The Peace and Security Council in 2020: The Year in Review

2020

Date | 08 January, 2021

2020 REVIEW OF THE PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

As the year of the novel coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, 2020 presented a unique challenge to the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC), as it did to many institutions. In the work of the PSC, the year will be remembered more by the fact that the PSC sustained the continuity of its work in the face of the disruption COVID19 brought about across the world than by the deployment of any major new peace and security initiative. In this report, we provide a review of the work of the PSC during 2020, including how the PSC overcame the threat that COVID19 posed to the continuity of its work.

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CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE AGENDA OF SILENCING THE GUNS IN AFRICA

2020

Date | December, 2020

INTRODUCTION

Silencing the Guns is one of the flagship projects of Africa’s development blue print of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU). It provides the overarching objective guiding the efforts of the organization towards achieving a peaceful and secure Africa which is the foundation for the implementation the development and regional integration plans of the continent.

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Consideration of the Special Report of the AUC Chairperson and the UN Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence

2020

Date | 30 November, 2020

Tomorrow (30 November) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) is scheduled to consider the Special Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) on the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence. The session is expected to take place through VTC.

Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is expected to deliver a statement. The Joint Special Representative and Head of UNAMID, Kingsley Mamabolo, is also scheduled to make a presentation. Representative of Sudan as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and country concerned, IGAD secretariat, UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) are also expected to make statements.

In the last session on UNAMID held in May 2020, the PSC in its 927th communiqué reiterated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s request to the UNSC in deploying a mission with a Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandate. It further underlined the importance of respecting national ownership of the transition process and need for continued coordination and complementarity between the AU and UN in peacebuilding activities. Moreover, the PSC further stated that UNAMID’s mandate should be extended up to 31 December 2020 in line with its protection mandate and implementation of the exit strategy.

On 3 June 2020, the UNSC has adopted two resolutions: 2525 (2020) and 2524 (2020). Resolution 2524 (2020) established the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for an initial period of 12 months. The UNSC requested the Secretary General to rapidly appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of Mission of UNITAMS and ‘ to swiftly initiate the planning for and establishment of UNITAMS, with a view to reaching full operational capacity as soon as possible and in order to ensure the mission is able to start delivering against all its strategic objectives no later than 1 January 2021.’

Pending the establishment of UNITAMS, resolution 2025 (2020) extended the mandate of UNAMID until 31 December 2020 with the current troop and police ceiling. The resolution also requested the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of theAUC to provide the Security Council with a Special Report no later than 31 October 2020, assessing ‘the situation on the ground… the capacity of the Government of Sudan… to protect civilians… and recommendations on the appropriate course of action regarding the drawdown of UNAMID, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.’ The UNSC is expected to deliberate on the drawdown and exist of UNAMID based on the guidance provided in the report.

In line with this resolution, the joint AUC Chair and UNSG report is expected to provide an analysis of the security situation in Darfur, outcome of the Juba peace agreement, ongoing efforts for protection of civilians and key recommendations for the transition from UNAMID to UNITAMS.

Moreover, in light of the joint October 2020 visit to Sudan by Commissioner Smail Chergui and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, it would be of interest for PSC members to be briefed about the political and security situation in Darfur. In this respect, it is worth noting that despite very encouraging political developments in Sudan, the situation in Darfur remains concerning. Apart from the presence of armed opposition groups, the sources of insecurity include notably inter- communal clashes, land related clashes and attacks on civilians which have increased from the third quarter of 2020. Between June and October 2020, UNAMID recorded a total of 146 fatalities including 111 fatalities in July alone as a result of 31 clashes and disputes, marking a more than four-fold increase of casualties compared to the same period in 2019 and a more than eight-fold increase from that of in 2018.

With regards to the ongoing security risks, another key issue that is expected to be discussed in tomorrow’s briefing is the National Plan for Protection of Civilians that was officially submitted to the UNSC and its implementation. The Juba peace agreement itself has created a framework to address the protection of civilians through comprehensive measures covering security, justice and reconciliation, protection of refugees and internally displaced persons.

In terms of the peace process, tomorrow’s session will discuss the developments that followed the Juba peace agreement signed between the Transitional Government of Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front coalition of armed opposition groups, and the Sudan Liberation Front led by Minni Minawi on 3 October 2020 and the Declaration of Principles signed between Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the SPLM-N faction led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu on 3 September 2020.

The briefing, in line with the recommendations of the report, will also present the action points leading to UNAMID’s drawdown and UNITAMS’s deployment. The transition will be marked by the shift from the physical protection provided by UNAMID to UNITAMS’s role in supporting the implementation of the National Plan for Protection of Civilians, peacebuilding activities, economic recovery and development. Moreover, the key recommendations outlined in the report include the termination of UNAMID’s mandate by 31 December 2020 and the full operationalization of the UNITAMS as per the Security Council resolution 2524 (2020); UN, the AU and IGAD in close collaboration with the government of Sudan to provide support in sustaining peace in Darfur and the need to conduct a lessons learnt exercise to document UNAMID’s experience.

