Daily Archives: November 14, 2017

Secretary‑General’s Special Representative Hails Kosovo Local Election Turnout While Citing Intimidation, in Briefing to Security Council

Russian Federation Says Pristina Could Stoke Ethno‑Religious Conflict, as United States Declares UNMIK Mandate Fulfilled

Kosovo’s peaceful and orderly municipal elections on 19 October had seen a significant increase in participation by ethnic Serbs in areas where they formed the majority, the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations mission there told the Security Council today.

Briefing the Council as he presented the Secretary‑General’s latest quarterly report on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (document S/2017/911), Zahir Tanin said more than 7,000 candidates had competed across Kosovo.  However, campaigns had been affected by restricted competition and intimidation in Serb‑majority municipalities.

Recalling that 40 new judges and 13 new state prosecutors from the Serb community had been sworn into office on 24 October, he said they would work as part of a unitary Kosovo justice system.  The parties were to be commended for moving that initiative forward because the judicial sector’s implementation measures lagged behind others, such as police integration and technical steps in the telecommunications and utilities spheres.

The European Union‑facilitated Belgrade‑Pristina dialogue in Brussels remained crucial, he continued, adding that informal consultations with the regional bloc’s facilitators had taken place over several months.  In accordance with its mandate, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to support implementation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.  However, some actors sought to re‑politicize the issue through public rhetoric, he said.  Much work was needed to address pressing issues including the need for economic and employment opportunities, as well as countering public corruption and fighting organized criminality.

Mr. Tanin said the new government was already taking steps to work in a multi‑ethnic partnership, adding that region‑wide initiatives were in place to remove political interference in the delivery of justice and the rule of law.  There were also initiatives to engage women in the political process, promote the role of young people in peace and security, and resolve the many cases of persons still missing from the war.  He also recognized the immense challenges of ensuring freedom of cultural and religious identity, and struggling against extreme and closed‑minded views, saying they threatened not just the region, but the world.

Ivici Dačić, Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the fact that 200,000 internally displaced persons forced to flee Kosovo and Metohija still lived in Serbia after 18 years was a powerful argument that UNMIK’s scope must not be changed.  The report should have given due attention, in a separate section, to violations of human rights and freedoms among returnees to the south of Kosovo and Metohija, he said, adding that UNMIK must create optimal conditions for returnees, including the restitution of property rights.  Emphasizing the importance of preserving Serb cultural, historical and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija, he said the rule of law must be protected, arguing that, with legal frameworks now in place, he expected that those who had committed crimes against Serbs would be indicted and tried.

Serbia was firmly committed to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, facilitated by the European Union, he said, adding that his country had demonstrated great resolve to find compromise solutions.  Regrettably, the other side had not reciprocated Serbia’s efforts.  Underlining that his Government disapproved of Kosovo’s move to establish the Kosovo armed force, as did the international community, he said that initiative risked destabilizing the regional security situation.  He pointed out that a large number of countries, including some that had recognized Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence, had denounced its efforts to apply for membership in international organizations.  Serbia thanked those States that did not recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, he added.

Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo noted that every three months, the Council’s valuable time was taken up by theatre staged purely for domestic consumption, suggesting that Kosovo’s status somehow had not been settled.  Kosovo was free and independent, she asserted, adding that it was fair to ask for redefinition of UNMIK’s mandate to match reality on the ground.  The Council maintained a mission that reinvented its mandate without any real need, she said, emphasizing that what should be discussed was the Mission’s downsizing and withdrawal.

She went on to say that quite soon, Kosovo, in coordination with its partners, would gain its place in all relevant international bodies.  The Kosovo army was a modern, defensive force reflecting Kosovo’s desire to join the Euro‑Atlantic family.  She reaffirmed that Kosovo remained strongly committed to dialogue with Serbia, and that, in accordance with its constitution, it would implement all agreements reached in Brussels.

In the ensuing discussion, the Russian Federation’s representative said that persistent problems in Kosovo required oversight by the international community.  Disagreeing with the optimistic assessments advanced by Ms. Çitaku, he noted that the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo had ceased to function, work on substantive issues was not under way and the prospects for reviving dialogue were not within sight.  The establishment of a “government in Kosovo” illustrated the degree to which the situation had deteriorated and the extent to which radicalization had taken hold.  That only confirmed that Kosovo was not a fully‑fledged State, he said, cautioning that instead, it served to stoke tensions that might cause ethno-religious conflict in the Balkans.

The representative of the United States congratulated Kosovo on having formed a new government following a democratic process in June, and on its local elections in October.  She said UNMIK had fulfilled its mandate and had no doubt helped Kosovo to build multi‑ethnic democratic institutions that would uphold the rule of law.  It was now time to transition the Mission and direct United Nations resources to more critical issues, she said.  The reporting and briefing period should change from three to six months or even longer, she added, emphasizing that the United States continued to support full international recognition of Kosovo and its membership in all relevant international organizations, including the United Nations and INTERPOL.

Representatives of Japan, France, Sweden, Uruguay, Senegal, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, China, Bolivia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Italy also delivered statements.

The meeting began at 11:14 a.m. and ended at 1:19 p.m.

Briefings

ZAHIR TANIN, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said that municipal elections were conducted throughout Kosovo on 19 October.  Those were the second Kosovo‑wide local elections since the 19 April 2013 agreement of principles between Belgrade and Pristina.  More than 7,000 candidates competed across Kosovo.  A significant increase in Serb participation occurred in Serb‑majority municipalities.  The European Union deployed around 100 observers across Kosovo on election day, while the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE) facilitated voting in the northern municipalities.  Both organizations praised the generally peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections.  However, European Union observers stressed that, in Kosovo Serb‑majority municipalities, the campaign was affected by restricted competition and intimidation.

On 24 October, 40 new judges and 13 new state prosecutors from the Serb community were sworn into office in Kosovo, a significant step in the implementation of the first European Union‑facilitated agreement, he said.  Those judicial officials would work as part of a unitary Kosovo justice system, with support from all the international presences in the province, including UNMIK.  The parties were to be commended for moving that forward.  The judicial area had lagged behind other implementation achievements, such as police integration and implementation of technical steps in the telecommunications and utilities spheres.

Considerable headway had been made, and the European Union facilitated dialogue in Brussels remained crucial, he said.  Alongside that, the Berlin Process, addressing the future enlargement potential of the European Union, had also progressed.  In relation to the Belgrade‑Pristina dialogue, which had suffered from a long hiatus, both sides were aware of its importance.  Informal consultations with Union facilitators had taken place over several months, most importantly with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

In accordance with its mandate, UNMIK continued to do everything within its power to support the implementation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement, which UNMIK signed on behalf of Kosovo in 2006, he noted.  In practice, Pristina representatives working on Central European Free Trade Agreement issues attended all its meetings.  Participation by UNMIK was always in accordance with legal statutes.  Despite those facts, some actors had sought to re‑politicize, through public rhetoric, those practical arrangements.  While dialogue and other diplomatic initiatives could provide a new basis for peacemaking, work was needed to address pressing issues in Pristina.  The much‑needed provision of economic and employment opportunities, the need to counter public corruption and ensure public accountability at all levels, and to fight against organized criminality, were all crucial objectives.

