Security Council Extends Mandate of Interim Security Force for Abyei, Recognizing Situation as Serious Threat to International Peace
Recognizing that the situation along the Sudan-South Sudan border remained a serious threat to international peace and security, the Security Council decided this afternoon to extend until 15 May 2017 the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Unanimously adopting resolution 2318 (2016), the 15-member organ reiterated its demand for Sudan and South Sudan to urgently establish an Abyei Area Administration and Council, as well as a police service that would take over policing functions throughout the area, including the protection of oil infrastructure.
By the terms of the resolution, the Council underscored the critical need for the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to cooperate on Abyei. At the same time, it expressed renewed concern over delays and stalled efforts to fully operationalize a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism in the area, which UNISFA would support.
It urged renewed efforts to determine conclusively the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone centreline on the ground, reiterating that that line would in no way prejudice the legal status of the border, ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, and demarcation of the borders.
It also underscored that UNISFA’s protection-of-civilians mandate — as set out in resolution 1990 (2011) — included taking the necessary actions to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.
Through its resolution, the Council urged the two Governments to take immediate steps to implement confidence-building measures among Abyei Area communities. It strongly welcomed engagement between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, and strongly urged all Abyei communities to exercise maximum restraint and to desist from inflammatory acts or statements that might lead to violent clashes.
It went on to call upon Sudan and South Sudan to ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement of all UNISFA personnel and equipment. It demanded that both Governments facilitate the deployment of the United Nations Mine Action Service in Abyei. The Council also demanded that humanitarian personnel be given full, safe and unhindered access to civilians needing assistance.
After the vote, the representative of Sudan took the floor, saying that UNISFA’s efforts had resulted in improvement of the security situation in Abyei and better relations between the Missiriya and the Ngok-Dinka communities. He called upon the Government of South Sudan to positively engage with his Government to establish the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, the Joint Police and other institutions. Stating that Abyei was Sudanese territory under Sudanese sovereignty, he said that that situation could only be amended through a referendum agreed on by the two countries. Noting that South Sudan was still harbouring rebel groups that launched operations in his country, he called on the United Nations and the African Union to redouble their efforts to urge South Sudan to enable the work of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
The representative of South Sudan said cooperation between Sudan and his State was crucial to any constructive efforts in Abyei and hoped that recent improvement in relations between the two nations would develop into an even greater cooperation. The people of Abyei could not be abandoned in a vacuum of State responsibility, he said. Promotion and consolidation of peace, security and stability were the responsibilities of the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan. Despite limited resources and the current crises, his Government did what it could to assist the people of Abyei, he said, noting that Sudan had imposed restrictions on non-governmental organizations in the area. He asked the committee that investigated the killing of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief in May 2013 to make its report public.
The meeting began at 4:35 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2318 (2016) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and its presidential statements on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, and in particular, resolutions 1990 (2011), 2024 (2011), 2032 (2011), 2046 (2012), 2047 (2012), 2075 (2012), 2104 (2013), 2126 (2013), 2156 (2014), 2179 (2014), 2205 (2015), 2230 (2015), 2251 (2015) and 2287 (2016) as well as presidential statements S/PRST/2012/19 and S/PRST/2013/14, and the Council’s press statements of 18 June 2012, 21 September 2012, 28 September 2012, 6 May 2013, 14 June 2013, 14 February 2014, 17 March 2014, 11 December 2014 and 27 November 2015,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Sudan and South Sudan, and to the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and recalling the importance of the principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
“Reiterating that the territorial boundaries of States shall not be altered by force, and that any territorial disputes shall be settled exclusively by peaceful means, affirming the priority it attaches to the full and urgent implementation of all outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and underscoring that the future status of Abyei shall be resolved by negotiations between the parties in a manner consistent with the CPA and not by the unilateral actions of either party,
“Recalling the commitments made by the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan in the 20 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, the 29 June 2011 Agreement between the Government of the Sudan and the Government of South Sudan on Border Security and the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM), and the 30 July 2011 Agreement on the Border Monitoring Support Mission between the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as the 27 September 2012 Agreements on Cooperation and Security Arrangements, the JPSM’s 8 March 2013 decision, and the Implementation Matrix of 12 March 2013, reached by the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), as well as the extraordinary meeting of the JPSM on 13-14 October 2015 and the ordinary session of the JPSM on 5 June 2016,
