Security Council SC/6987

2000 Round-up 12 January 2001


Adopts Resolution on HIV/AIDS, Responds to Brahimi Report, Holds Debates on Women and Security, Children in Armed Conflict

Developments in Africa and renewed violence in the Middle East were among the major issues dealt with by the Security Council in 2000, as it pursued its mandate of securing, establishing and maintaining global peace and security. Also dominant on the Council s agenda this year, as in 1999, was the situation of Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and East Timor.

The Council in the past year continued to demonstrate its willingness to hold open debates on a variety of subjects, including women and peacekeeping and children in armed conflict. Also of note was the Council s unprecedented adoption of a resolution on a health issue – HIV/AIDS – and its action related to the Brahimi Report on United Nations peace operations.

The African continent demanded considerable attention from the Council during the year. January was referred to as the “month of Africa”, with special interest paid during the month to Africa-related issues. Issues addressed in terms of threats to international peace and security included HIV/AIDS, arms, illicit trafficking in diamonds, intra- and inter-State conflicts, refugees and internally displaced persons.

Much of the Council’s deliberations on Africa were focused on two countries – Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also devoted a number of meetings to the border conflict in Ethiopia and Eritrea, establishing the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) on 31 July.

The Council met three times to discuss the situation in the Middle East, from 3 to 5 October, after violence erupted following a visit to Al-Haram

Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September by Ariel Sharon, leader of Israel’s Likud Party. More than 40 speakers addressed the Council.

Following the debate, on 7 October the Council adopted resolution 1322 (2000) by 14 votes in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (United States). By the text, it deplored the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, and subsequent violence there and throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, which had resulted in more than 80 Palestinian deaths.

The year 2000 also saw the solidification of the presence of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), under the leadership of

Bernard Kouchner, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. Despite continued ethnic violence and problems related to the return of refugees, the change in Government in Belgrade and the successful holding of municipal elections in Kosovo were among many positive developments.

In East Timor, despite setbacks during 2000, including continued militia-led violence, the deaths of United Nations peacekeepers and humanitarian workers and severe flooding that caused considerable death and displacement in refugee camps, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Transitional Administrator, was able to report to the Council on 28 November that the security situation was stable and that the Territory was well advanced on the transition to independence.

On 24 and 25 October, the Council held a two-day open meeting to consider the issue of women and peace and security. During the discussion, an overwhelming number of speakers stressed the need to include women in every aspect of peace-building initiatives, specifically calling for their involvement in decision-making processes.

Speaking at a 26 July debate on the subject of children and armed conflict, Olara Otunnu, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the issue, said the international community must do a lot more to provide education to war-affected children and to meet the special needs of the girl child and adolescents in the midst and aftermath of conflict. Over the past two years, a number of concrete commitments had been made concerning the protection of children. The challenge now was to ensure adherence.

On 17 July, the Council adopted resolution 1308 (2000), the first of its kind, urging Member States to consider voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counselling for troops to be deployed in peacekeeping operations. It also expressed concern at the potentially damaging impact of HIV/AIDS on the health of international peacekeeping personnel, including support personnel.

Welcoming the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, the “Brahimi Report”, and the report of the Secretary-General on its implementation, the Security Council – through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1327 (2000)– resolved on 13 November to give peacekeeping operations clear, credible and achievable mandates. The Panel, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi of Algeria, issued its report on 21 August, and the Council established a working group to review the report s recommendations on 3 October.

Also during the year, the Council held open meetings on the situations in Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Israel/Lebanon, Israel/Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, Georgia, Tajikistan, Haiti, Cyprus, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Meetings were also held on:the International Criminal Tribunals; conflict prevention; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants; exit strategies for peacekeeping operations; humanitarian aspects of issues before the Council; violence against humanitarian personnel; protection of civilians in conflict; terrorism; and United Nations sanctions.

During 2000, the Council also heard a final briefing by the outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, and held a high-level meeting in the context of the Millennium Summit.

Following are summaries of Council activity in 2000.