The new government was already taking steps to work in a multi-ethnic partnership, he said.  There were region‑wide initiatives in place to remove political interference in the delivery of justice and the rule of law.  There were also initiatives to engage women in the political process, promote the role of youth in peace and security, and resolve the cases of many persons still missing from the war.  He also recognized the immense challenges of ensuring the freedom of cultural and religious identity, and the fight against extreme and close-minded views, which were a threat to not just the region but the world.

IVICA DAČIĆ, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, said the fact that, after 18 years, 200,000 internally displaced persons forced to flee Kosovo and Metohija were still living in his country was a powerful argument that UNMIK’s scope must not be changed.  Statistics in the Secretary‑General’s report regarding internally displaced persons did not reflect the magnitude of the problem, he said, citing institutional discrimination of Serbs as well as arbitrary arrests on made‑up charges.  The report should have given due attention, in a separate section, to violations of human rights and freedoms among returnees to the south of Kosovo and Metohija.  UNMIK must strengthen its capacity in that regard and create optimal conditions for returnees, including the restitution of property rights.

No progress had been made following a decision by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo in May regarding the Visoki Dečani monastery and surrounding property, he said, emphasizing the importance of preserving Serbian cultural, historical and religious heritage in the province.  The rule of law must be protected, he said, adding that with legal frameworks now in place, Serbia expected those who had committed crimes against Serbs to be indicted and tried.

Serbia was firmly committed to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, facilitated by the European Union, he said.  Despite many challenges, Serbia had demonstrated great resolve to find compromise solutions that were not always easy to come by.  There was no alternative to such an approach, but regrettably, Serbian efforts to find acceptable solutions had not been reciprocated by the other side, he said, calling on the authorities in Pristina to show goodwill and facilitate the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities.

He went on to call on Council members and Pristina representatives to focus on substantive issues in the quest for a lasting and sustainable solution for Kosovo and Metohija.  He emphasized Serbia’s disapproval, and that of the international community, over the establishment of a Kosovo armed force, which risked destabilizing the regional security situation.  He added that a large number of countries, including some which had recognized Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence, had denounced Pristina’s efforts to apply for membership in international organizations.  Pristina should be discouraged from pursuing such efforts and to focus instead on goodwill dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.  Concluding, he thanked those States which did not recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo.

VLORA ÇITAKU, of Kosovo, said that she thought that the Security Council Chamber was not being shown the respect it deserved.  Every three months, its valuable time was taken up by a theatre staged purely for domestic consumption.  It intended somehow to artificially inflict the idea that Kosovo’s status was not settled, that it was something close to a war zone, where minorities were expelled and prosecuted.  That idea was offensive towards Kosovo’s people as well as to the United Nations and its agencies that had put so much effort in place to revive it in the immediate aftermath of the war of 1999.

Kosovo was free and independent, she said.  Regardless of the difficulties, the aspiration to make Kosovo an equal member of the family of free nations of the world would never be given up.  It was fair to ask for the mandate of UNMIK to be redefined to match the reality on the ground.  It was not a peacekeeping mission, as Kosovo was at peace.  It was not an administrative mission, as Kosovo had its own institutions.  The Council kept a Mission that reinvented its mandate without any real need.  What should be discussed was a downsizing and withdrawing of UNMIK.

The new government with Ramush Haradinaj as prime minister was voted in on 9 September, she said.  It was important to note that, according to international observers, both electoral processes met the highest of international standards, except for a few Serbian majority areas, where the local population was subjected to pressure and intimidation to vote a certain way.  Often, Belgrade officials conducted those intimidations.  The only Government that exercised pressure and intimidation towards the local Serbian population was the one sitting in Belgrade.

Between 2008‑2017, the Kosovo government had spent more than €51 million for the repatriation and reintegration of the minority communities in Kosovo, she continued.  To date, the accurate number of Serbs living in Kosovo was unknown.  When Kosovo organized the census in 2011, the Government of Serbia unleashed an aggressive campaign to discourage the participation of the Serbian community, she said.  The smear campaign went as far as labelling registration in the census as an act of betrayal.  It was not about numbers.  Even if one Kosovo Serb could not return, that was one too many.

If a victory was declared by Kosovo’s neighbour because it was not able to join INTERPOL in 2017, that was irresponsible, she said.  The challenges faced by Kosovo and the rest of the world were borderless, and could only be won if information was shared.  Quite soon, Kosovo, in coordination with its partners, would get its place in all relevant international bodies.  Meanwhile, in Kosovo on 13 November, five members of the non‑majority communities, namely Serbs, were graded in higher official ranks of the Kosovo Security Force.  That Force was in the service of all the citizens of Kosovo in every corner of it, she said.  Its army was just the same, and was a modern, defensive military that reflected Kosovo’s desire to join the Euro‑Atlantic family.  Kosovo remained committed to dialogue with Serbia, and she reaffirmed that, in line with its constitution, all agreements reached in Brussels would be implemented.

Statements

YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) highlighted the importance of adapting to the realities on the ground in Kosovo, pointing out that local elections there had been peaceful and the risk of violence in the region was now far lower than others on the Security Council’s agenda.  While UNMIK had been an undeniable success for the Council, a review of the Mission was required to determine which of its functions and mandates might be redundant and consider a reduction of personnel.  In addition, briefings would be required less frequently.  Critical issues remained, including the reconciliation between Albanian and Serb communities.  His country hoped that, with the assistance of the European Union, the two sides would normalize relations soon under democratic governance.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France), emphasizing that her country was a staunch supporter of Kosovo, hailed the appointment of the new government and commended reforms envisaged by its prime minister.  France was convinced that Kosovo’s future lied primarily in the outcome of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina under European Union auspices.  Both sides must show goodwill and engage with each other at the highest level, she said, describing as positive recent meetings between Pristina leadership and the President of Serbia alongside the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.  She added that efforts to anchor the rule of law in Kosovo, as well as the fight against radicalization, must remain a priority.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said there were persistent problems in the province that required oversight by the international community.  He disagreed with the optimistic assessments put forward by Ms. Çitaku, which were nice, touching and rosy assessments.  He noted her concern about the time constraints of the Security Council, but said she should not be concerned by those as there were still issues to be discussed.  The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina had ceased to function, he said.  Work on substantive issues was not underway and prospects for a revival of dialogue were not within sight.  The establishment of a “government” in Kosovo illustrated the degree to which the situation had deteriorated, as well as the degree to which the province had been radicalized.  That only confirmed that Kosovo was not a fully-fledged State, but served to stoke tensions that might cause ethno‑religious conflicts in the Balkans.  There was a dearth of progress between Belgrade and Pristina, he said.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said that while the first round of municipal and mayoral elections in October were genuinely competitive and peaceful in most parts of Kosovo, cases of threatening behaviour and intimidation in some Serb‑majority municipalities were regrettable.  “The future of both Serbia and Kosovo lies within the European Union,” he stated, stressing that normalized relations between the Belgrade and Pristina was essential.  In that regard, he called on political leaders in the region to refrain from provocative actions and statements.  Also, the status issue must hamper neither Kosovo’s European perspective nor its membership in international organizations.  The resumption of dialogue facilitated by the Union would provide an important contribution to normalization, he noted, adding that Pristina and Belgrade must now intensify efforts to implement their respective parts of agreements reached.  Parallel structures in Serb‑majority areas must be dismantled and the Association of Serb Municipalities must be established in a way that strengthened links between Kosovo‑Serb citizens and the Pristina government, increasing public trust in dialogue.

LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) emphasized the need for political dialogue and a constructive approach that would identify solutions favouring regional progress and stability.  Resolving outstanding disagreements between Belgrade and Pristina through European Union facilitation was crucial, he said, calling for the resumption of full dialogue between both as well as full compliance with agreements already entered into.  To do otherwise would stoke a lack of trust and confidence between neighbours, he said, adding that post-conflict reconciliation efforts to address the plight of the internally displaced were essential.  He also emphasized that families of those who had disappeared had a right to truth and justice.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said recent elections in Kosovo and the establishment of a new government, thus ending months of political impasse, marked considerable progress.  He encouraged Kosovo political activists to maintain a peaceful dialogue and for Serb authorities to step up their commitment.  Dialogue between the two parties under European Union auspices should be pursued by the two sides in a constructive spirit.  He added that the question of disappeared persons must remain a priority, and welcomed UNMIK initiatives to promote reconciliation, transitional justice, human rights and the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that she congratulated Kosovo’s formulation of a new government following a democratic process in June, as well as its local elections in October.  She urged those leaders to use their mandates wisely.  She appreciated the European Union’s contributions as the facilitator of the Brussels dialogue.  UNMIK had fulfilled its mandate in Kosovo and there was no doubt it had helped it build multi‑ethnic democratic institutions that upheld the rule of law.  It was now time to transition the Mission and direct United Nations resources to more critical issues.  The reporting and briefing period should change from three months to six months or even longer.  She continued to support full international recognition of Kosovo and its membership in all relevant organizations, including the United Nations and INTERPOL.

DAVID CLAY (United Kingdom) said that it had been three months since the Security Council had last met on the issue, and it had been a quiet period that did not warrant the 15‑member organ’s attention.  Since the Council had last met, there had been the formation of a new government in Kosovo.  The United Kingdom remained committed to working with Kosovo to fight organized crime and strengthen the rule of law.  Legacy issues including sexual violence and missing persons should also be addressed, and the United Kingdom would support that effort.  Over the past quarter there had been free and fair municipal elections across the majority of Kosovo, but there was concern over the intimidation that occurred in Serb majority areas.  That had no place in Kosovo or any country striving to join the European Union.  Brussels was the forum for the future for Kosovo, not the Security Council.  He welcomed the Mission’s years of service in Kosovo, but said that the United Nations should recognize that its operating environment had changed.  There should be a full transition, and other organizations should assume UNMIK roles.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said his country was encouraged by a renewed commitment on both sides to undertake a new phase of dialogue to normalize their relations.  Despite progress in implementing judicial agreement, critical gaps remained, he said, noting the lack of progress in such areas as the establishment of a Community of Serb Municipalities.  Ethiopia hoped that the new leadership in Belgrade and Pristina would continue to engage in dialogue and maintain momentum in a positive spirt.  That would require both sides to refrain from actions and statements that would cause ethnic discord and undermine trust and confidence.  Expressing support for the work of UNMIK in line with resolution 1244 (1999), he said Ethiopia hoped that the Mission would continue to promote political dialogue while strengthening reconciliation and security.  He went on to recognize the significant role of the European Union and the valuable contribution of the Kosovo Force (KFOR).

ZHANG DIANBIN (China), noting that the security situation in the Kosovo region was relatively stable, welcomed high-level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.  China hoped that the relevant parties would put the well-being of people first and refrain from actions and rhetoric that might escalate the situation.  Emphasizing that resolution 1244 (1999) provided a legal foundation for resolving the Kosovo situation, he said China respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, understood its legitimate concerns vis‑à‑vis Kosovo and commended its efforts to strive for a political settlement.  He conveyed his country’s support for UNMIK and hoped that the Mission, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and KFOR would work together to improve the situation on the ground, leading to an early settlement.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said that he reiterated his support for resolution 1244 (1999) that affirmed full respect for the Republic of Serbia.  All parties to that should abide by it, he said.  He urged them to work within that framework and show willingness to join dialogue.  Provisions should be drawn up regarding Serbian municipalities to ensure that their human rights in Kosovo were upheld.  He hailed the efforts of the European Union, and said that the dialogue it facilitated was a favourable setting to foster mutual trust between the parties.  He also hailed the President of Serbia for creating an internal dialogue.  UNMIK should continue to build trust between the parties, to promote political dialogue and respect for human rights.  Those responsible for war crimes should be held accountable for their acts, as the victims deserved justice.

EDUARD FESKO (Ukraine) said that discussions should be resumed on what the role of UNMIK should be, as well as what actions were needed by the Security Council to advance political dialogue and achieve reconciliation and trust among communities.  He supported the idea of extending the reporting period to six months or longer, and the options for downsizing the Mission’s structure, size and tasks should be considered.  The present challenges could be met within the European Union integration process with the active involvement of EULEX, KFOR and OSCE.  It was the right time to conduct a review of UNMIK and provide the Council with practical options on how to improve its efficiency.  He welcomed the latest statements by Mr. Vučić on the commencement of a new phase in the internal dialogue, the outcome of which would define the relations between Serbia and Kosovo.  He hoped that step would be translated into actions that would lead to the complete normalization of relations.

KANAT TUMYSH (Kazakhstan) said he supported efforts of UNMIK and welcomed its facilitating role in the promotion of dialogue between the parties.  He commended the leadership of the European Union, which hosted the two parties in Brussels and in the margins of the General Assembly in September.  Both sides had agreed to implement the judiciary agreement.  He had also seen constructive efforts to put into force exiting measures between Belgrade and Pristina.  He welcomed the recent decision to institutionalize the dialogue process with the inclusion of Governments, civil society, media and other organizations.  To succeed, it should convince the local population of Kosovo to accept the outcomes.  Residents, he said, needed to know that dialogue was the only way to bring human rights and solve problems of organized crime and to bring education, health care and other entitlements.  The situation in Kosovo still needed the attention of the Security Council, as there was still a lack of intercommunity trust and a large number of persons still missing.

IHAB MOUSTAFA AWAD MOUSTAFA (Egypt) said high‑level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, with European facilitation, was the most suitable way to resolve all pending issues in a peaceful manner.  Egypt called for immediate and full implementation of the judicial agreement that emerged from the 31 August consultations in Brussels as well as other agreements concluded between 2013 and 2015.  Noting that his country had consistently called for eschewing incendiary and hateful rhetoric, he said both parties must show the utmost restraint and avoid unilateral initiatives that could heighten tensions.  The broad participation of Kosovo Serbs in the recent elections was a source of optimism, he said, emphasizing the importance of Belgrade and Pristina surmounting their divisions to find consensus-based, fair and lasting solutions.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, said that normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina remained crucial.  Italy called upon both parties to take advantage of a window of opportunity to steadily move towards that objective.  He welcomed the formation of a new government in Pristina, emphasizing that it must intensify efforts on much‑needed reforms.  Rule of law and the fight against corruption should remain high on its agenda.  He praised the work of UNMIK and EULEX and confirmed Italy’s participation in KFOR, adding that his country looked forward to the Secretary‑General’s recommendations on the Mission’s future configuration in the context of broader peacekeeping reform.