Commissioner Chergui’s briefing may further provide overview on the outcome of the Tripartite (AU – UN – Government of Sudan) Coordination Mechanism (TCM) on UNAMID that was held in October 2020. His briefing may also touch on the possible follow up technical meeting between the National Committee and UNAMID that is expected to deliberate and rollout actions in the period after December 31.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to endorse the recommendations of the report including the termination of UNAMID’s mandate in December 2020 and the subsequent deployment of UNITAMS. It may welcome the signing of the Juba agreement and express its wish for the effective implementation of the agreement to ensure peace and stability in Darfur and more broadly in Sudan. It may also commend the Government of Sudan for the development of a National Plan for Protection of Civilians. It may express concern over the recent rise in violence and insecurity in Darfur and may urge for a smooth transition that pays particular attention to the protection of civilians and to prevent any security vacuum in the area. It may stress the importance of continued and strengthened engagement of the AU in the aftermath of UNAMID and more particularly for the AU to play an active role in the peacebuilding and development process of the country. In this respect, the PSC may request that the presence of the AU in Sudan is strengthened for supporting both the transitional process and the implementation of peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction and development measures.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

2020

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


Briefing on the Situation in Sudan

2020

Date | 6 October, 2020

Tomorrow (6 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to discuss on the situation in the Sudan, which is the only country situation in the program work of the PSC for the month. Although it was initially envisaged that the PSC will consider the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, the session has since been changed into a briefing session. This session is envisaged to take place virtually through VCT.

It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing from the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Sudan, Mohamed Belaichi. The representative of Sudan is also expected to make a statement both as representative of Sudan and in Sudan’s capacity as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to regularly brief the Council on the situation in the Sudan, in particular, on the implementation of the Political Agreement and the Constitutional Document. Tomorrow’s briefing is expected to provide an update on the overall political situation, the evolution of the transition including the peace process launched following the establishment of the transitional government. Other issues of major concern include the economic situation and the progress towards removing Sudan from the US list of states sponsoring terrorism.

The major development in the transition process in Sudan is the significant progress registered in the peace process that has been launched following the establishment of the transitional government. On 3 October, a landmark peace deal was signed in South Sudan’s capital Juba by the transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front – a coalition of armed opposition groups. The regional body IGAD, the AU and the UN have all welcomed the signing of the peace deal as a significant step forward towards bringing lasting peace and stability in the Sudan, although not all armed groups are part of this deal.

The other major armed opposition groups, which are not part of this peace deal are the Al-Hilu faction of SPLM/N and the Abdul Wahid faction of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). Al-Hilu has already signed an agreement of principles with Sudan’s Prime Minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 3 September. This is considered encouraging. Al-Hilu is said to have attended the signing ceremony in Juba and met with Prime Minister Hamdok and President Salva Kiir to discuss about the ongoing talks between his movement and the transitional government. However, Abdul-Wahid’s faction continues to reject talks with the transitional government and downplayed the significance of the peace deal signed in Juba.

The signing of the peace deal is only the first step, but challenges lie ahead in terms of its implementation. The need for the parties to translate their commitment into action will be critical to move the country forward. Apart from the challenges of implementation that arise from the internal power dynamics of the transitional government and the influence of various security entities in Sudan, a major formidable test for the peace process is the economic situation in Sudan. This will also pose a major challenge in financing the implementation of the peace deal. It is feared that this will test the resolve of the parties for honoring their commitments under the deal signed in Juba.

Belaichi’s briefing may shed lights on the scale of the economic pressure facing Sudan. There is already growing frustration within the society with protesters resurfacing again on the streets. The country has already declared a state of economic emergency because of the drastic fall of the Sudanese Pound. That is why it needs international support, but it may not be easy to come by given the current realities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic even though there was generous pledge made by partners to support the transition during the Berlin Conference.

One of the major stumbling blocks for the country in rehabilitating its economy and attracting much needed investment from outside has been the fact that Sudan remains in the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This is one of the issues that the representative of Sudan may provide update on. Progress has been made in the discussion with the US on removing Sudan from the list and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell, has urged US lawmakers to support the removal explaining the progress made in the discussion on compensation to the victims of the 1998 terrorist attack on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and underscoring the need to support the transition process in the Sudan. However, this is now overshadowed by new demands that the country should take cues from other Gulf countries in normalizing its ties with Israel. This appears to be creating obstacles to the delisting process, which was expected to happen this month.

Sudan has also declared another emergency because of the worst flooding which overflooded the Nile river banks. More than half a million Sudanese are said to have been affected by this disaster and 99 people lost their lives. This disaster has further compounded already existing challenges and left many Sudanese in need of humanitarian assistance. This is another issue in respect of which both Belaichi and the representative of Sudan are expected to provide analysis on how this emergency would affect Sudan’s transition.