On 18 January, the Council held an open briefing on the situation in Angola, Africa’s longest running civil war.

The Government of Angola and the opposition force, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), have been engaged in an intermittent, devastating civil war since the country s independence in 1975. Over the years, the United Nations has been actively involved in efforts to find a solution, including through the establishment of four successive peacekeeping missions. However, despite all efforts to restore peace, the situation deteriorated again in May 1998 when UNITA refused to proceed with the implementation of the peace agreements, which had been signed in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1994. In January 1999, the Secretary-General concluded that the Angolan peace process had collapsed. The Angolan Government had informed the Organization that it did not intend to support extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Angola (MONUA) beyond

26 February 1999.

During the 18 January briefing, most speakers blamed the protracted conflict in the country on the activities of UNITA. Georges Chicoti, Vice-Minister of External Relations of Angola, asked if a double standard and a dangerous precedent were being set by allowing that organization’s leader, Jonas Savimbi, to continue to kill people for so many years without indicting him for his crimes . He added that, despite several resolutions that applied sanctions on Mr. Savimbi and his followers, many countries and institutions continued to break them, allowing UNITA to acquire new, sophisticated weapons.

Canada s representative, then Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 864 (1993) concerning the situation in Angola, said that his visit to the country the week before had demonstrated that sanctions were impeding UNITA s ability to transport fuel and arms throughout the country and were reducing the number of parties ready to offer it support. While it was premature to suggest that the war was at an end in Angola, it was beginning to approach it.

The Council was also informed by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast, who introduced the Secretary-General’s report on developments in Angola since October 1999, that the new United Nations Office in that country would continue to assist the Government and civil organizations in the areas of capacity-building, humanitarian assistance and the promotion of human rights.

On 13 April, as it unanimously adopted resolution 1294 (2000), The Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) for a further six months until 15 October. On 18 April, acting under the enforcement provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council unanimously voted to tighten its sanctions against UNITA and undertook to consider additional measures — use of armed force not included — to make them more effective.

By the terms of resolution 1295 (2000), introduced by the President and Chairman of the Sanctions Committee, Robert Fowler (Canada), the Council asked the Secretary-General to establish a monitoring mechanism which would be composed of five experts, for a period of six months. Their tasks would be to collect relevant information, investigate relevant leads and verify information provided by all sources concerning violations of the Council s three previous sanctions resolutions on UNITA.

The Council expressed its intention to review the implementation of its three previous resolutions on UNITA on the basis of information provided by the panel of experts, by States, and by the monitoring mechanism established by the present resolution. Further, it undertook to consider the application of additional measures against UNITA and the development of additional tools to render the existing sanctions more effective.

The resolution covered such areas as the trade in arms, the trade in petroleum and related products, the trade in diamonds, funds and financial measures, and travel and representation. The Council further urged all States, including those close to Angola, to take immediate steps to enforce, strengthen or enact legislation making it a criminal offence under domestic law for their nationals or other individuals operating on their territory to violate the measures imposed by the Council against UNITA.

On 27 July, in an open debate on Angola, Ibrahim Gambari, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, told the Council that the Angolan President, Jos Eduardo dos Santos, had indicated a willingness to pardon Jonas Savimbi and his followers, which was a welcome development. To give peace a chance would require increased efforts in the political, social and economic spheres, as well as a spirit of reconciliation by all Angolans. Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the UNOA, he said the fact that UNITA bore the primary responsibility for the return to war in Angola must be reaffirmed. The rebel group s failure to live up to peace agreements was the primary reason for the renewed violence and continuation of the country’s civil war. The Council had exposed the weaknesses in implementing sanctions imposed against UNITA and had named the alleged sanctions violators. States must avoid actions that would facilitate the continuation of war.

Also addressing the Council, Albino Malungo, Angola’s Minister for Social Assistance, stressed that the Lusaka agreement had never been implemented in its totality, as Mr. Savimbi had rejected its crucial provisions. In 1998, the UNITA leader had once again undertaken force to achieve power. Sadly, he noted, the rearming of UNITA had taken place with the open support of a number of countries and leaders, including Africans. Not all voices had condemned Mr. Savimbi s actions or taken steps to pressure him into abandoning his war plans.