“Recognizing some positive developments reported at the beginning of this year in relations between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan on border security, encouraging progress on improving bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and stressing the need for regular meetings of the JPSM and other joint mechanisms, including the Joint Border Commission and Joint Demarcation Committee, to enable dialogue and coordination on matters of border security,
“Urging the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to reinvigorate progress towards implementing the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area as set out in the 20 June 2011 Agreement,
“Expressing its full support for the efforts of the African Union on the situation between the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, in order to ease the current tension, facilitate the resumption of negotiations on post-secession relations and the normalization of their relations, recalling in this regard the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) communiqués of 24 April 2012, 24 October 2012, 25 January 2013, 7 May 2013, 29 July 2013, 23 September 2013, 26 October 2013, 12 November 2013, 12 September 2014, 31 July 2015, 25 August 2015 and 19 January 2016; the AUPSC press statements of 6 November 2013, 24 March 2015, and 10 December 2015; and the statement from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on 28 October 2013 and the 24 June 2015 and 14 October 2015 statements from the African Union Commission,
“Reaffirming its previous resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1894 (2009) 2175 (2014) and 2222 (2015) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict; 1612 (2005), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012), 2143 (2014) and 2223 (2015) on children and armed conflict; 1502 (2003) on the protection of humanitarian and United Nations personnel; and 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015) on women, peace and security,
“Stressing the need for effective human rights monitoring and reporting, including of any sexual and gender-based violence and violations and abuses committed against women and children, taking note that there have been no developments with regard to the operationalization of human rights monitoring in the Abyei Area, and reiterating its concern at the lack of cooperation by the parties with the Secretary-General to this end,
“Recalling that its resolution 2086 (2013) reiterates the importance, when establishing and renewing the mandates of United Nations Missions, of including provisions on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women in post-conflict situations and on children and armed conflict, and emphasizing that persistent barriers to full implementation of resolution 1325 (2000), and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security, including 2242 (2015), will only be dismantled through dedicated commitment to women’s empowerment, participation and human rights, and through concerted leadership, consistent information and action, and support, to build women’s engagement in all levels of decision-making,
“Acknowledging the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan’s acceptance at the 13-14 October 2015 JPSM meeting of the map presented by the AUHIP in November 2011 relating to the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ), their agreement that the centreline is only the location of the separation line between armed forces, as well as the parties’ agreement to activate all mechanisms relating to the JPSM as provided for in relevant agreements, and encouraging the parties to delineate or agree on the coordinates of, and demilitarize the SDBZ, including the “14 Mile Area”, and to fully implement the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), in accordance with Security Council resolution 2046 (2012) and the AUPSC Road Map of 24 April 2012, and underlining the importance of fully establishing and maintaining effective JBVMM monitoring of the SDBZ, including the “14 Mile Area”, and further urging the parties to cooperate in allowing the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to fulfil its responsibility to provide security for the JBVMM’s mission to monitor the SDBZ,
“Noting with concern the absence of local institutions to manage the Abyei Area and lack of progress in convening an Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) meeting since March 2015,
“Recognizing the importance of regular dialogue between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, recalling the United Nations Security Council decision in resolution 2046 (2012) that the parties must resume immediately negotiations to reach agreement on Abyei final status under the auspices of the AUHIP, calling upon all parties to engage constructively in the process mediated by the AUHIP towards final agreement on the final status of the Abyei Area, and stressing that the parties must immediately implement pending aspects of the 20 June 2011 Agreement, in particular to resolve the dispute over the Abyei Area Agreement, and to resolve the dispute over the Abyei Area Council, and immediately establish the Abyei Area Administration and Abyei Police Service,
“Stressing that both countries and communities will have much to gain if they show restraint and choose the path of dialogue instead of resorting to violence or provocations,
“Commending the continued assistance provided to the parties by the AUHIP, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, and UNISFA,