The transition in Sudan would certainly benefit from strong and sustained regional and international backing. It is to be recalled that, in January, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock had requested the United Nations “to seek a Security Council mandate to establish, as soon as possible, a Chapter VI peace support operation in the form of a special political mission with a strong peacebuilding component”. He further requested that the mission’s mandate should cover the entire territory of Sudan. Although there were some complications in the ensuing discussion on the deployment of the mission with regard to the mandate of the mission and its composition, the United Nations Security Council eventually adopted resolution 2524 (2020) establishing an integrated transition assistance mission in the Sudan. The mandate of the mission includes, among others, to support the transition process, provide good offices for peace negotiations, assist in peacebuilding, civilian protection, and rule of law, and support the state’s capacity to extend its presence.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC is expected to welcome the signing of the peace deal between the Sudan government and armed groups in Juba and express its full support for the deal. The PSC may also encourage those groups which are not part of the peace deal to join the peace deal which promises lasting peace and stability to the whole of Sudan. The PSC may recognize the enormous challenges that the country continues to face and reiterate its call to bilateral and international partners to mobilize assistance in support of the Sudan. In this regard, it may urge partners to redeem the pledge made in the Berlin Conference. The PSC may also once again reiterate its call for the lifting of all economic and financial sanctions on Sudan, most notably the removing Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, more so considering the commitment that Sudan’s transitional government demonstrated by fulfilling the demands of the US government relating to compensation for bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The PSC may also encourage countries in the region and the AU as well as partners to enhance their support to the transitional process in Sudan and commend the support that various countries extended in support of the transitional government.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

2020

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


VTC Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

2020

Date | 15 September, 2020

Tomorrow (15 September 2020) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a briefing session on the situation in South Sudan. This 944th session of the PSC is expected to consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the latest situation in the country. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan, Joram Biswaro, is expected to introduce the report. It is also envisaged that the PSC receives update from the Office of the Legal Counsel regarding the request of the 917th session of the PSC for progress report on the process for the operationalization of the Hybrid Court.

The PSC will also receive the statements of the representative of South Sudan, the Interim Chairperson of the Revitalized-Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Sudan, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the representative of the UN.

The last time that PSC was briefed on South Sudan was in April 2020. The meeting is scheduled to take place via VTC.

It is exactly two years since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Therefore, this meeting will provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement and the challenges that still persist since the last meeting of the PSC.

As noted during the last session, the agreement reached by the parties to form an inclusive transitional government has certainly rescued the country back from the brink. The announcement of the formation of the R-TGoNU with an inclusive new cabinet was very welcomed. This is essentially what has been considered as a progress. However, over the last couple of months since the formation of the R-TGoNU, the delays in fully operationalizing the governance structures and implementing the national security arrangements has been a source of major concern.

It has been noted that despite the formation of the R-TGoNU, the parties to the R-ARCSS were unable to agree on the distribution of responsibilities at the state and local government levels. As reported by R-JMEC, the resultant delay in the formation of state governments.

The Chairperson’s report is expected to highlight developments since the last session. In June, bilateral discussions between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar resulted in some progress with the two sides agreeing for ITGoNU headed by the president to nominate governors to the states of Unity, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Central Equatoria and Lakes; The SPLM/A-IO for the states of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Western Equatoria; and SSOA for Jonglei state. Despite the issuance by President Kiir of Republican Decrees No. 51/2020 and 53/2020 naming eight of the ten governors and three Chief Administrators of the Administrative Areas respectively, four of the six parties comprising the Other Political Parties (OPP) continue to object to this agreement as being contrary to the terms of the R-ARCSS.

This delay in the formation of the state and local government leadership has impacted negatively on the formation of the Transitional National Legislature (TNL), comprising both the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of States (CoS). Thus, this key component of the transitional institutions has as yet to be established. The delay also contributed to a security vacuum in several states; evidenced by escalating inter-communal violence in the states of Warrap, Lakes, Unity and Jonglei. Countless numbers of individuals have been killed and others wounded in ongoing cattle rustling episodes and revenge attacks.

Another area of concern relates to the inadequate pace of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements. Despite the PSC urging the parties to facilitate the ‘unification, training and integration of the various armed groups to enable deployment of the Unified Forces’, registration and screening, and detailed unification training have been suspended, and plans to complete graduation at all training centres within 30 days from 28 May 2020, followed by immediate redeployment of the NUF have not materialized. According to R-JMEC, high levels of the forces abandoning the cantonment sites and training centres due to severe food shortages, lack of medicines, and care facilities for the female personnel. The other area of immediate concern is the escalation of fighting, allegedly between the SSPDF/SPLA-IO and NAS with adverse effect on the protection of civilians.