Extending Arms Embargoes on Somalia, Eritrea, Security Council Adopts Resolution 2385 (2017) by 11 votes in Favour, 4 Abstentions

Key Representatives Disagree on Text’s Effectiveness with Sanctions, Compliance

The Security Council today extended the modified arms embargo on Somalia and the authorization for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports until 15 November 2018, as well as the renewal of the arms ban on Eritrea for that same period.

Adopting resolution 2385 (2017) by a vote of 11 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Egypt, Russian Federation), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2018.

Extending the humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions and reiterating that the arms embargo on Somalia did not apply to deliveries of military goods for the federal security forces, the resolution restated the need to keep such weapons out of the hands of other parties through application of strict guidelines by the Government and its partners.  It again urged increased cooperation by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in registering all military equipment captured.

Expressing concern that the Al‑Shabaab terrorist group continued to derive revenues from charcoal as well as from natural resources in Somalia, the Council renewed the ban on the import and export of charcoal into or out of the country, and requested that AMISOM and Member States help the Federal authorities implement a total ban.

In addition, the Council requested the Monitoring Group to continue to investigate the export to Somalia of chemicals that might be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, with a view to considering further action.  It called on Members States and the Government to cooperate in that effort.

The Council also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption involving members of the Federal Government Administration and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.

While recognizing that for over four mandates the Monitoring Group had not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab, the Council expressed concern regarding reports of Eritrean support for certain armed groups and again urged the Government to facilitate the Monitoring Group’s entry into that country, which had so far been denied.

The Council, however, welcomed recent efforts by Eritrea’s Government to engage with the international community, underlining that deepened cooperation would enable a better‑informed review of measures on the country.  It also urged Eritrea and Djibouti to seek out all available peaceful solutions to their border dispute and engage constructively on the issue of Djiboutian combatants missing in action.

Following the vote, Council members who had abstained voiced their regret that proposals for changing the text to reflect the lack of evidence of support by Eritrea to Al‑Shabaab had not been accepted.  They also noted the complex security situation of the region in regard to the many non‑State groups, stressing that sanctions were a means to an end and must be temporary when imposed.  They must also change with developments on the ground.

Underscoring that stance, Egypt’s representative also expressed his regret that proposals for a roadmap for Eritrea’s cooperation with the international community had not been included in the text.

China’s representative, highlighting that the text had further room for improvement in regards to sanctions, emphasized the need to prioritize the building of friendly relations among neighbouring States in the Horn of Africa.

However, the representative of the United Kingdom and other supporters of the text recounted ways in which the resolution further strengthened the regime and emphasized the role of the arms embargo and other measures in consolidating stability in Somalia.

Supporters of the text also welcomed the fact that no evidence had been found that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab and that there had been some engagement between Eritrea and the international community.  At the same time, representatives voiced regret that the country had not allowed the Monitoring Group to enter and fulfil its mandate.

The representative of Italy, Council President for November, described the efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft.  He urged Eritrea to respond to the doors being opened for it to restore ties with the international community.

Ethiopia’s representative, meanwhile, said he saw no change in behaviour by Eritrea that would justify lifting sanctions, but noted that he looked forward to improved relations with his country’s neighbour.

Djibouti’s representative, describing lack of progress in resolving the issue of prisoners and other matters, said the Council had sent a clear political signal that Eritrea had only itself to blame for the renewal of sanctions.  The resolution offered Eritrea a reasonable pathway to improved relations.

However, Osman Saleh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the Council had missed another opportunity to rectify transgressions against his people, citing the lack of evidence for support of Al‑Shabaab and one‑sided sanctions over the dispute with Djibouti, as well as the Council’s silence on Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territory.  He argued that sanctions had worsened conflict in the Horn of Africa by rewarding aggression.

Somalia’s representative broadly welcomed the resolution, particularly the steps being taken to fully implement the charcoal trading ban.  Al‑Shabaab remained Somalia’s most pressing threat and security issues remained a top priority for the Government.  In that effort, greater international assistance was needed for the Somali National Army and a more robust AMISOM force.  Still, he noted his regret that the text had not further aligned the embargo with his country’s national security architecture.

He also noted he had hoped that the text be more explicit in the need to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  As well, he said he wished that the Council had adopted recommendations to curb the use of chemicals used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, particularly in light of the 14 October bomb attack in which 330 people were killed.  Nonetheless, he pledged the Government’s enhanced efforts to increase compliance with the sanctions regime.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Sweden, United States, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, France and Senegal.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:10 a.m.

Statements

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), welcoming the adoption of the draft, said the text not only provided continued support for the consolidation of progress in Somalia, through measures already established, but added new measures that strengthened the regime further.  Turning to Eritrea, he welcomed the mediation process, but stressed that the effort must be reciprocated.  The route that Eritrea must take for that purpose was further cooperation which would allow the Monitoring Group to fulfil its mandate and clarify all outstanding issues.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), acknowledging the work of the Monitoring Group and thanking all those who voted for the text, said that the sanctions regime was critical for the peace and security of the region as well as for the whole of Africa.  He noted that he was appreciative of the adoption not because he was fond of sanctions but because there were no good alternatives in a region that vulnerable to instability and terrorism.  Necessary support must be provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as to the Somali federal forces.  As for Eritrea, no change of behaviour had been seen in its destabilizing activities.  The lack of conclusive evidence was no reason to lift the sanctions.  The issue could be clarified by allowing in the Monitoring Group.  It was also incumbent on Eritrea to clarify the issue of prisoners of war and fulfilment of other obligations.  The country had not shown any readiness to cooperate further in order to lift the sanctions.  Nonetheless, he underscored that he looked forward with great hope to Eritrea’s living in peace with the other countries of the region.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said he would have preferred more of a review regarding the sanctions on Eritrea, given the lack of conclusive evidence for that country’s support for Al‑Shabaab.  Stamping out the threat of non‑State actors was a common concern of all the countries in the region, he said, adding that his abstention was in line with his general position on sanctions as temporary measures to which the Council should engage only as a last resort.  Such measures could not be carried on forever and must be regularly reviewed as the situation on the ground evolved.  His proposals along that line had not been taken into account.  He emphasized that it was critical to end financing of terrorism in the region.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation), recalling why the sanctions had been imposed, said that the situation on the ground had shifted.  There was a lack of evidence for Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  The issue of non‑State armed groups was a complex one in the regime.  Some of those groups had a presence in capitals of some of the countries sitting around the table.  The text this year had not improved, but had worsened.  A road map for Eritrean cooperation had not been included at all.  A selective approach had instead been utilized by the penholders.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), expressing deep regret that the Council had failed to reach consensus on the resolution, said the sanctions regime in Somalia played a critical role in supporting the international efforts to defeat Al‑Shabaab.  There was a long road ahead for the country, with many important tasks remaining.  The international community and the Somali people must stay the course.  Turning to Eritrea, he said the Council must continuously assess whether measures adopted were achieving their objectives.  Sanctions were not an end in themselves, he said, adding that Eritrea must cooperate with the Committee and the Monitoring Group to confirm that it was not supporting Al‑Shabaab.  That would enable the Council to review the sanctions regime.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that renewing the mandate of the Monitoring Group signalled further support for stability in the region.  However, while engagement between the international community and Eritrea was welcomed, she expressed disappointment that the Monitoring Group had not been allowed into the country to fulfil its mandate, given many unanswered questions.  Welcoming progress in Somalia, she stressed that the Government must now work to make life better for the Somali people.  Good governance was essential in that effort, as was the continued fight against Al‑Shabaab and Al‑Qaida.  Voicing her commitment to Somalia, she joined Council members in sending a strong message of such support by the adoption of today’s text.

