed the allegations of violations in panel of expert’s reports. Thus, it was important to address the problem of continuity and the need to retain expertise.
Regarding the diamond trade, he said that there was a reverse trend of Liberian diamonds being smuggled to the neighbouring countries. Despite the call to set up a diamond certification system, it was not being followed through. There was a need to harmonize efforts. As for the travel ban, he said that it was the most effective measure, but it was also the most controversial, for there were no criteria for listing the individuals on such a list. The names on the list were sometimes withheld or deleted as a result of objections by a single member of the Committee. Another problem was that the information regarding violations of travel bans was often skimpy.
He added that there was also an issue of the unintended consequences of sanctions, which were intended to be smart and not adversely affect the population. However, sanctions had a psychological impact on the population. It was a fact that the humanitarian situation in Liberia had worsened. Although it was very clear that the crisis was not a result of the sanctions, the Government was taking advantage of the crisis to convince the population that the deterioration of the humanitarian situation was due to the sanctions. It was necessary to fight that battle and convince the population that sanctions were not the cause of the crisis.
The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), said the Group had been established in January this year, following the Council’s public meeting on the situation in Africa, to: propose recommendations on enhancing cooperation between the Council and the Economic and Social Council, as well as with other United Nations agencies dealing with Africa; examine regional and cross-conflict issues affecting the Council’s work in Africa; and to propose recommendations to the Council to enhance cooperation in conflict prevention and resolution between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and subregional organizations, as well as to monitor implementation of Council recommendations.
He said the Group had decided to bring some "value added" to the work of the Council by looking at issues of importance to Africa that were generally not discussed in the Council. This June, the Working Group had presented a first set of recommendations to the Council relating to the group of friends, cooperation with the African Union and Guinea-Bissau. A second set of recommendations relating to enhancement of the effectiveness of the representatives and special representatives of the Secretary-General in Africa had been made on 9 December. Those recommendations did not in any way reflect the performance of those representatives, but were intended to suggest ways and means in which their effectiveness could be enhanced.
One significant achievement of the Group had been the promotion of close cooperation between the Council and ECOSOC. There was a growing recognition that the two bodies should cooperate and coordinate their activities for lasting solutions to conflicts. He had participated, for instance, in a joint Council/ECOSOC mission to Guinea-Bissau. Very constructive meetings with the Bretton Woods institutions had been held in Guinea-Bissau and in Washington, D.C. The joint activity illustrated the close cooperation the Group had been able to establish between the two organs.
He noted that, although the Council spent most of its time on African issues, it hardly had time for in-depth discussions. The Working Group addressed such a shortcoming. After 11 September, Africa was not getting the attention it deserved, and the Group would help in maintaining the focus on African issues. The Group could also provide a vital link for continuation of cooperation between the Council and ECOSOC, and could be of significant importance in strengthening the partnerships between the Council, the African Union and subregional organizations in Africa. There was, therefore, merit in maintaining the Working Group well beyond its current mandate.
WEGGER CHRISTIAN STROMMEN (Norway), Chairman of the Working Group on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, said that the Group had held eight meetings in 2002, including one joint meeting with troop-contributing countries to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (what was commonly known as the new mechanism) on 28 August. Regarding that mechanism, he explained that it had been set up by a note by the President of the Council of 14 January as an integral part of the mandate of the Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping. That represented a culmination of a year-long process aimed at strengthening cooperation and consultation among the Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries.
Following the adoption of that note, the Working Group had not been given any immediate tasks by the Council, he said. Consequently, no meetings had been held before the end of May this year. The Group had then met to discuss two non-papers, introduced by the United Kingdom and Russian Federation, respectively, on how to improve military advice to the Security Council. While the need for enhanced and improved military advice to the Council was acknowledged by the Group, it was not possible to reach any agreement on the recommendations put forward in the non-papers.
Given a couple of incidents with actors wishing to participate in troop-contributing countries meetings, the Working Group had been tasked to elaborate on an approach aimed at avoiding such incidents in the future, he continued. The response by the Working Group, adopted in the note by the President (document S/2002/964) of 27 August, was an attempt to establish a coherent and inclusive practice in that field. According to the note, the actors listed who did not have an automatic right to participate in the meetings should make a request for participation to the President of the Council. The President, following consultations with Council Members, should extend an invitation, as appropriate, and instruct the Secretariat accordingly. It now rested on all the actors involved to implement that new procedure.
Turning to the meeting on 28 August, he said that it had been the first one to be held in the new format. It had been generally appraised in positive terms by Council members and troop contributors alike, who pointed out that the meeting had given rise to a more substantive debate, compared to the consultation meetings under resolution 1353, and that the smaller format and the specific, well-defined agenda contributed to a fruitful exchange of views. Such meetings were not likely to overburden the Council or interfere with its prerogatives. The new format had its merits and should be further improved. He would, therefore, encourage close contact and consultations between Council Members, troop contributors and the Secretariat, with a view to organizing further meetings of the mechanism, when appropriate. That would strengthen the much-needed partnership between those who designed and those who implemented mandates for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Towards the end of the year, the Working Group had informally discussed possible topics, which could form the basis for its future work, he added. In that regard, challenges relating to command and control in peacekeeping operations, lessons learned and disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration had been raised by members. However, it had been underlined that before any debate could be launched, the specific challenges to be addressed should be clearly defined, taking due account of the mandates of the Group and other relevant bodies in order to avoid duplication. The Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations was a standing organ under the Council mandated to consider both generic and mission-specific aspects of peacekeeping. As its outgoing Chairman, he believed the Council could benefit from continued input from the Group in those areas, as a means to strengthen United Nations’ peacekeeping capacity.
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