“Further commending the efforts of UNISFA in effectively carrying out its mandate, including by its ongoing facilitation of peaceful migration throughout the Abyei Area, conflict prevention, mediation and deterrence, and expressing its deep appreciation for the work of the troop-contributing countries, and strongly underscoring the unacceptability of any attack on United Nations personnel, including the 26 November 2015 attack that resulted in the death of a peacekeeper, and reiterating that such attacks should be swiftly and thoroughly investigated, and that those responsible should be held to account,
“Taking note of the security situation in the Abyei Area as characterized by the 12 October 2016 Secretary-General’s report (S/2016/864), and acknowledging UNISFA’s contribution to enhanced peace and stability since its deployment and expressing its determination to prevent the recurrence of violence against or displacements of civilians and to avert intercommunal conflict,
“Reiterating its deep concern regarding the public administration and rule of law vacuum in the Abyei Area, due to continued delays in the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and Council and Police, including a special unit to deal with particular issues related to nomadic migration, which are essential to maintain law and order and prevent intercommunal conflict in Abyei, and in this regard, welcoming UNISFA’s efforts to support and strengthen community protection committees, and to continue engaging with both governments on this issue,
“Noting with concern the continued delay in establishing the temporary institutions and resolving the final status of Abyei and that the continued threat of intercommunal violence contributes to heightened tensions in the Abyei Area, including those ongoing tensions that prevent UNISFA’s and other agencies’ Sudanese staff from returning to Abyei,
“Urging all parties to refrain from any unilateral action that could aggravate intercommunal relations within the Abyei Area, expressing concern over the continued implications of what the AUPSC described in their 6 November 2013 press statement as “the decision by the Ngok Dinka to conduct a unilateral referendum” and also in this context, taking note that the Government of Sudan proceeded with its April 2015 national elections in Abyei,
“Taking note of the information in the 15 April 2016 Secretary-General’s report (S/2016/353) regarding completion of earthwork excavation at the Diffra oil installation,
“Bearing in mind the current humanitarian situation in which humanitarian actors continue to provide assistance to 139,000 people in the Abyei Area and the importance of coherence of United Nations assistance in the region, and further stressing the urgency of facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all affected populations,
“Affirming the importance of voluntary, safe, dignified return and sustainable reintegration of displaced persons, and of peaceful and orderly migration cycles respecting the traditional migratory routes from Sudan to South Sudan through Abyei, and urging UNISFA to continue to take measures as necessary to ensure security in the Abyei Area in accordance with its mandate,
“Recalling its resolution 2117 (2013), and expressing grave concern at the threat to peace and security in Abyei arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, welcoming the completion of infrastructure, systems, and policy for weapons confiscation, storage and destruction, and calling on UNISFA to ensure adequate protection of this infrastructure,
“Expressing concern about the residual threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war in the Abyei Area, which hinders the safe return of displaced persons to their homes, safe migration, and livelihood activities,
“Taking note of the 12 October 2016 Secretary-General’s report (S/2016/864), including the Secretary-General’s call on the parties to renew efforts to address the issues that have remained unresolved, implement the 20 June 2011 Abyei Agreement, and ensure full and permanent withdrawal of all unauthorized forces from the Abyei Area,
“Recalling that the Security Council welcomed in resolution 2205 (2015) the decision of the Secretary-General to appoint a civilian head of mission,
“Recognizing that the current situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan continues to constitute a serious threat to international peace and security,
“1. Decides to extend until 15 May 2017 the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 1990 (2011) and modified by resolution 2024 (2011) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012), and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, further decides to extend until 15 May 2017 the tasks of UNISFA as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011), and determines that for the purposes of paragraph 1 of resolution 2024 (2011), support to the operational activities of the JBVMM shall include support to the Ad Hoc Committees, as appropriate when so requested by consensual decisions of these mechanisms, within UNISFA’s operational area and existing capabilities;
“2. Takes note of the stated intention by both sides to hold another AJOC meeting, regrets the meeting has not yet taken place, and urges the holding of more productive meetings to ensure steady progress on the implementation of previous AJOC decisions and the 20 June 2011 Agreement, recalls the need for African Union initiatives to support this goal and encourages its renewed engagement, and requests the Secretary-General to provide an assessment of progress on these issues in his regular reports;
“3. Underscores that continued cooperation between the Government of Sudan and Government of South Sudan is also critical for peace, security and stability and the future relations between them;
“4. Further reiterates its demand that Sudan and South Sudan urgently commence the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and Council, including by resolving the deadlock over the composition of the Council, and constitute the Abyei Police Service, to enable it to take over policing functions throughout the Abyei Area, including the protection of oil infrastructure, in accordance with their commitments in the 20 June 2011 Agreement;