WU HAITAO (China), expressing strong support for the peace and stability of the countries in the Horn of Africa, called on them to work together for that purpose.  He stressed that sanctions were a means, rather than an end in themselves and should be adjusted according to the situation on the ground.  As the text this year had further room for improvement in that regard, he had abstained, he noted, emphasizing the importance of friendly neighbourly relations between States.

LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) observed that in Somalia, the sanctions regime was curbing the flow of arms to Al‑Shabaab.  The Government of Eritrea must allow the Monitoring Group to visit the country, he added, noting that it had found no evidence for Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  If that visit were allowed, then the Council could remove the country from the sanctions list.  The Council must now consider other methods to address the conflicts in Africa.  Sanctions were a tool, not an end in themselves.  While the text did not disassociate the sanctions regimes, he had nevertheless decided to support the resolution, he said.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009), said terrorist organizations were continuing their activities.  Therefore, peacebuilding efforts should be redoubled.  Somalia needed every support from the Sanctions Committee.  While welcoming progress made in Somalia, he stressed that all measures must be taken to prevent attacks against humanitarian actors and allow those actors unhindered access.  He also noted that the Monitoring Group had not found conclusive evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  Turning to the matter of Djibouti prisoners of war in Eritrea, he called on both sides to continue to resolve the issues, maintain calm and resolve the border dispute peacefully.  Sanctions were a last resource, he said, stressing that as Chair of the Sanctions Committee he was committed to working in an open and constructive manner to solve the problems.  He called on all States to implement the measures suggested in the resolution.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), expressing support for the Monitoring Group, said he had abstained from voting, because sanctions were not an end in themselves, but were a tool of last resort.  They must be constantly assessed.  Confidence‑building measures must be the actions of all Member States.  Eritrea must allow the Monitoring Group to visit as a matter of transparency, he said, calling on that country to act in the interest of the region.  He also called on Member States to support the African Union’s efforts.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France), extending condolences to the people of Somalia for the recent attacks in Mogadishu, welcomed the adoption of the resolution in the interest of the security of the region.  In regards to Eritrea, a balanced, realistic approach was needed.  Although it was true that there had been no evidence found of the country supporting Al‑Shabaab, she noted that Eritrea had not reciprocated gestures of cooperation made by the international community and had not allowed the Monitoring Group to visit.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal), welcoming the resolution’s adoption, said that the ongoing concerns listed in the text reflected the challenges that continued to face Somalia.  He voiced support for recent agreements for a regional approach to security and measures in the resolution that targeted resources which sustained Al‑Shabaab.  Eritrea’s restoration of links with the international community was important, he added, noting the continued lack of evidence of that country’s support for Al‑Shabaab.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), Council President for November, highlighted his country’s historic ties with the region and welcomed the text’s adoption, describing efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft.  The conditions on the ground had been monitored closely in that regard.  In light of the lack of evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab, he called for that country to further cooperate with the Monitoring Group and the international community and to take advantage of the overtures offered to it.  He agreed, finally, that sanctions were not an end in themselves, but a means to ending destabilizing situations.

ABUKAR DAHIR OSMAN (Somalia), conveying his broad support for the resolution, welcomed steps taken to fully implement the charcoal trading ban.  Al‑Shabaab remained Somalia’s most pressing threat and security sector reform and a robust disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme remained the Government’s main priority.  Reform would only be achieved, however, through greater international assistance to Somalia’s security sector, including a strengthening of the Somali National Army and a more robust AMISOM force.

He emphasized that the resolution did not specifically spotlight the impact of the Gulf crisis on Somalia, be it from a political disintegration perspective or otherwise.  He also said he had hoped that the text be more explicit in the need to respect the country’s political independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity.  Furthermore, he said he wished that the Council had adopted recommendations to curb the use of chemicals used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, particularly in light of the 14 October bomb attack in which 330 people were killed.  In addition, the arms embargo framework — in effect, with modifications, for more than 20 years — must be closely aligned with Somalia’s national security architecture.  The Monitoring Group had provided the Council with recommendations in that regard, but they continued to be ignored, he said.

He acknowledged that his Government must do more to fully comply with the partial lift requirements, including improvements to weapons management and command and control systems.  Over the next year, it would work on enhancing compliance.  In that regard, he asked the Council to consider developing clearly defined benchmarks leading to the full lifting of the arms embargo, as well as updating the arms embargo framework to reflect Somalia’s national security architecture.  He went on to express great concern that the Government of Eritrea had not accounted for 13 remaining Djiboutian prisoners of war held incommunicado in Eritrean prisons.  He urged Eritrea to release them immediately, comply with Council resolutions and negotiate in good faith to resolve the border dispute with Djibouti.

OSMAN SALEH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the Council had missed another opportunity to rectify its transgression against the people of Eritrea.  For five years, the Monitoring Group had asserted that there was no evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab in Somalia.  As for Djibouti, he said it was unprecedented for the Council to sanction one party, especially when the dispute was under a mutually agreed mediation.  The skewed manner in which the Council had been handling the dispute continued to breed a sense of “no obligation on the Government of Djibouti and to pursue a policy of provocation aimed at stirring tension, when, in fact, the border between the two countries remains calm,” he stated.  Moreover, the Council had chosen to remain silent on Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories for 15 years.

He said that Eritrea had done no wrong.  It had not violated Council resolutions.  Yet, the sanctions were being kept with the mere purpose of targeting Eritrea.  The emphasis by some Council members about alleged support to armed groups was an unacceptable double standard.  The Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region remained volatile and fragile.  It was critical to examine whether the sanctions against Eritrea were abating conflicts or fuelling them.  He concluded that the sanctions had worsened the situation by rewarding an aggressor.  He called on the Council to redress the wrong in the interests of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the subregion.

MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) said Al‑Shabaab continued to pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region.  He expressed serious concern that for five mandates in a row, the Monitoring Group had not been permitted to visit Eritrea.  It was obvious that if the monitoring missions were prevented by Eritrea from carrying out their mandate, they could not draw any conclusion about that country’s behaviour.  Furthermore, almost ten years ago, Eritrea had moved into his country’s territory.  It had occupied Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island, had taken prisoners of war, and had refused to provide a list of names of all the prisoners.  Eritrea had recruited and armed groups to destabilize the region and incite violence and civil strife in Djibouti.  The Monitoring Group’s report offered compelling evidence of Eritrea’s attempt to exacerbate the conflict by fomenting armed rebellion against the Government of Djibouti.

