SYRIA: The third round of meetings planned for August is postponed due to the increase of violence in the country, especially around Aleppo
The escalation of war in Syria, especially in the city of Aleppo, and its serious consequences for the population, is preventing the resumption of negotiations among the parties. The special envoy of the UN and the Arab League, Staffan de Mistura, had called for the talks to resume in August, but the process was postponed given the evolution of hostilities and no new date was set for the third round of meetings. Diplomatic circles stressed that the scenario was not conducive to significant talks. In fact, throughout August, diplomatic efforts focused unsuccessfully on trying to secure access to humanitarian aid in the areas most in need, especially in Aleppo, proposing 48-hour truces, and on seeking ways to restore the ceasefire, in line with the truce agreed on in February, which collapsed after a few weeks of relatively less violence. In late August, media reports indicated that Russia and the United States, leaders of the International Syria Support Group, had made efforts to reach an agreement on Syria as part of talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva. After another meeting in mid-August, the foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey, countries that are antagonistic to each other with regard to the Syrian conflict, pledged to boost bilateral cooperation to resolve the Syrian crisis. (UN News, 27, 30/08/16; The Guardian 09/08/16; al-Jazeera, 27/08/16; al-Arabiya, 12/08/16)
SUDAN: The peace talks between the government and rebel groups fail
Less than one week after the start of the talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to try to ensure a lasting ceasefire in the regions of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the negotiations collapsed, according to a statement released on 15 August by the coordinator of the Sudanese government’s negotiating team. The largest armed groups of the three regions had signed a road map early in the month, which had been negotiated with mediators from the African Union, in order to reach a first step towards the cessation of hostilities. This initial agreement had raised hopes of making progress towards peacebuilding in the country after various rounds of talks that had not been successful. However, the disagreements between the parties blocked the negotiations again and prevented the cessation of violence. Both the government and the rebel movements have blamed each other for the failure of the talks. The African Union’s mediation team criticised the rebel movements of Darfur (the JEM and the SLA-Minnawi) for the failure and said that it was primarily due to the fact that both groups once again raised issues that had already been agreed on and others that contradicted the road map agreement. (Reuters, 16/08/2016)
YEMEN: The negotiations in Kuwait collapse amidst an escalation of violence and the United States tries to promote a new peace initiative
After a one-month break in the negotiations between the parties and no prospects that they would resume, the UN special envoy for Yemen stated that he considered the talks in Kuwait finished and announced the start of a new stage in which he would try to work with the parties separately. Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed recognised that one of the main problems in the negotiations was the lack of trust between the parties and urged the adoption of confidence-building measures, like continuing to release prisoners on both sides. However, the atmosphere in the country only deteriorated in August. Houthi forces intensified their attacks in the area bordering with Saudi Arabia and the international coalition led by Riyadh resumed its air strikes in the Yemeni capital, killing many civilians. Given this deteriorating security situation, US Secretary of State John Kerry promoted a new initiative to revive the peace talks. According to the proposal, the Houthis will participate in a national unity government in exchange for the transfer of heavy weapons to a third party. Kerry ensured that the Gulf states had agreed to the initiative during a meeting in Saudi Arabia. (Al Jazeera, 25/08/16; UN News, 06, 12/08/16; Middle East Eye, 26/08/16)
BURUNDI: UN Security Council approves establishing a police component in the country
The UN Security Council approved resolution 2303 of July 29 that gives the green light to the creation of a 228-strong UN police component. It has also urged the Government, in coordination with the AU Commission, to ensure the deployment of 100 AU human rights observers and 100 AU military experts, and asks the Government to provide full cooperation and complete access to the three missions to facilitate the implementation of their mandate. In addition, the Council has called for an end to violence by all actors and efforts to launch a political dialogue between the Government and opposition led by the East African Community (EAC), with backing by the AU and facilitated by the EAC mediator and facilitator. Although the Government had already agreed to accept the presence of the AU observers and experts, deployment has been slow. Furthermore, the Government strongly opposed the deployment of the UN police component because it considers that its security forces are under control. Thousands of demonstrators protested outside the French embassy, due to France’s role in drafting the resolution, and outside the Rwandan embassy, which the protesters accuse of training the rebels. However, the French ambassador to Burundi, Gerrit Van Rossum, has also spoken out against the resolution and has participated in the demonstrations. More than 500 people have been killed in the wave of violence that has shaken Burundi since April 2015 and at least 270,000 people have left the country. Burundi has also rejected the deployment of a 5,000-strong AU mission and said that it would not accept more than 50 UN police. (UNSC 2303 de 29/07/16; Xinhua, 30/07/16; Al Jazeera, 03/08/16; BBC, 08/08/16)
