June 2013 Monthly Forecast for UNSC

Posted by on Oct 27, 2013 | Leave a Comment

Council Dynamics
Though there appears to be a great deal of appetite on the Council for downgrading Iraq’s remaining obligations from Chapter VII to Chapter VI, most Council members are sensitive to Kuwait’s position on the matter and are waiting for explicit communication from Kuwait that it is ready to see Iraq exit Chapter VII. Kuwait has agreed in principle that Iraq could be released from its current Chapter VII obligations, but requires assurances that Iraqi progress on its obligations will continue.

The question of the mandate of the High-Level Coordinator, left unresolved in December, remains closely linked to the question of progress on Iraq’s obligations. Several Council members are quite interested in seeing that mandate folded into UNAMI, as the mission, with offices in Kuwait and Iraq, is perhaps best positioned to effectively monitor Iraq-Kuwait issues. Even so, other Council members, especially Russia, appear to be sensitive to Kuwait’s concern that as part of UNAMI, Iraq-Kuwait issues would lack the visibility they currently enjoy, effectively arresting the momentum built up in recent months.

Council members appear to be waiting for the Secretary-General’s recommendations in his June report or a clear signal from Kuwait on this issue. However, certain Council members appear worried by the precedent that might be set by allowing the Secretary-General to decide the fate of a mandate originally established by the Council.

The US is the penholder on Iraq issues in general, and the UK is the penholder on Iraq-Kuwait issues.

Expected Council Action
Council members expect to receive a briefing in consultations in June from the Department of Political Affairs on the 35th report of the Secretary-General on Iraq’s compliance with resolution 1284 (1999) regarding the repatriation or return of Kuwaiti and third country nationals or their remains and the return of Kuwaiti property, including archives that had been seized by Iraq. At press time it was unclear who specifically would brief the Council, as the funding for the High-Level Coordinator on Iraq-Kuwait issues (who previously briefed on this subject) was allowed to lapse on 31 December 2012 and no successor mechanism has yet been developed. It was also unclear whether the Council would adopt any outcome addressing such a mechanism.

The Council has several options on Iraq-Kuwait issues and the mandate of the former High-Level Coordinator in June. It could:

  • take no action, leaving the Coordinator’s mandate within the purview of the Secretariat;
  • resurrect the High-Level Coordinator position, or a similar interim position, via a press or presidential statement; or
  • fold the Coordinator’s mandate into the mandate of UNAMI.

Aside from the mandate of the High-Level Coordinator, the Council could also adopt a press statement acknowledging Iraq’s progress on its Chapter VII obligations (especially those related to the demarcation of the border, stemming from resolutions 833 and 899) or adopt a resolution formally transferring Iraq’s outstanding obligations from Chapter VII to Chapter VI (this option remains quite unlikely).

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