The Angolan Government had been forced to adopt political and military measures to contain UNITA, an objective that had been achieved, he said. UNITA s conventional war capacity had been destroyed and no longer constituted an immediate threat to the Government. More than 92 per cent of Angolan territory was now under the control of legal authorities, he went on. Angola urged the international community to continue to apply pressure through sanctions against those who rejected the peace agreement.

Sierra Leone

The conflict in Sierra Leone dates from March 1991 when fighters of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched a war from the east of the country near the border with Liberia to overthrow the government. On 22 October 1999, Council resolution 1270 (1999) established the United Nations Mission for Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to aid with implementation of the Lom (Togo) Peace Agreement, which was signed on 7 July 1999 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF.

The Council first met this year on Sierra Leone on 7 February when Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations H di Annabi, in a briefing, told members that it was important to impress on all parties the need to implement the Lom Agreement and to fulfil their commitments under that Agreement. Observing that there had been several incidents last month in which the troops of UNAMSIL had been confronted by rebel troops and had not responded satisfactorily, he stressed the need to apply the Mission’s rules of engagement strictly.

In his review of the security situation in Sierra Leone, he stated there was still an apparent ambivalence on the part of rebel commanders regarding the implementation of the Lom Agreement. He noted that in places outside of Freetown and Lungi, which remained relatively stable, there had been an increase in rebel activity. He also drew attention to the delay in humanitarian activities caused by continued harassment of humanitarian workers.

In a meeting following Mr. Annabi’s briefing, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1289 (2000), and expanded the military component of UNAMSIL to a maximum of 11,100, which included the 260 military observers already deployed. It also extended UNAMSIL s mandate for a further six months from 7 February.

The Council further decided to revise UNAMSIL s mandate to include the following additional tasks:provide security at key locations and government buildings; facilitate the free flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance along specified thoroughfares; provide security in and at all sites of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme; coordinate withand assist, in common areas of deployment, the Sierra Leone law enforcement authorities in the discharge of their responsibilities; and guard weapons, ammunition and other military equipment collected from ex-combatants and to assist in their subsequent disposal or destruction.

The Council also took note of recommendations by the Secretary- General on the need for robust new rules of engagement in the light of UNAMSIL s new tasks and authorized UNAMSIL to take the necessary action to fulfil its additional tasks. That included ensuring the security and freedom of movement of its personnel and providing protection to civilians – in its areas of deployment — under imminent threat of physical violence, taking into account the responsibilities of the Government of Sierra Leone.

On 13 March, Mr. Annabi again briefed the Council and told them that the main steps to be taken in Sierra Leone should include the early DDR of all ex-combatants; the extension of State authority countrywide; national reconciliation and democratization; and improvement of the country’s capacity to ensure its own security. Such steps would require a sustained commitment by all concerned, as well as significant material and financial resources.

The representative of the United Kingdom, describing his recent visit to Sierra Leone, said the DDR process was being obstructed by the lack of commitment to peace from the main factional leaders, particularly RUF leader Foday Sankoh. Furthermore, the Council should be aware that the deployment of UNAMSIL had not been fully successful. He stressed that the Council should carefully monitor the transition from the Economic Community of West African States’ Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) presence in the country to UNAMSIL and insist on bringing the Mission up to full strength, in quality as well as quantity.

On 4 May, the Council met again on Sierra Leone and issued a presidential statement. The Council condemned in the strongest terms the armed attacks perpetrated by the RUF against the forces of UNAMSIL, and their continued detention of a large number of United Nations and other international personnel. The Council also expressed its outrage at the killing of a number of United Nations peacekeepers of the Kenyan battalion.