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Violence persists in the country as efforts to promote DDR continue
The Government and the AU held a training workshop on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants (DDR) with over 200 key actors in the country. President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has been conducting peace talks with different armed groups to launch the DDR plan. MINUSCA stated that despite the clashes and setbacks regarding the security situation, it will continue to push the DDR process forward. Since his election in February, the president has stated that his main responsibility is to promote DDR in the country and to reorganize the Armed Forces. In April he had already began talks with the former Séléka coalition to launch the DDR program. Touadéra had insisted that DDR should begin before agreeing to any demands, while Séléka had stated that it will not start DDR until an agreement is reached regarding the group’s demands. The DDR program has been affected by persistent clashes and outbreaks of violence, which continue in several parts of the country. Meanwhile, sources from the Ugandan Armed Forces, which are participating in the Regional Initiative against the Ugandan armed group LRA, stated that the mission will soon withdraw due to the lack of international support and resources. (RFI, 10/08/16; AU, 19/08/16)
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: The Government and part of the political opposition agree to start national talks in September
The National Dialogue preparation committee, with representatives from the Government, civil society and the opposition, held a meeting between August 23 and 27 and reached an agreement to hold the National Dialogue between September 1 and 14. Members of the opposition present at the committee meetings included the Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC) party led by Vital Kamerhe. The AU has appointed Eden Kodjo, Togo's former prime minister, as the facilitator of the national dialogue process. Opposition sources with ties to Rassemblement, the country's main opposition coalition, announced that they will not participate in the national dialogue with President Kabila because the AU facilitator is biased and acts in the interests of the Congolese government. Martin Fayulu, one of the coalition leaders, said he would participate in the dialogue mandated by UN Security Council resolution 2277, which calls for talks that respect the Constitution. Thus, Rassemblement decided not to participate in the dialogue and announced a general strike for August 23, which did not attract much participation and during which the police arrested at least 32 people. The UN Secretary-General called for the process to be as inclusive as possible. (Agenzia FIDES, 22/08/16; VOA, 01, 23/08/16; UN, 23/08/16)
MYANMAR: Advisory commission for Arakan State created, chaired by Kofi Annan
The Government has announced the creation of an advisory commission for Arakan State that is to be led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The task of this commission shall be to recommend lasting solutions for the complex situation in Arakan State, and will be made up of nine people. Three of them are representatives of the international community: Kofi Annan, Ghassan Salamé (a Lebanese academic and an advisor to Annan) and Laetitia van den Assum (a Dutch diplomat); two Arakanese Buddhists, two Muslims and two government representatives. Both Arakanese Buddhists and the Muslims come from Rangoon; the Muslims have no relationship with Arakan. The commission shall consult with the local Buddhist and Muslim communities and convey the messages from these consultations to the central government. Arakanese representatives expressed their disagreement with the fact that the members of the commission were not local representatives from Arakan State; this concern was not shared by the Rohingya people, however. (The Irrawaddy, 17 & 24/08/16)
PHILIPPINES (MINDANAO-MNLF): President urges MNLF founder and chairman Nur Misuari, currently a fugitive, to begin dialogue
President Rodrigo Duterte publicly confirmed he had been in contact with MNLF founder and chairman Nur Misuari to convince him of the need to start peace talks. A warrant of arrest was issued against Misuari in connection with his involvement in the Zamboanga siege in late 2013, although Duterte publicly undertook to suspend his arrest and avoid placing him under government custody, granting him a safe conduct pass. Duterte, who in mid-August even travelled to Jolo island–Misuari’s birth place where it is suspected he has been a fugitive in recent years–as a symbolic measure to show his openness to dialogue, indicated that Misuari expressed his willingness to engage in swift negotiations and he had exhibited a preference for such negotiations to unfold in Malaysia under the mediation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. It is necessary to point out that in preparation for the presidential elections that were held on 9 May, in March Misuari urged his supporters to vote for Rodrigo Duterte, who he called the MNLF’s candidate. It was the first time since the MNLF was founded that its chairman made such an explicit call at the presidential election. Following his election, Duterte publicly stated his intent to involve Nur Misuari in peace talks on a number of occasions. (CNN, InterAksyon, 30/08/16)
SOUTH SUDAN: The political crisis worsens, threatening the validity of the peace agreement