He went on to say that, following the end of Qatar’s mediation efforts, Eritrea had moved its military personnel to the occupied areas.  Now that the unresolved border dispute was no longer subject to third party mediation, the Council must urge both countries to accept the peaceful settlement of the border dispute in conformity with Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.  Djibouti would agree to submit the dispute for final and binding determination under the International Court of Justice or an international arbitral tribunal.  He also said that 13 remaining prisoners of war were unaccounted for.  Eritrea’s self‑serving claims to have released all prisoners of war had no credibility.  By renewing the sanctions, the Council had sent a clear political signal that Eritrea had only itself to blame.  The resolution, however, offered Eritrea a reasonable pathway, noting that Eritrea was legally obligated to comply with Council resolutions.

Resolution

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions and statements of its President on the situation in Somalia and Eritrea, in particular resolutions 733 (1992), 1844 (2008), 1907 (2009), 2036 (2012), 2023 (2011), 2093 (2013), 2111 (2013), 2124 (2013), 2125 (2013), 2142 (2014), 2182 (2014), 2244 (2015) and 2317 (2016),

Taking note of the final reports of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (the SEMG) on Somalia (S/2017/924) and Eritrea (S/2017/925) and their conclusions on the situations in both Somalia and Eritrea,

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea respectively, and underscoring the importance of working to prevent destabilising effects of regional crises and disputes from spilling over into Somalia,

Condemning any flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, including when they undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, and to Eritrea in violation of the arms embargo on Eritrea, as a serious threat to peace and stability in the region,

Expressing concern that Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and the region, and expressing concern at the emergence of, and growing threat of, affiliates of ISIL (also known as Da’esh),

Reaffirming the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including applicable international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,

Welcoming the further improved relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Federal Member States (FMS), and the SEMG, and underlining the importance of these relationships improving further and strengthening in the future,

Welcoming the FGS and FMS’s political agreement reached on 16 April 2017 on a National Security Architecture to integrate regional and federal forces, the Security Pact, agreed at the London Conference and looking forward to the Security Conference to be held in Mogadishu in December 2017,

Welcoming the efforts of the FGS to improve its notifications to the Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea (“the Committee”), urging further progress in the future, particularly in relation to post-delivery notifications, and recalling that improved arms and ammunition management in Somalia is a fundamental component of greater peace and stability for the region,

Taking note of the efforts of the FGS to restore key economic and financial institutions, increase domestic revenue and implement financial governance and structural reforms; welcoming the passing of a landmark telecommunications bill together with progress on the anti-corruption bill; and highlighting the importance of continual progress in these areas,

Underlining the importance of financial propriety in contributing to stability and prosperity and stressing the need for a zero tolerance approach to corruption to promote transparency and increase mutual accountability in Somalia,

Expressing serious concern at reports of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in waters where Somalia has jurisdiction, underlining the importance of refraining from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, welcoming further reporting on the matter, and encouraging the FGS, with the support of the international community, to ensure that fishing licenses are issued in a responsible manner and in line with the appropriate Somali legal framework,

Expressing serious concern at the ongoing difficulties in delivering humanitarian aid in Somalia, and condemning in the strongest terms any party obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as the misappropriation or diversion of any humanitarian funds or supplies,

Recalling that the FGS has the primary responsibility to protect its population, and recognizing the FGS’ responsibility, working with the FMS to build the capacity of its own national security forces, as a matter of priority,

Taking note of the three meetings between the representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, expressing concern that the SEMG has not been able to visit Eritrea since 2011 and fully discharge its mandate, and underlining that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council fully assess Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions,

Expressing concern over reports by the SEMG of ongoing Eritrean support for certain regional armed groups, and encouraging the SEMG to provide further detailed reporting and evidence on support for armed groups in the region,

Welcoming the release of four prisoners of war by Eritrea in March 2016, expressing concern at ongoing reports of Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes in 2008, calling on Eritrea and Djibouti to continue to engage in resolving the issues of combatants, and urging Eritrea to share any further available detailed information pertaining to the combatants, including to the SEMG,

Welcoming the restraint shown by both Eritrea and Djibouti with regard to the situation on their shared border following the withdrawal of Qatari forces, recalling the African Union’s deployment of a fact finding mission to the Djibouti border following the withdrawal of Qatari forces, noting that the fact-finding mission visited Djibouti and is yet to visit Asmara, and welcoming the call by the Assembly of the African Union in July 2017 to encourage the Chairperson of the Commission, with the necessary support of the two countries, to pursue efforts towards normalization of relations and good neighbourhood between Djibouti and Eritrea,

Underlining the importance it attaches to all Member States complying with the terms of the arms embargo imposed on Eritrea by resolution 1907 (2009),

Determining that the situation in Somalia, as well as the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

Arms embargo

“1.   Reaffirms the arms embargo on Somalia, imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and further elaborated upon in paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1425 (2002) and modified by paragraphs 33 to 38 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraphs 4 to 17 of resolution 2111 (2013), paragraph 14 of resolution 2125 (2013), paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014), and paragraph 2 of resolution 2244 (2015), and paragraph 2 of resolution 2317 (2016) (hereafter referred to as “the arms embargo on Somalia”);

“2.   Decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) until 15 November 2018, and in that context reiterates that the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply to deliveries of weapons, ammunition or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces, to provide security for the Somali people, except in relation to deliveries of the items set out in the annex of resolution 2111 (2013);

“3.   Reaffirms that the entry into Somali ports for temporary visits of vessels carrying arms and related materiel for defensive purposes does not amount to a delivery of such items in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, provided that such items remain at all times aboard such vessels;

“4.   Reiterates that weapons or military equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by, any individual or entity not in the service of the Somali National Security Forces, and underlines the responsibility of the FGS to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of their stockpiles;

“5.   Welcomes in this regard the initial improvements by the FGS, of a more rigorous weapons registration, recording and marking procedure, expresses concern at reports of continued weapons diversion from within the FGS and FMS, encourages further improvements, notes that further improved weapons management is vital in order to prevent the diversion of weapons, and reiterates that the Security Council is committed to monitoring and assessing improvements in order to review the arms embargo when all conditions as set out in Security Council resolutions are met;

“6.   Welcomes the efforts of the FGS to develop detailed Standard Operating Procedures for weapons and ammunition management including an issue and receipt system to track all weapons post distribution, and urges the FGS to finalize and implement these procedures as soon as possible;

“7.   Further welcomes the efforts of the FGS in establishing the Joint Verification Team (JVT) and urges Member States to support improved weapons and ammunition management to improve the capacity of the FGS to manage weapons and ammunition;

“8.   Welcomes the improvement in FGS reporting to the Security Council pursuant to paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015), calls on the FGS and FMS to implement the National Security Architecture, and the Security Pact, agreed at the London Conference on Somalia which set out to provide Somali-led security and protection to the people of Somalia, and requests the FGS to report to the Security Council in accordance with paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015) on the structure, composition, strength and disposition of its Security Forces, including the status of regional and militia forces by 30 March 2018 and then by 30 September 2018;