On 11 May, in a late-night session, convened at request of the AfricanGroup of States, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Council that UNAMSIL was configured as a peacekeeping force, and not designed or equipped for an enforcement operation. It had been attacked by one of the parties that had pledged cooperation, before it was properly deployed. He demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all United Nations personnel, warning that the leader of the RUF would be held accountable for the Force’s actions and for the safety and well-being of all those detained. The United Nations had made a commitment to the people of Sierra Leone, and he pleaded with the Council not to fail them, and Africa.

On 19 May, the Council, unanimously adopting resolution 1299 (2000), once more expanded the military component of UNAMSIL to a maximum of 13,000 military personnel, convinced that the deterioration in security conditions on the ground necessitated the Mission’s rapid reinforcement.

On 5 July, the Council, concerned at the role played by the illicit trade in diamonds in fuelling the conflict in Sierra Leone, adopted resolution 1306 (2000) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with one abstention (Mali), and imposed a prohibition on the import of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone. The ban would be initially reviewed after 18 months.

It exempted imports of rough diamonds whose origin was certified by the Government of Sierra Leone. The diamond industry was also called upon to cooperate with the ban. Following the 18-month review, the Council would decide whether to extend the prohibition for a further period and, if necessary, modify it or adopt further measures. The two-part resolution also asked the Secretary-General to appoint a panel of five experts to monitor implementation of the ban.

On 17 July, in a statement read out by its President, the Council expressed full support for the weekend rescue, ordered by the Secretary-General, of more than 200 peacekeepers by UNAMSIL at Kailahun, in the eastern part of Sierra Leone.

On 4 August, as the Council met again on Sierra Leone, it extended UNAMSIL until 8 September and expressed its intention to strengthen the Mission’s mandate, structure and resources, so that the peacekeepers could respond more decisively and robustly to attacks by the RUF. It took that action as it unanimously adopted resolution 1313 (2000). It asked the Secretary-General to report to it as soon as possible with recommendations for restructuring and strengthening the Mission, and expressed its intention to take a decision on those recommendations expeditiously.

On 14 August, the Council asked the Secretary-General to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone to create an independent special court, consistent with resolution 1315 (2000), which it had just unanimously adopted, jurisdiction of which should include crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. That jurisdiction should also include crimes committed in Sierra Leone under that country’s national law.

The Council met several times throughout the remainder of the year in order to extend UNAMSIL s mandate, which is now in force until 31 March 2001.

During that same period, the Council, in a 3 November presidential statement, condemned the continued cross-border attacks along the border area of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. It stressed that only through a comprehensive regional approach could security and stability be restored. It was, further, convinced that the continuation of a credible military presence of the international community in Sierra Leone was still an indispensable element of the peace process. It also reiterated its firm intention to take action to strengthen UNAMSIL at the appropriate time, taking into account the readiness of troop contributors to provide sufficient forces.

The Council underlined:the importance of the RUF relinquishing control of the diamond-producing areas in Sierra Leone; full freedom of movement for UNAMSIL leading to its deployment countrywide; proper provisions for the disarmament and demobilization of all non-governmental forces; full and secure humanitarian access; and the extension of the Government throughout its territory.

On 21 December, in another presidential statement, the Council condemned, in the strongest terms, the recent incursions into Guinea by rebel groups from Liberia and Sierra Leone that had affected villages and towns along the entire length of Guinea s border.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was ruled from 1965 by Mobutu S s S ko (who named the country Zaire). His rule did not weaken until the 1990s, when a number of circumstances — domestic protests, international criticism of his human rights record, and spillover from the neighbouring Rwanda war — resulted in a coalition of various opposition groups. The Alliance des forces d mocratiques pour la lib ration du Congo-Za re (AFDL), supported by several countries and led by the current President, Laurent-Desire Kabila, succeeded in ousting Mobutu in May 1997. Mr. Kabila named himself president, consolidated power around himself and the AFDL, and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In August 1998, in an attempt to stabilize the country and consolidate his control, President Kabila expelled the Rwandan troops remaining in the country after his 1997 victory. That prompted army mutinies in the capital Kinshasa and the Kivu provinces in the east. Although the Kinshasa mutiny was put down, the mutiny in the Kivus continued and mushroomed into a drive to topple the Government. O