The increase inter-communal violence coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood disaster has also been exacerbating the humanitarian situation in the country affecting the wellbeing of many South Sudanese people. There have been continued sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) incidents, including rape and gang rape in some areas of the country. There has also been increasing reports of attacks against humanitarian workers, and a near-complete halt to the voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and refugees. Furthermore, the socio-economic situation has been extremely dire. It is in the face of all these challenges that the second anniversary of the peace agreement is being marked this month.
Two years after the signing of the peace agreement, the South Sudanese people are not yet experiencing the dividends of peace. Lack of political will and trust among the parties is a major obstacle for making any meaningful progress. It is absolutely imperative that they set aside their difference and work together in a spirit of collegiality for the sake of the South Sudanese people who have endured so much for far too long. It is in this spirit that they can accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement and resolve the remaining outstanding issues. It is also vital that the financial constraints impeding progress are addressed as highlighted in the communique of the 917th PSC session. But it is only if there is meaningful commitment and action on the part of the South Sudanese stakeholders that the international community will be able to provide the necessary support. The Troika in a statement issued on 12 September 2020 observed “South Sudan’s leaders have a real opportunity to deliver the foundation of a stable and prosperous nation for all, and to demonstrate their commitment to peace. We urge them to demonstrate this as a matter of urgency and will work with South Sudan to support progress”.

The briefing from the Legal Counsel is expected to provide update on the status of operationalization of the Hybrid Court. While the legal instruments necessary for the formation of the Hybrid Court including the MoU between the AU and South Sudan have been drafted, these have as yet to be finalized with the signing of the MoU. The delay in the establishment of the TLA also means that the legislation envisaged in the R-ARSSC has as yet to be initiated.

It would be of interest to members of the PSC to know whether the legal instruments prepared through the Legal Counsel have reflected the useful guidance from the AU Transitional Justice Policy adopted by the AU Assembly in February 2019. Additionally, it would also be of interest where the process stands with respect to the other components of the transitional justice Chapter of the R-ARCSS. As the June 2020 R-JMEC report to IGAD noted, ‘Consistent with Articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the R-ARCSS, the RTGoNU is expected to receive support from the UN, AU and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACPHR) in furtherance of the implementation of Chapter V of the R-ARCSS.’ It is worth noting that the ACHPR is undertaking work to deliver on this expectation pursuant to its Resolution 428 on the human rights situation in the Republic of South Sudan (ACHPR/Res.428(LXV)2019) which tasked the Country Rapporteur for South Sudan to engage with the AU Commission and the Government of South Sudan with proposals on the operationalization of Chapter V of the R-ARCSS.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s meeting is a communique. The AUPSC may wish to welcome the progress made in the formation of the various components of the R-TGoNU including in resolving the issues surrounding the allocation and appointment of the leadership of state governments. The Council may express concern over the slow pace of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements and the challenges observed since its last session including suspension of activities for unification, training and integration of various armed forces and incidents of fighting. The PSC may also reiterate its call for the parties to implement the establishment and operationalization of the expanded Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). The PSC may wish to call on the parties to demonstrate high levels of responsibility and urgency working together in a spirit of consensus and compromise to resolve all outstanding issues to complete the formation of the R-TGoNU in line with the peace agreement. With respect to the transitional justice chapter of the R-ARCSS, the PSC may welcome the engagement of the AU Commission to support the work towards the operationalization of the Hybrid Court and call on South Sudan to fully collaborate with the AU to address all challenges in the delivery of Chapter V of the peace agreement including with the contribution of the ACHPR and having regard to the useful guidance in the AU Transitional Justice Policy for finalizing the legal instruments and the MoU on the Hybrid Court.


PSC VTC Session on the situation in Somalia

2020

Date | 24 September, 2020

Briefing on the future of AMISOM and the upcoming elections in Somalia

Tomorrow (24 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to have a session on the situation in Somalia. The PSC is expected to consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in Somalia. It is envisaged that the meeting will take place through VTC.

The Chairperson’s Report, prepared in accordance with the communiques of the 848th and 923rd sessions of the PSC and para 36 of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2520(2020), is expected to be introduced by Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security. Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of Mission of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), is also expected to provide update to the Council. As per the practice of the Council, it is expected that the representative of Somalia will also make a statement during the partially open segment of the session.

The last time the Council met to discuss the situation in Somalia was in May 2020, when it decided to renew the mandate of AMISOM and requested the Commission to review the AMISOM CONOPS, by September 2020, in order to align it with urgent priorities. The AU Commission is also expected to work closely with the United Nations, and the Government of Somalia to conduct, by 15 November 2020, an independent comprehensive assessment of the security environment giving due attention to broader and comprehensive stabilization and security requirements, with a view to presenting options for consideration to the PSC and UN Security Council on the role of the AU, UN and international partners in Somalia post-2021. Discussions are said to be currently underway in this regard.

Tomorrow’s session will be taking place against the backdrop of intense political engagements to address the political tensions among Somali political forces, which, among others, led to a vote of no confidence by Parliament in the Prime Minister and his resultant resignation. As Somalia gears up to hold elections, intense discussions have been underway between the leadership of Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States on the conditions and terms for the holding of the election sanctioned under Somalia’s Constitution. Agreement was reached between the Somalia Federal Government and three of the five regional leaders of Somalia at the meeting held on 21 August in Dhusamareb.

