At the start of every month, the Global Observatory posts a list of key upcoming meetings and events that have implications for global affairs.
- August 2: Expiration of Security Council Deadline for Sudan and South Sudan
Besides calling for a cessation of hostilities and resumption of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (2012) specifically tasked the two parties to reach agreement on the question of oil revenues, citizenship arrangements (in particular for nationals of one country that are resident in the other), the status of disputed borders and their demarcation, and, importantly, the final status of the Abyei area. Operative paragraph 5 of the resolution set out a three-month deadline for an agreement to be reached (which expires on August 2) and operative paragraph 6 of the resolution threatens sanctions should an agreement not have been reached by the deadline.
With no agreement in sight and the August 2 deadline coming up fast, some kind of punitive action by the Security Council–if not immediate–is possible. The US delegation to the United Nations in New York emphasized the possibility of sanctions in a recent statement, pointing out that “it wishes to reiterate the UN Security Council’s decision in the event that any or all of the parties have not complied with the decisions set forth in this resolution to take appropriate additional measures under Article 41 of the Charter as necessary.”
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who leads an AU mediation effort, is expected to brief the Council in August and the question of sanctions might be discussed by Council members during that meeting.
- August 20: End of Transitional Period in Somalia
August 20 is the deadline for the implementation of the roadmap which Somalia agreed to at a National Reconciliation Conference in Mogadishu in September 2011. Successfully implementing the roadmap would conclude the political transition period which began in 2004 and is supposed to mark a new beginning after over 20 years of no regular government in Somalia. The UN Security Council has emphasized that the Somali transition is going through a “decisive phase” and that the Somali transition must be completed by the August 20 date.
Key steps in reaching this goal include drafting and adopting a new constitution, electing a new parliament as well as a new president. On August 1 the Somali National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which had been convening meetings since July 25, took the essential first step and adopted a new provisional constitution paving the way for the completion of the transition in August. The 825 members of the constituent assembly were selected by a group of 135 tribal elders.
Adoption of the constitution is supposed to be followed by the election of 275 members of parliament by the same group of 135 elders that nominated the members of the constituent assembly. The new MPs are then expected to select a speaker by August 4 and elect the new President by August 20. However, adopting a new provisional constitution was only the first step. It is not clear what will happen should no new government be appointed come August 20.
- August 20: UN Syria Mission Expires After Extension
On August 20 the 30 day extension of the United Nations Support Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) expires. The UNSC resolution passed on July 20 mandating the prolongation of the Mission, uses specific and unequivocal language to refer to the possibility of further prolonging the mandate, which reflects the resolve of the US, UK and France to dissolve UNSMIS unless it is able to carry out its mandate. It talks about a “final period of 30 days” and sets out specific conditions for the renewal of the mandate, in particular a cessation of the use of heavy weapons and reduction in the level of violence by all sides. Indeed the number of monitors has already been reduced by half.
However, despite the apparent determination of the P3 to shut the Mission down if the violence in Syria rages on, Russia and China are expected to push for a further renewal of the mandate. Also, the UN Secretariat is reluctant to lose a presence on the ground, whether to remain available to opportunities for mediation or to prepare for the day after the fall of the current regime, so that it does not have to renegotiate its entrance into the country. Agreement on a new mandate seems highly unlikely, so the more pertinent question is whether the Mission could be reconfigured under the current mandate. More importantly, however, the dissolution of the Mission will be interpreted as the failure of the UN and diplomacy in general with regards to Syria.
- Also of Interest:
• August 31: UNFIL Mandate Expires, Lebanon
- August 31: Angola Legislative Elections
The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and its longtime rival the National Union for the Independence of Angola (Unita) are the key parties campaigning for the national legislative elections on August 31.
Despite Angola’s oil exports providing ample resources to the government, most Angolans still live in grinding poverty. That is why the incumbent President Jose Eduardo dos Santos declared that the main objective of the next legislation is to improve the living conditions of Angolans.
The opposition Unita leader Isaias Samakuva responded with a plea to raise the monthly minimum wage to $500 while ensuring the provision of basic services such as clean water and sanitation (nearly 40 percent of Angolans do not have access to these services).
The general elections will be only the third since Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975. In 2008, Dos Santos won over 80 percent of the vote and this time around he is expected to win again with no difficulty. He remains the Africa’s second-longest serving leader with 32 years in power, after Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, who has been in power for 33 years.
- Also of Interest:
• August 27-30: Republican National Convention, Tampa, Florida
Other Multilateral Meetings
- August 26-31: 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit
At the end of August, members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) will gather in Tehran for the triennial NAM summit. The summit marks the beginning of Iran holding the rotating presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement for a three year term. While it has not yet been specified which topics exactly the summit will cover, according to Iranian Vice President Sa’eidlu, fighting “racism,” “neocolonialism,” and “sustainable peace” will be general themes.
Tehran is going to significant lengths to ensure a high level of participation. Iranian leaders have been able to convince Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept an invitation to attend. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, has also confirmed his participation after receiving a personal invitation from Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi in May.