“5. Expresses renewed concern regarding the delays and stalled efforts to fully operationalize the JBVMM, takes note of the Secretary-General’s benchmarks and recommendations regarding JBVMM operations, takes note that continued investment in achieving full operational capability of the JBVMM should be based on a set of conditions, including resolution of the dispute over the SDBZ, resumption of border demarcation discussions, occurrence of regular meetings of the JPSM, and granting of full freedom of movement, and calls on both parties to demonstrate full commitment to implementation of their border arrangements and take the necessary steps to this effect, including by follow up to the 5 June 2016 meeting and by swiftly holding a further meeting of the JPSM to take the operational decisions related to their agreement on the SDBZ;
“6. Decides to maintain the troops authorized by resolution 2104 (2013) already deployed, and that the remaining authorized forces continue to be deployed dependent on the evolution of the JBVMM, to enable UNISFA to provide required force protection to the JBVMM and to enable UNISFA to fully support the JBVMM to conduct extended operations into the SDBZ as soon as possible, and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council fully updated on the status of deployment as part of his regular reporting cycle;
“7. Calls upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to make timely and effective use of the JBVMM, JPSM and other agreed joint mechanisms to ensure the security and transparency of the SDBZ, including the “14 Mile Area”;
“8. Urges renewed efforts to determine conclusively the SDBZ centreline on the ground, and reiterates that the centreline of the SDBZ in no way prejudices the current or future legal status of the border, ongoing negotiations on the disputed and claimed areas, and demarcation of the borders;
“9. Underscores that UNISFA’s protection of civilians mandate as set out in paragraph 3 of resolution 1990 (2011) includes taking the necessary actions to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, irrespective of the source of such violence;
“10. Condemns the intermittent presence of South Sudan security service personnel and the deployment of Diffra Oil Police units in the Abyei Area, in violation of the 20 June 2011 Agreement, as well as any entry of armed militias into the territory, and reiterates its demands that immediately and without preconditions the Government of South Sudan fully redeploy its security service personnel from the Abyei Area and that the Government of Sudan redeploy the Oil Police in Diffra from the Abyei Area, and further reiterates, in accordance with relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1990 (2011) and resolution 2046 (2012), that the Abyei Area shall be demilitarized from any forces, as well as armed elements of the local communities, other than UNISFA and the Abyei Police Service;
“11. Supports the AJOC’s 3 May 2013 and 30 March 2015 decisions on Abyei’s status as a weapons-free area, underscores the AUPSC’s concern in its 7 May 2013 Communiqué over reports that various communities living in Abyei are heavily armed, recalls that the 20 June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area stipulates that Abyei should be a weapons-free area and that only UNISFA is authorized to carry weapons inside the area, and in this regard, urges the two Governments to take all necessary steps to ensure that Abyei is effectively demilitarized, including through disarmament programs as necessary;
“12. Reaffirms that UNISFA may undertake weapons confiscation and destruction in the Abyei Area as authorized under resolution 1990 (2011), consistent with its mandate and within its existing capabilities, in coordination with the signatories of the June 2011 Agreement on the Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, the AJOC, and the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities and consistent with the previous AJOC decision to establish the Area as a “weapons free area”, and reiterates its request that UNISFA, observe, document and report on the movement of weapons into Abyei and the presence, destruction and confiscation of weapons within Abyei as part of the Secretary-General’s regular reporting cycle;
“13. Requests UNISFA to continue its dialogue with the AJOC and with the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities on effective strategies and oversight mechanisms for ensuring full compliance by all relevant parties with Abyei’s status as a weapons-free area, with a particular priority placed on the urgent elimination of heavy or crew-served weapons, as well as rocket-propelled grenades, and calls upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, the AJOC, and the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities to extend full cooperation to UNISFA in this regard;
“14. Urges the two Governments immediately to take steps to implement confidence-building measures among the respective communities in the Abyei Area, including through reconciliation processes at the grass-roots level and supporting UNISFA in promoting community dialogue, strongly welcomes continued engagement between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, and strongly urges all Abyei communities to exercise maximum restraint in all their engagements and to desist from inflammatory acts or statements that may lead to violent clashes;
“15. Welcomes the positive developments at the grass-roots level between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, particularly their noted commitment to reconciliation and cooperation, as demonstrated by the resumption of trading activities and the monitoring of stolen property and livestock, including the prompt return of or provision of compensation for stolen property to victims of crime;