The outcome of the Dhusamareb meeting, which led to the establishment of a technical committee to come up with the election modalities, was very much welcomed. Accordingly, agreement has been reached on a revised national election model known as the “Electoral Constituency Caucuses” with some changes to the outcome of the Dhusamareb meeting. This indirect election system is now expected to replace the one person one vote election envisaged under the Constitution. While the new election model is similar to the past clan-based indirect voting, attempt has been made to try to make it more inclusive by increasing the number of MPS casting the vote. However, this new model has as yet to be approved by the two chambers of parliament. The term of the parliament is to expire in November and President Formajo’s term will end in February next year. While the agreement on the model for the election helps in easing the political tensions, it remains to be seen if this would completely settle the power tussle that fuels the tension both among federal institutions and between the Federal Government and some of the regional governments.

Although members of the UNSC expressed regret that the agreed modalities fall short of the longstanding goal of direct voting for members of parliament in this election cycle, they acknowledged that the agreement was reached on the basis of a Somali led and Somali owned dialogue. Somalia’s international partners also underscored the need for the 2020/21 electoral process to be free, fair, transparent, and inclusive. They also called for a roadmap with clear milestones, agreed among Somali political leaders, to ensure decisive democratic progress going forward. Furthermore, the Partners appealed to the leadership of the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States to continue meeting regularly in a spirit of dialogue and compromise to address urgent national priorities, including security and economic reform as well as inclusive politics.

Having reached agreement with the leaders of the Federal Member States, President Formajo appointed Hassein Roble as his new Prime Minister. This was following the resignation of Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire from his position after a vote of no confidence against him. Not surprisingly, the Khaire has already announced his candidature to run for the Presidency.

Tomorrow’s meeting is also coming against the background of mounting security threats, and increasing humanitarian challenges and the briefings will provide update on developments since the last PSC session in May. The security situation remains very concerning. Al-Shabaab attacks have intensified lately, giving rise to fears that the terrorist group may elevate its attacks ahead of national elections in the country. Series of deadly terrorist attacks have been perpetrated by the group recently in Mogadishu and several other regions claiming the lives of many innocent civilians. A number of factors have allowed the group to intensify its attack, including the prevailing tension between the center and the region, its exploitation of local dynamics, and issues surrounding delivery on the benchmarks in the Somalia Transitional Plan (STP) including slow pace of progress in the building of the Somali security institutions. The COVID pandemics and heavy rainfall and flashfloods, which coupled with the problem of dessert locusts, have also exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

In terms of the role of AMISOM, its support to the Somali National Forces (SNF) in degrading the activities of Al Shabaab remains absolutely critical. It is to be recalled the PSC has been expressing concern over the security implications of AMISOM’s drawdown. In this regard, in its communique of the 923rd session, it has stressed the imperative need for a halt in further reduction of AMISOM uniformed personnel to ensure the safe holding of elections and the successful implementation of the Somali Transition Plan leading to 2021. The briefing from SRCC is expected to provide update on the activities of AMISOM and issues of command and control and the operationalization of the force enablers including air assets specifically raised in the previous session of the PSC.

Another issue in respect of which tomorrow’s session will provide update is the request the PSC made in its 923rd session communique regarding the revision of the STP. The AUPSC in particular called for a comprehensive review of the Somali Transition Plan and its implementation modalities, led by the FGS, with full participation of the AU, UN, EU and key FGS bilateral partners by July 2020, in order to provide a solid basis for the reprioritization of critical elements in the Transition Plan leading to 2021, which would also inform AMISOM’s CONOPs review and guide the confirmation of Somali priority initiatives for post-2021, as well as support by the international community. There has however been inadequate progress. With the very little time left before the election and the end of the year, there is now a pressing need for finalizing this work.
At its meeting tomorrow, Council is expected to take note of the progress made in the discussion between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States and welcome the agreement reached on the modalities for the upcoming elections. It may also wish to encourage the Somali Political Stakeholders to continue their dialogue and cooperation to ensure conditions propitious for the holding of elections and promote greater stability in the Country. The AUPSC may also strongly condemned the upsurge of terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab which claimed the lives of many innocent civilians, paying tribute to the Somali Armed Forces and AMISOM for their continued efforts in the fight against Al-Shabaab. Underscoring the continued critical role of AMISOM, the PSC may also urge for the mobilization of support for AMISOM. With respect to the STP, the Council may reiterate its previous decisions for its comprehensive review and urge that this process is completed without further delay to recalibrate the priority areas for AMISOM’s support and updating its CONOPS. It may also urge the Federal Government and the Federal Member States to speed up the process of recruitment and deployment of SSF and the integration of the regional forces into the SSF. The AUPSC may also express concern over the serious humanitarian situation because of the multiple challenges facing Somalia and appeal to the international community for enhanced support to the country to reach out to those in urgent need of life-saving assistance.


Insights on the Peace & Security Council - Briefing on the situation in Mali

2020

Date | 9 October, 2020

Tomorrow (9 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a briefing session on the situation in Mali. The meeting is expected to take place through VTC.
The AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is expected to brief the PSC. Additionally, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is also set to address the Council. It is also anticipated that the PSC will hear from Ghana, the current Chairperson of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The session is convened in the context of the recent developments in Mali that culminated in the establishment of a transitional government and the decision of ECOWAS to lift the sanctions it imposed following the unconstitutional changes of government in Mali on 18 August. It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 941st session of 19 August adopted a decision suspending Mali.

