On 5 February, the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee held its first meeting at which four members of the Panel of Experts were introduced. Although the committee was established in September 2017, it took Council members four months to negotiate its guidelines.
On 6 February, the Council held its first open debate on working methods since mid-2016. Kuwait, which assumed the chairmanship of the Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions on 1 January, stated in the concept note prepared for the debate, that by organising the open debate it wanted “to afford all Member States the opportunity to provide practical proposals that contribute to enhancing the efficiency of the working methods … thus enabling the Council to better fulfil its obligations in maintaining international peace and security” (S/2018/66). Security Council Report’s Executive Director Ian Martin briefed the Council. In addition to all Council members, representatives of 42 member states took the floor (S/PV.8175).
On 7 February, Zahir Tanin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMIK briefed the Council (S/PV.8176) on the latest report on UNMIK (S/2018/76). Tanin expressed concerns about the attempts of the Kosovo parliament to repeal the law on the special court that is supposed to investigate the crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1990 war in Kosovo. He also called on all parties to work together to ensure accountability for the assassination of Kosovo-Serb politician Oliver Ivanović. Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dačić and Vlora Çitaku, Kosovo’s ambassador to the US, also spoke.
On 8 February, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s strategic-level report on the threat emanating from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh) (S/2018/80), followed by consultations (S/PV.8178). The director of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Yevgeniy Sergeyevich Sysoyev, briefed the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on 12 February. The Chair of the CTC also participated. On 13 February, the Chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), briefed the Council on the implementation of resolution 2341 concerning critical infrastructure (S/PV.8180). On 22 February, Igor Sirotkin, the Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, head of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee Central Office, and Deputy Chairman briefed the CTC, the 1267/1989/2253 Committee, and the Afghanistan Sanctions Committee in a joint meeting. The CTC held a meeting afterwards, where the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization Kunio Mikuriya and a representatives of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate briefed the committee.
On 13 February, the Council formally approved the terms of reference for the investigative team to support Iraq’s domestic efforts to hold ISIL accountable as mandated by resolution 2379. On 20 February, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMI Ján Kubiš briefed the Council (S/PV.8184) on the latest report on UNAMI (S/2018/42) and on recent developments. Kubiš’s briefing focused on the Iraqi donor conference hosted by Kuwait, preparations for parliamentary elections, and relations between Baghdad and Erbil among other topics.
On 13 February, the Council was briefed by High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (via video teleconference) and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča (S/PV.8179). This was followed by consultations where, in addition to Grandi and Jenča, representatives from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and OCHA were present to answer questions. The meeting was held at the request of eight members of the Council: Equatorial Guinea, France, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US. Grandi warned that a major new emergency was looming as the monsoon season could bring with it flooding or landslides that could affect areas where some of the refugees were living in Bangladesh. He also said that the lack of humanitarian access was a major concern. Jenča expressed concern over whether the humanitarian needs of the refugees were being met and stressed that humanitarian access should be immediately granted. Jenča also covered developments in Kachin and northern Shan States and how they affected ongoing peace negotiations. A number of Council members highlighted the need for humanitarian access and stressed the need for the safe return of refugees. In addition, there were calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Committee.
On 14 February, Special Representative and head of UNIOGBIS Modibo Touré briefed the Council via video teleconference from Bissau (S/PV.8182). His briefing included updating Council members on the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to impose sanctions on 19 individuals for obstructing implementation of the Conakry Agreement. Ambassador Mauro Vieira (Brazil), chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission also briefed. Consultations were canceled and all 15 members made public remarks. On 21 February, Council members issued a press statement, stating their support of ECOWAS’s efforts to resolve the ongoing political and institutional crisis in Guinea-Bissau and taking note of its 4 February 2018 decision to impose sanctions (SC/13218). On 28 February, the Council adopted resolution 2404, extending the mandate of UNIOGBIS for an additional year.
On 14 February, Council members received a briefing via video teleconference under “any other business” from Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov on the situation in Gaza, requested by Bolivia and Kuwait. On 20 February, the Security Council held its monthly meeting under the agenda item, “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (S/PV.8183). Mladenov briefed the Council, following opening remarks from UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also addressed the Council. On 22 February, Kuwait, Bolivia, France and Sweden hosted an Arria-formula meeting entitled, “Prospects for the two-State solution for peace”. A statement was delivered on behalf of former US President Jimmy Carter by Ambassador Richard Murphy, followed by briefings by former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, former Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees Karen AbuZayd, and Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.
On 21 February, there was a ministerial-level briefing on the “purposes and principles of the UN Charter in the maintenance of international peace and security” (S/PV.8185). Secretary-General António Guterres and former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed, and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah presided.
Central African Republic
On 22 February, the Council was briefed on CAR by Special Representative to the CAR and head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Anyanga; the chair of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoué (Côte d’Ivoire); the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission CAR configuration Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco); the Special Representative of the AU to the CAR, Bédializoun Moussa Nebie (via video teleconference); and the Director General of the EU Military Staff, Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen (S/PV.8187). Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita participated in the consultations that followed the briefing. On 27 February, Council members released a press statement, deploring attacks against civilians and incitement to ethnic and religious hatred and violence. They also reaffirmed their support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR as the main framework for a political solution (SC/13226). The 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee amended identifying information regarding an individual on its sanctions list on 16 February (SC/13212). The committee was briefed by the Panel of Experts assisting it in informal consultations on 23 February.
On 26 February, the Council adopted resolution 2402, extending the Yemen sanctions regime. At the adoption, members first voted on a draft resolution prepared by the UK, which Russia vetoed, objecting to references to the Yemen Panel of Experts’ findings that Iran was in non-compliance with the arms embargo. Eleven members voted in favour, China and Kazakhstan abstained with Bolivia also voting against (S/2018/156). Council members then unanimously approved a draft resolution Russia had presented that was based on last year’s resolution 2342, with technical amendments to extend the sanctions measures for a further year. The next day, 27 February, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed briefed the Council (S/PV.8191). This was Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s final briefing as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen. The Director of Operations for OCHA John Ging also briefed, as did Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), as the chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee. Consultations followed the public session.
On 26 February, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, briefed the Council (S/PV.8189) on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2018/89). The chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Burundi Configuration, Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland) also briefed the Council. After the briefing, the Council held consultations.