“9.   Recalls that the FGS has the primary responsibility to notify the Committee, pursuant to paragraphs 3 to 8 of resolution 2142 (2014), welcomes the efforts of the FGS in improving its notifications to the Committee;

“10.  Calls upon the FGS to improve the timeliness and content of notifications regarding the completion of deliveries, as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2142 (2014) and the destination unit upon distribution of imported arms and ammunition, as set out by paragraph 7 of resolution 2142 (2014);

“11.  Stresses Member States’ obligations pursuant to the notification procedures set out in paragraph 11 (a) of resolution 2111 (2013), underlines the need for Member States to strictly follow the notification procedures for providing assistance to develop Somali security sector institutions, and encourages Member States to consider the Implementation Assistance Notice of 14 March 2016 as a guide;

“12.  Recalls paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) and notes that support for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may include, inter alia, building infrastructure and provision of salaries and stipends solely provided to the Somali National Security Forces;

“13.  Urges increased cooperation by Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2182 (2014), to document and register all military equipment captured as part of offensive operations or in the course of carrying out their mandates, involving other Somali National Security Forces as appropriate;

“14.  Calls upon the FGS and FMS to enhance civilian oversight of its Security Forces, to adopt and implement appropriate vetting procedures of all defence and security personnel, including human rights vetting, in particular through investigation and prosecuting individuals responsible for violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, and in this context recalls the importance of the Secretary-General’s Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy in relation to the support provided by the United Nations to the Somali National Army;

“15.  Requests the SEMG to continue its investigations related to the export to Somalia of chemicals that may be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, such as the precursors ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate and sodium chlorate with a view to considering further action, and calls on Members States and the FGS to cooperate with the SEMG in this regard;

“16.  Underlines the importance of timely and predictable payment of salaries to the Somali security forces and calls on the FGS to implement systems to improve the timeliness and accountability of payments and supply of provisions to the Somali security forces;

“17.  Recalls the need to build the capacities of the Somali National Security Forces, in particular the provision of equipment, training and mentoring, in order to develop credible, professional and representative security forces to enable the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and encourages further donor support and coordination as set out in the Security Pact;

“18.  Recalls OP16 and OP17 of resolution 1907 (2009) and recognises that during the course of its current and three previous mandates the SEMG has not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supports Al-Shabaab;

“19.  Further reaffirms the arms embargo on Eritrea imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 of resolution 1907 (2009) (hereafter referred to as ‘the arms embargo on Eritrea’);

Threats to peace and security

“20.  Expresses concern at the continued reports of corruption and diversion of public resources which pose a risk to State-building efforts, expresses serious concern at reports of financial impropriety involving members of the FGS, FMS and Federal Parliament, which pose a risk to State-building efforts, and in this context underlines that individuals engaged in acts which threaten the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia may be listed for targeted measures;

“21.  Welcomes the efforts which the FGS has made in order to improve its financial management procedures including continued engagement between the FGS and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), encourages the FGS and FMS to maintain the pace of reform and continue the implementation of IMF-recommended reforms to support the continuation of a Staff Monitored Programme and increased transparency, accountability, comprehensiveness and predictability in revenue collection and budget allocations, and expresses concern at the generation and distribution of counterfeit Somali currency;

“22.  Recognises that addressing outstanding constitutional issues around power and resource sharing between the FGS and FMS is crucial for Somalia’s stability, emphasises the importance of Somali leadership to address these issues in an inclusive manner, with the FGS and the FMS working constructively together, and encourages the FGS and FMS to implement the outstanding elements of the National Security Architecture agreement, including decisions around the make-up, distribution and command and control of the security forces and resource-sharing;

“23.  Reaffirms Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources;

“24.  Reiterates its serious concern that the petroleum sector in Somalia could be a driver for increased conflict, and in that context underlines the vital importance of the FGS putting in place, without undue delay, resource-sharing arrangements and credible legal framework to ensure that the petroleum sector in Somalia does not become a source of increased tension;

“25.  Expresses serious concern at Al-Shabaab’s increasing reliance on revenue from natural resources including the taxing of illicit sugar trade, agricultural production, and livestock and further expresses its concern at the group’s involvement in the illicit charcoal trade, and looks forward to further SEMG reporting on this issue;

Charcoal ban

“26.  Reaffirms the ban on the import and export of Somali charcoal, as set out in paragraph 22 of resolution 2036 (2012) (“the charcoal ban”), welcomes efforts of Member States to prevent the import of charcoal of Somali origin, reiterates that the FGS and FMS shall take the necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal from Somalia, and urges Member States to continue their efforts to ensure full implementation of the ban;

“27.  Reiterates its requests in paragraph 18 of resolution 2111 (2013), that AMISOM support and assist the FGS and FMS in implementing the total ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia and calls upon AMISOM to facilitate regular access for the SEMG to charcoal exporting ports;

“28.  Welcomes the efforts of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in their efforts to disrupt the export and import of charcoal to and from Somalia, and further welcomes the cooperation between the SEMG and CMF in keeping the Committee informed on the charcoal trade;

“29.  Expresses concern that the charcoal trade provides significant funding for Al-Shabaab, and in that context reiterates paragraphs 11 to 21 of resolution 2182 (2014), and further decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014) until 15 November 2018;

“30.  Condemns the ongoing export of charcoal from Somalia, in violation of the total ban on the export of charcoal, calls on Members States to share information with the SEMG, requests the SEMG to focus on this in their next report, and propose further measures, taking account of human rights concerns, and expresses its intention to consider further measures if violations continue;

“31.  Encourages the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue its work, with the FGS, within its current mandate, under the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime to bring together relevant Member States and international organizations to develop strategies to disrupt the trade in Somali charcoal;

Humanitarian access

“32.  Expresses serious concern at the acute humanitarian situation in Somalia and the risk of famine, welcomes efforts by the United Nations, the international community and the FGS to avert famine, condemns in the strongest terms increased attacks against humanitarian actors and any misuse of donor assistance and the obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid, reiterates its demand that all parties allow and facilitate full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of aid to persons in need across Somalia and encourages the FGS to improve the regulatory environment for aid donors;

“33.  Decides that until 15 November 2018 and without prejudice to humanitarian assistance programmes conducted elsewhere, the measures imposed by paragraph 3 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners including bilaterally or multilaterally funded non-governmental organizations participating in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia;

“34.  Requests the Emergency Relief Coordinator to report to the Security Council by 15 October 2018 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and on any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, and requests relevant United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly and their implementing partners that provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia to increase their cooperation and willingness to share information with the United Nations;

Eritrea

“35.  Welcomes the SEMG’s ongoing and significant efforts to engage with the Government of Eritrea, in that context recalls the three meetings between the Representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, reiterates its expectation that the Government of Eritrea will facilitate the entry of the SEMG to Eritrea, to discharge fully its mandate, in line with its repeated requests, including in paragraph 52 of resolution 2182 (2014);

“36.  Welcomes recent efforts by the Government of Eritrea to engage with the international community, underlines that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council be better informed about Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions and enable a review of measures on Eritrea;