It is to be recalled that ECOWAS, which assumed leadership on the effort to restore constitutional order in Mali, considered the situation in Mali at a summit level meeting on 7 September and decided that the Malian forces has to appoint a transitional civilian president and prime Minister.

Subsequently, at a meeting that ECOWAS convened on 15 September with the the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the formation of the military junta that seized power through the 18 August coup, ECOWAS reaffirmed the position on the need for civilians to be appointed to the position of President and Prime Minister of the transitional government and the limitation of the transitional period for 18 months as well as the dissolution of the CNSP upon the formation of the transitional government.

In the communique of its 946th session of 17 September in which it endorsed the ECOWAS decision, the PSC also categorically rejected ‘any attempt by the military to lead or influence the Malian Transition’, reiterated the ‘call for the immediate formation of a civilian-led transitional government’ and expressed ‘full support to the ECOWAS decision that both, the President and the Prime Minister of the Transition should be civilians’.

In the light of the foregoing, for purposes of tomorrow’s meeting the central issue is the lifting of the suspension of Mali. In this regard, one key technical issue that is sure to attract attention during the session is whether the formation of the transitional government complied with the requirements for civilian leadership and the PSC’s rejection of the influence of the military in the Malian transition.

After both the PSC and ECOWAS insisted on the requirement for civilian leadership for the position of President and Prime Minister, the selection committee that the CNSP established announced on 21 September the appointment of Bah N’daw, who is a former colonel and served as minister of defense in 2014, as transitional president. It also named CNSP head Colonel Assimi Goïta as transitional vice-president. On Friday 25 September,Ndaw and Goïta were sworn in as interim president and vice-president respectively for the transitional period that is set for a maximum of 18 months starting from 15 September.

ECOWAS’s Special Envoy, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, after meeting with Ndaw, has also stated of the possibilities for ECOWAS’s sanctions to be lifted with appointment of a civilian prime minister. On Sunday 27 September the transitional government appointed former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, as Mali’s prime minister.

The Transition Charter published of 1 October in the Official Gazette has sought to meet the conditions put forward by ECOWAS towards the restoration of the constitutional order in Mali. The provision that allows the vice-president of the transition to replace the president has been removed with his responsibilities limited to security and defense. It also excluded the possibility of the transitional vice president replacing the transitional president. The 18-month cutoff timeline setting the duration of the transition has also been affirmed in the Charter. Taking these developments into account on 5 October ECOWAS decided to lift the sanctions imposed on Mali.

Indeed, despite his previous role, the president of the transitional government has since his retirement been a civilian with no notable influence on the military in Mali. Similarly, the appointment of Ouane as Prime Minister fulfils the demand for a civilian to be appointed to this leadership position. In terms of the reference, in the PSC communique of its 946th session of 17 September, to rejection of the influence of the military in the transition, the dissolution of the CNSP is an important step. At the same time, this reference to the influence of the military touches on the overall composition of the transitional government. Of particular interest in this respect is that four ministries including defense, internal security, territorial administration and national reconciliation are assigned to members of the CNSP.

The President has established a government consisting of 25 ministries. Even though the number of ministries led by army members is not significant as compared to the 25 membership of the cabinet, the portfolios of those ministries are however central for the country’s political transition and security. With the current composition, overall the transitional government can be characterized as a civilian led government with representation of members of the military in key portfolios. The effectiveness of Mali’s transition, similar to that of Sudan, will also depend on the kind of agency that they will be able to exercise.

For tomorrow’s session, the technical considerations, despite their political weight, are not the only or even most important considerations. In its application of AU norms, PSC also takes account of the needs of the context. In this respect, there are at least three important considerations. The first is the necessity for having an authority whose role as government is free from uncertainty. This is critical for both avoiding the political anxiety that results from uncertainty and for effective engagement to support the transitional process. This would be one of the issues that those briefing the Council may underscore. The second, related to the first, is the need for effective engagement of the Malian authorities in the effort to restore peace and security in the country. Indeed, the session may highlight that the fragile transition is taking place within the context of continued operation of terrorist groups in the country and in the region. The third consideration relates to the implementation of reforms including those within the framework of the 2015 peace agreement. On this latter point, it is envisaged that former armed groups parties to the Mali peace agreement of 2015 will also be represented in the transitional government.

There are also clear indications from the dynamics in the PSC that there will be strong support for the lifting of the suspension of Mali. Members of the PSC from the ECOWAS region would in pursuit of the ECOWAS decision lifting the sanctions on Mali would make a case for the PSC to follow ECOWAS. There are also other PSC members who support this position. Mali’s Ambassador, Fafre Kamara, engaged various PSC members and met with Chergui to brief them on progress made in Mali. It is not expected that there will be opposition to the lifting of Mali’s suspension.

