The Security Council voted today to extend through 12 March 2024 the mandate of the Panel of Experts charged with assisting its Sudan sanctions committee, while also expressing its intention to review those sanctions in light of progress achieved by the Government on several key benchmarks.
Adopting resolution 2676 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2676(2023) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, with 13 Council members voting in favour and 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation), the 15-nation organ decided to review the sanctions in place against Sudan — first imposed in resolution 1556 (2004), and subsequently renewed by other resolutions —through inter alia their modification, suspension or progressive lifting, by 12 February 2024. For that purpose, it would consider progress achieved by the Government of Sudan on benchmarks 2 and 3 and related targets outlined in the Secretary-General’s report of 31 July 2021 (document S/2021/696).
Furthermore, members requested the Panel of Experts — originally appointed pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) — to provide the Council’s sanctions committee with an interim report on its activities by 12 August 2023; a final report by 13 January 2024, with findings and recommendations; and updates every three months.
The Council requested the Secretary-General, in coordination with the Panel of Experts, to conduct progress assessment on the key benchmarks by 1 December 2023, and the Government of Sudan to report to the sanctions committee on progress achieved on the key benchmarks by that date. It also requested the Government to submit requests for the sanctions committee’s consideration, and where appropriate, prior approval for the movement of military equipment and supplies into the Darfur region, particularly in the context of implementing the Juba Peace Agreement, signed in 2020.
Following the adoption, John Kelley (United States), the draft resolution’s penholder, said the text incorporates the views of all Council members and sets out achievable and relevant benchmarks anchored in the commitments of Sudan’s Government under the Juba Peace Agreement, as well as the national action plan for protection of civilians. Stressing the fragility of the situation on the ground, he endorsed a continuation of monitoring and reporting, adding that progress in these areas will move Sudan and its people towards the peace and prosperity they deserve.
Joao Genesio De Almeida Filho (Brazil) said his delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution and was ready to engage in negotiations until the very end, if a consensual text could be reached. Noting that his delegation would have preferred clearer, more concise benchmarks and a shorter sunset clause, he acknowledged that many concerns raised by the three African Council members and the United Arab Emirates were considered. Arms embargos and targeted sanctions are “temporary” by definition, he said, describing the evaluation mechanisms that will be implemented by the resolution’s terms as a positive change.
Dmitry Polyanskiy (Russian Federation) said he abstained in the vote, as the sanctions regime no longer reflects the situation in Darfur and is preventing the Government of Sudan from state-building and achieving socioeconomic development. The Russian Federation is in favour of Council sanctions being justified and amended until they are lifted, he said, adding that it is unacceptable to use them as a punitive measure. Recalling that the League of Arab States and the African Group are also in favour of their lifting, he said that nonetheless the authors of the draft resolution only conceded to reduce the time for which sanctions were renewed. There was no consensus on the second and third benchmarks, originating in the Secretary-General’s July 2021 report, he said, voicing regret that despite seven requests from seven Member States that negotiations continue, the author of the text forced a vote.
Dai Bing (China) said his delegation also abstained, noting that the signing of a peace agreement in Juba in 2020 and the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) reflected a positive shift. The sanctions are now outdated and should be lifted to reflect improved circumstances on the ground. Citing requests from Khartoum — as well as several other countries in the region — to lift the sanctions, he said the first draft submitted by the penholder was rejected by Council members. A version was circulated that would maintain the sanctions until February 2024, “yet the penholder dug their heels in”, he said. Noting that today’s text endorses two benchmarks that are not workable, he said certain Council members have no intention of lifting the sanctions and only seek to perpetuate them by setting benchmarks that cannot be met.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), also speaking for Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique, expressed regret that the proposal offered by those countries with regard to the sanctions’ sunset clause was not adopted, as it reflected the current best practice of the Council and enjoyed support from many of its members. Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates voted in favour of the draft resolution in the spirit of compromise and in order to recognize the progress made. Welcoming a shift from “open-ended” to “time bound” sanctions, she pointed out that sanctions are not intended to be an end or last forever, and reiterated her support for their full lifting.
The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 3:23 p.m.
Source: UN Security Council