“37.  Urges the Government of Eritrea to facilitate visits by the SEMG to Eritrea, acknowledges the willingness as expressed by the Government of Eritrea to facilitate a visit by the Chair and urges the Government to agree a date as soon as possible;

“38.  Calls on Eritrea to cooperate fully with the SEMG, in accordance with the SEMG’s mandate contained in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013);

“39.  Urges Eritrea and Djibouti to engage on the issue of the Djiboutian combatants missing in action and urges Eritrea to make available any further detailed information including to the SEMG;

“40.  Urges the two parties to continue to maintain an atmosphere of calm and restraint and calls on them to seek all available solutions to settle their border dispute peacefully in a manner consistent with international law;

“41.  Expresses its intention to keep under regular review measures on Eritrea, in light of the upcoming midterm update by the SEMG due by 30 April 2018, taking into account relevant Security Council resolutions, and paragraphs 35 to 40 above;

Somalia

“42.  Recalls resolution 1844 (2008) which imposed targeted sanctions and resolutions 2002 (2011) and 2093 (2013) which expanded the listing criteria, and notes one of the listing criteria under resolution 1844 (2008) is engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia;

“43.  Reiterates its willingness to adopt targeted measures against individuals and entities on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria;

“44.  Recalls paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 2060 (2012) and emphasises that certain misappropriation of financial resources is a criterion for designation and applies to misappropriation at all levels;

“45.  Reiterates its request for Member States to assist the SEMG in their investigations, reiterates that obstructing the investigations or work of the SEMG is a criterion for listing under paragraph 15 (e) of resolution 1907 (2009) and further requests the FGS, FMS and AMISOM to share information with the SEMG regarding Al-Shabaab activities;

“46.  Decides to extend until 15 December 2018 the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea SEMG as set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013), and expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate action regarding the further extension no later than 15 November 2018;

“47.  Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the SEMG, in consultation with the Committee, until 15 December 2018, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the SEMG established pursuant to previous resolutions, and further requests that administrative support to the SEMG be adjusted, within existing resources, to facilitate the delivery of their mandate;

“48.  Requests the SEMG to provide monthly updates to the Committee, and a comprehensive midterm update, as well as to submit, for the Security Council’s consideration, through the Committee, two final reports; one focusing on Somalia, the other on Eritrea by 15 October 2018, covering all the tasks set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014);

“49.  Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in consultation with the SEMG and other relevant United Nations entities to consider the recommendations contained in the reports of the SEMG and recommend to the Security Council ways to improve the implementation of and compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, the measures regarding the import and export of charcoal from Somalia, as well as implementation of the measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolutions 1844 (2008) and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) in response to continuing violations;

“50.  Requests the Committee to consider, where and when appropriate, visits to selected countries by the Chair and/or Committee members to enhance the full and effective implementation of the measures above, with a view to encouraging States to comply fully with this resolution;

“51.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Artificially cooling the planet could have devastating effects

GeoengineeringArtificially cooling the planet could have devastating effects

Published 14 November 2017

Geoengineering — the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming by injecting aerosols artificially into the atmosphere — has been mooted as a potential way to deal with climate change.Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on global regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought, new research has shown.

Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on global regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought, new research has shown.

Geoengineering — the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming by injecting aerosols artificially into the atmosphere — has been mooted as a potential way to deal with climate change.

However new research led by climate experts from the University of Exeter suggests that targeting geoengineering in one hemisphere could have a severely detrimental impact for the other.

Exeter says that they suggest that while injections of aerosols in the northern hemisphere would reduce tropical cyclone activity — responsible for such recent phenomena including Hurricane Katrina — it would at the same time lead to increased likelihood for drought in the Sahel, the area of sub-Saharan Africa just south of the Sahara desert.

In response, the team of researchers have called on policymakers worldwide to strictly regulate any large scale unilateral geoengineering programs in the future to prevent inducing natural disasters in different parts of the world.

The study is published in Nature Communications on 14 November 2017.

Dr. Anthony Jones, A climate science expert from the University of Exeter and lead author on the paper said: “Our results confirm that regional solar geoengineering is a highly risky strategy which could simultaneously benefit one region to the detriment of another. It is vital that policymakers take solar geoengineering seriously and act swiftly to install effective regulation.”

The innovative research centers on the impact solar geoengineering methods that inject aerosols into the atmosphere may have on the frequency of tropical cyclones.

The controversial approach, known as stratospheric aerosol injection, is designed to effectively cool the Earth’s surface by reflecting some sunlight before it reaches the surface. The proposals mimic the aftermath of volcanic eruptions, when aerosols are naturally injected into the atmosphere.

In the study, the researchers use sophisticated simulations with a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean model to investigate the effect of hemispheric stratospheric aerosol injection on North Atlantic tropical cyclone frequency.

They find injections of aerosols in the northern hemisphere would decrease North Atlantic tropical cyclone frequency, while injections contained to the southern hemisphere may potentially enhance it.

Crucially, the team warn however that while tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic could be suppressed by northern hemisphere injections, this would, at the same time, induce droughts in the Sahel.

These results suggest the uncertain effects of solar geoengineering — a proposed approach to counteract global warming — which should be considered by policymakers.

Professor Jim Haywood, from the Mathematics department at the University of Exeter and co-author of the study added: “This research shows how a global temperature target such as 1.5 or 2C needs to be combined with information on a more regional scale to properly assess the full range of climate impacts.”

— Read more in Anthony C. Jones et al., “Impacts of hemispheric solar geoengineering on tropical cyclone frequency,” Nature Communications8 Article number: 1382 (14 November 2017) (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01606-0)

Written question – Money laundering and tax evasion in any part of the world where EU-based organisations are involved – E-006752/2017

The EU is South Africa’s most important development and trade partner. The Commission is probably aware of the recent scandal involving the South African President Jacob Zuma and companies owned by the Gupta family. In this scandal, there have been a number of recent developments in the field of money laundering and tax evasion.

The Commission’s most recent proposal for a revision of the anti-money laundering directive clearly states, that before concluding trade, association and partnerships agreements with third countries, the EU should take into consideration a clear reference on the effectiveness of those countries’ anti-money laundering systems.

Given recent developments, can the Commission guarantee it will take up this matter at the next political meeting with the South African authorities held within the framework of the EU-Southern African Economic Partnership?

Written question – Plant health checks on citrus fruit imports from southern Africa in European ports – E-006778/2017

Valencian ports have traditionally been the main points of entry for citrus fruit into Europe and still receive citrus imports arriving from Argentina and Uruguay. However, citrus fruit arriving from southern Africa does not pass through Valencia’s ports. According to Europhyt data, 53 326 tonnes of the fruit arrived into Europe in June, the first month in the year of citrus imports from southern Africa; of this, 42 979 tonnes (around 80%) came in via the Netherlands. This month, no cases of Thaumatotibia leucotreta have been registered in the Netherlands. However, there have been five reported instances of this pest in France, despite the country’s much lower level of imports. All this fuels suspicions that plant health checks in the Netherlands are insufficiently rigorous.

Is the Commission confident that all citrus fruit sold in Europe from southern Africa has undergone strict plant health checks?

Do citrus fruit imports from southern Africa go through the same health checks as products from Valencia?