At the same time, as part of ensuring support for the transitional process including for implementation of reform measures to address the governance and security issues that led to the political crisis, various members of the PSC may also indicate that the lifting of the suspension is done within the parameters of applicable AU rule constitutional governance. In this respect, apart from the need for adhering to the 18 month period of the transition, such members may highlight, the importance of using the transitional period for strengthening political stability including through mobilizing consensus around the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement, the rolling out of local governance structures and the creation of conditions for the convening of credible parliamentary and presidential elections. The issue of non-participation of the members of the CNSP and the transitional government in the formation of a new government that will be established on the basis of elections as required by AU norms may also arise.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to lift the suspension of Mali and express its support for the transitional process as a means for the restoration of constitutional order in Mali. In light of this the PSC may also welcome the decision of ECOWAS. Deciding to continue being seized with the situation, the PSC may underline the importance for the transitional government to adhere to the decisions made during the Accra Summit on 15 September including the need to maintain the civilian nature of the transition, the need to work within the agreed upon timeframe of 18 month and the dissolution of the CNSP. The Council may also reiterate the need for the consolidation of the political and security situation in the country. In this respect, the PSC may welcome the release of government and military officials that were detained in the context of the 18 August coup and commend the transitional government for securing the release of Malian politician Soumaïla Cissé, who was kidnapped in March, and French aid worker, as part of a prisoner exchange involving up to 200 extremist fighters that have been in government custody.


Insights on the Peace & Security Council - Briefing on the situation in Mali

2020

Date | 17 September, 2020

Tomorrow (17 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold a briefing on the situation in Mali. The meeting is expected to take place through VTC.

As per the terms of the communiqué of the 941st session of the PSC, the Council is scheduled to receive update from the AU Commission Chairperson on the evaluation of the situation in Mali. This is to be presented by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui. The AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel and the Head of MISAHEL, former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya is also expected to brief the Council. It is also anticipated that the PSC will hear from the current Chairperson of ECOWAS on its engagements with the Malian stakeholders for the restoration of constitutional order in Mali.

After continued popular protest for several months organized under the umbrella alliance of opposition groups and CSOs known as the June 5 Movement-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), on 18 August mutinying soldiers detained Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. The same day the President announced his resignation and the dissolution of his government and the National Assembly.

Following these developments, which the PSC deemed as an unconstitutional change of government, the Council held an emergency meeting on 19 August and decided to immediately suspended Mali from participating in all AU activities until the restoration of constitutional order in the country.

On 20 August ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held an extraordinary session through videoconference on the situation in Mali. They called for the immediate restoration of the constitutional order and the immediate reinstatement of President Keita. In a pursuit of this objective, a delegation led by the ECOWAS mediator former President Goodluck Jonathan was dispatched to Mali. The delegation met President Keita, with the Constitutional Court as well as with the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to discuss the steps for the restoration of the constitutional order in the country. Few days after ECOWAS’s mission CNSP announced the release of President Keita.

On 28 August, in a follow up extraordinary summit, ECOWAS Heads of State and Government recalibrated their 20 August decision on reinstatement of President Keita and took note of his resignation. The ECOWAS summit called for speedy establishment of a civilian transitional authority with appointment of a civilian transition president and civilian prime minister. It decided that the political transition should not exceed 12 months and the civilian transitional administration should be established based on consultations with the Constitutional Court, political parties, CSOs and other members of the public.

The Malian protest group known as the M5-RFP met with the military junta that ousted President Keita and expressed its intention to work with CNSP. After delays of the initial plan for the meeting between the M5-RFP and the CNSP, the meeting was finally held at the Kati military base outside of Bamako. The two held another meeting on 4 September. The CNSP also held consultations with political parties on 31 August at the Ministry of Defence and Veterans. Although the CNSP announced a plan to travel to northern Mali for meeting with key political forces, it was reportedly cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

After the various meetings held with various stakeholders including the M5-RFP, political parties and CSOs, on 6 September the CNSP announced that a national consultation will be held for an agreement on the transitional roadmap. The national consultation on the transition in Mali took place on 10-12 September. Convened in Mali’s capital Bamako, the national consultation brought together 500 participants from various sectors of the public including the M5-RFP, CSOs, political parties, and journalists. Among the international observers present at the opening of the consultation was the AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, Buyoya.

In his briefing, some of the areas in respect of which Buyoya may provide details include the national consultation and the transitional charter. In this respect, issues of particular interest for tomorrow’s session also include the composition of the national consultation and the degree to which it reflects the diversity of social and political interests in Mali, the conduct of the consultation and the implications of the strong objection that the M5-RFP expressed against the transitional charter.

Despite the apparent national character of the participants of the national consultation, armed groups that are active in Northern Mali, including the Coordination for the Movement of Azawad, who signed the 2015 peace agreement, did not participate. Sidi Brahim Ould Sidatt, the leader of the Azawad group, is reported to have said ‘we have two choices …either we enter the transition process and have made a new constitution of Mali together in which we reorganize ourselves or we wait after the transition and we continue negotiations with the government that will be put in place.’