“16. Welcomes UNISFA initiatives, to support community dialogue and efforts by the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities to strengthen inter-communal relationships and facilitate stability and reconciliation in the Abyei Area, including the facilitation of joint peace committee meetings between both communities;
“17. Welcomes UNISFA’s continued efforts, within existing capabilities and resources, and in close coordination with the Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities, to strengthen the capacities of Community Protection Committees in order to assist with management of law and order processes in Abyei and to continue engaging with both governments on this issue;
“18. Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the findings and recommendations following the Abyei Area Joint Investigation and Inquiry Committee’s investigation into the killing of a UNISFA peacekeeper and the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, welcomes the 24 March 2015 AUPSC press statement requesting the AU Commission to engage the parties on the findings and recommendations, and reiterates the need to enable the two communities to find closure on the assassination of the Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief, bearing in mind the need to promote stability and reconciliation in the Abyei Area;
“19. Expresses its intention to review as appropriate the mandate of UNISFA for possible reconfiguration of the force in light of the compliance by Sudan and South Sudan with the decisions set forth in resolution 2046 (2012) and their commitments as set forth in the Agreements of 20 June, 29 June, 30 July 2011 and 27 September 2012, including the redeployment of all forces from the SDBZ, achieving full operational capability for the JVBMM, and the Ad Hoc Committees, as well as completing the full demilitarization of the Abyei Area;
“20. Calls upon all Member States, in particular Sudan and South Sudan, to ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement, to and from Abyei and throughout the SDBZ, of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles, aircraft, and spare parts, which are for the exclusive and official use of UNISFA;
“21. Renews its call upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to provide full support to the United Nations, including by promptly issuing visas to military, police and civilian United Nations personnel, including humanitarian personnel, without prejudice to their nationality, for entry into Sudan and South Sudan, facilitating basing arrangements, infrastructure construction in the Mission Area and flight clearances, and providing logistical support, calls upon the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to facilitate travel from within Sudan and South Sudan to and from Abyei, and further calls upon all parties to fully adhere to their obligations under the Status of Forces Agreements;
“22. Recognizes that the absence of development projects and the inability to deliver basic government services has had an adverse effect on Abyei populations and calls upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as donors to support reconstruction and capacity-building;
“23. Demands that the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan continue to facilitate the deployment of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to ensure JBVMM freedom of movement, as well as the identification and clearance of mines in the Abyei Area and SDBZ;
“24. Further demands that all parties involved allow all humanitarian personnel full, safe and unhindered access to civilians in need of assistance and all necessary facilities for their operations, in accordance with international law, including applicable international humanitarian law, and United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance;
“25. Strongly urges that all parties cease all forms of violence, human rights violations and abuses, violations of international humanitarian law, and violations and abuses against children in violation of applicable international law;
“26. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that effective human rights monitoring is carried out, and the results included in his reports to the Council, and reiterates its call upon the Government of Sudan and the Government of South Sudan to extend their full cooperation to the Secretary-General to this end, including by issuing visas to the concerned United Nations personnel;
“27. Recalls resolution 2272 (2016) and further requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance of UNISFA with the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council fully informed through his regular country-specific reports to the Council about UNISFA’s progress in this regard, including with respect to the implementation of resolution 2272 (2016);
“28. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to inform the Council of progress in implementing UNISFA’s mandate in one written report, no later than 15 April 2017, and continue to bring to the Council’s immediate attention any serious violations of the above-referenced Agreements;
“29. Requests the Secretary-General to conduct a strategic review of UNISFA, comprising an in-depth examination into the related resources and structure of its uniformed and civilian components, and further requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the results of this review no later than 1 April 2017, including findings and recommendations for how UNISFA should be optimally configured and streamlined as appropriate, based on a rigorous evidence-based assessment of the impact of UNISFA activities towards the implementation of its mandate in resolution 2287 (2016);
“30. Notes the Secretary-General’s efforts to ensure close cooperation among United Nations missions in the region, including UNISFA, the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as his Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and requests that he continue this practice;
“31. Decides to remain actively seized of this matter.”
* The 7809th Meeting was closed.