At the start of the consultation the leader of the CNSP colonel Assimi Goîta stated that the consultation was an opportunity for the nation’s vital forces to discuss the concerns of the moment and the future, underscoring the need to diagnose the evils which undermine efforts of democratization and adopt urgent measures. During the consultation, the participants considered and proposed inputs for a transitional charter that was drafted by an expert committee. At the end of the two days of national consultations, participants adopted a transitional charter, which faced opposition, among others by the M5-RFP.

The transitional charter establishes the office of the president, the vice president, a transitional government with a prime minister and maximum of 25 ministers. It also defines their responsibilities with the vice president for example assigned to be in charge of defence, security and the reorganization of the state. The Charter also establishes a transitional national council, which will serve as a legislative assembly. The membership of legislative body is envisaged to be made up of 121 members from the defense and security forces and all sectors in the country.

According to the spokesperson who presented the report on the consultation, under the Charter the interim president can be a civilian or a military and will preside over a transitional period of 18 months before elections are held. It is also envisaged that the interim president will be selected by a council chosen by the military junta. This is indicative of the enormous influence and pressure that the junta exerted on the national consultation and in shaping the contents of the transitional charter.

Indicating the lack of consensus on the transitional charter finalized during the national consultation and the political disagreement on the transitional process, the M5-RFP, the influential coalition which led the mass protest that created the conditions for the downfall of President Keita, stated that it ‘distances itself from the resulting document.’ The M5-RFP said the document did not take into account what it said was a majority vote for civilian interim. It deemed the document as an attempt by military leaders to ‘grab and confiscate power.’

It is clear that the situation in Mali has descended into further political uncertainties. The factors that account for this include the apparent determination of the juntas to exercise firm control over the transition, the opposition that the M-RFP raised to the transitional charter and the non-participation of key northern actors in the national consultation. Unless urgent measures are taken to address this situation, there is risk of deepening uncertainty on the governance of the country. If the opposition to the transitional charter escalates into political contestation over the transition with return of protesters to the streets, it can plunge Mali into further instability, aggravating the prevailing insecurity in the country.
ECOWAS’s 57th ordinary session of Heads of State and Government held on 7 September adopted a decision that the Malian forces has to appoint a transitional civilian president and prime Minister by no later than 15 September or face further sanctions. It is to be recalled that ECOWAS has already imposed sanctions on Mali including closure of its borders with its neighbours.

When ECOWAS convened a consultative meeting in Accra, Ghana under the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority, President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo on 15 September, the deadline that ECOWAS set for the appointment of a civilian led transitional government has not been met. The AU was represented in the ECOWAS meeting through the AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, Buyoya, who, in his intervention is also expected to provide updates on the Accra meeting. Apart from underscoring the urgency of establishing a responsible government in Mali at the start of the meeting, President Akufo-Addo, who told reporters that ‘we have not reached agreement with the military junta’, insisted that ‘we need a civilian leadership of the transition and we have also made it clear that the minute that leadership is put in place, the sanctions would be lifted.’ ECOWAS had decided that the transition has to be led by civilian president and prime minister throughout the entire period of the transition. Upon the establishment of the civilian transition ECOWAS pledged to accompany Mali in the effort toward the reestablishment of constitutional order in conformity with the applicable protocols of ECOWAS. It is however agreed that the duration of the transition period would be for 18 months as stipulated in the transitional charter rather than the 12 months set by ECOWAS.

The situation presents a major challenge to both the ECOWAS and the AU norms banning military coups. With its deadline unmet, the military junta bent on assuming leading role during the transition and the civilian opposition to the transitional charter, the applicable norms are sure to necessitate further sanctions on the military junta if it persists with its wish to preside over the transitional process. It is to be recalled that in 2012 ECOWAS imposed economic, financial and diplomatic sanctions after the junta that usurped power by coup failed to meet a 72-hour deadline set by the regional body. Similarly, rejecting what it called, ‘all delaying tactics of the perpetrators of the coup d’état’, the PSC at its 316th session decided, ‘in view of the refusal of the military junta to respond immediately and in good faith to the requests of the AU and ECOWAS, to impose, with immediate effect, individual measures, including travel ban and asset freeze, against the leader and members of the junta, as well as against all individuals and entities contributing, in one way or another, to the maintenance of the unconstitutional status quo and impeding AU and ECOWAS efforts.’

The expected outcome of the meeting is a communique. The PSC is expected to express its concern about the lack of progress towards the establishment of a transitional civilian authority and the restoration of constitutional order and the adverse impacts of this delay on the peace process in Mali and the effort to stabilize the country. The PSC may reiterate its strong rejection of the interference of the military in political affairs contrary to the 2000 Lomé Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Governments and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and condemn the intransigence of the military junta and the delays for transferring power to a civilian transitional authority. Expressing its support for the efforts of ECOWAS, the PSC may also endorse the decision of the ECOWAS from its 15 September meeting in Accra on the necessity of transferring power to a civilian transitional authority paving the way for the restoration of constitutional order, which needs to be in accordance with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The PSC may also take further measures for adding pressure on the junta to facilitate, within the framework of ECOWAS decision and the rules of the various applicable AU norms, the speedy designation of the civilian authorities that will preside over the transitional period.