The crisis generated by the serious incidents that occurred in Juba in July continued to weaken the peace agreement and to pit the different parties against each other. After replacing the opposition leader, Vice President Riek Machar, the government of President Salva Kiir went further and dismissed six ministers of the recently created Transitional Government of National Unity, who are allies of Machar. The fired ministers (of the interior, oil, education, labour, water and land and housing) were replaced by others linked to the new Vice President Taban Deng Gai. James Gatdet Dak, the spokesman for Riek Machar, declared that the dismissal of the ministers is illegal and against the peace agreement. The regional organisation IGAD continued to urge Kiir’s government to restore Riek Machar to his office. The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) approved a resolution in its 616th session in Addis Ababa, requesting Machar’s return to the vice presidency and Gai’s dismissal, as well the deployment of a protection force composed of troops from third countries to guarantee security in Juba. Festus Mogae, the chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), the highest monitoring body for the implementation of the peace agreement, said that he and other diplomats approve the appointment of the new Vice President Taban Deng Gai because “they have no other option”. The JMEC has warned that any greater deterioration in the security situation may lead to the end of oil production, which is practically the government’s only source of revenue and would affect the internal crisis even more. (Bloomberg, 01/08/2016; Reuters, 03/08/2016; Sudan Tribune, 04, 12/08/2016; The NYT, 28/08/2016)
TURKEY (SOUTHEAST): The government demands that the pro-Kurdish party HDP condemn and distance itself from the PKK if it wishes to avoid political exclusion
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım demanded that the pro-Kurdish party HDP cut all alleged ties with the armed organisation PKK and to start by condemning it. According to Yıldırım, this is the government’s condition for cooperating with the HDP, which has been excluded from the meetings and talks held between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the leaders of the opposition parties CHP and MHP since the failed coup d’état on 15 July. As part of these talks, discussions began on amending the Constitution and on the security situation in the country. The HDP, which condemned the coup attempt, has publicly denounced the PKK’s attacks, urged the government and the PKK to resume the peace process and also criticised its exclusion from multi-party meetings. Some analysts have also pointed to the initial climate of unity following the coup, with the statement made by four parliamentary groups in July, as an opportunity to address the different challenges facing the country, including the armed conflict between the state and the PKK. In any case, the government and the PKK have escalated their respective threats in recent weeks with the declaration of “total war” by the government and the PKK’s announcement that it was expanding the war to the cities and across the entire country. (Hürriyet, Firat, 1-31/08/16)
COLOMBIA: The negotiating teams reach a historic peace agreement
After four years of peace negotiations in Havana, on 24 August the negotiating teams of the government and the FARC achieved a historic peace agreement that ushers in a new political era for the country. The chief negotiator for the Colombian government, Humberto de la Calle, said that in his opinion, the historic final deal signed with the FARC guerrillas is the “best agreement possible”. Luciano Marín Arango, alias “Iván Márquez“, the chief negotiator for the FARC, has described the agreement as victory in “the most beautiful of all battles, that of peace in Colombia”. The agreement must be ratified in a referendum that will be held on 2 October, which has received approval from the Constitutional Court. President Juan Manuel Santos sent Congress the definitive text of the final agreement and informed it of the decision to hold a referendum on the date indicated, the same that was made official on 30 August. The United Nations, UNASUR, the US government and many other countries in the region and other parts of the world have been very pleased with the announcement of the final agreement. The agreement consists of six points “that aim to contribute to the transformations necessary to lay the foundations for a stable and lasting peace”: 1) comprehensive rural reform; 2) political participation: democratic opening for peacebuilding; 3) a bilateral and definitive ceasefire and cessation of hostilities and the abandonment of weapons; 4) a solution to the problem of illegal drugs; 5) victims; and 6) implementation and verification mechanisms. Both President Santos and the leader of the FARC, Rodrigo Londoño, also known as “Timochenko”, have ordered a definitive ceasefire starting on 29 August. On 3 August, the opposition announced that it will conduct a campaign against the agreement and promote the “no” vote for the referendum. Opinion polls about voters’ intentions have given contradictory results. Finally, early in the month, Carlos Arturo Velandia, a former ELN guerrilla fighter, who had been arrested in Bogota over a month ago when he returned from Spain, has been released and will assume the role of peace manager. (Efe, 2, 24-25, 28/08/2016)
INDIA (NAGALAND): Government and NSCN-IM hold new round of negotiations
The Government of India and the armed opposition group NSCN-IM have held a new round of peace conversations. After the round ended, the armed group declared that conversations were advancing positively towards a final solution to the conflict. The group highlighted the positive momentum given to the negotiations since Nerendra Modi assumed office as Prime Minister, which led to the signing of a preliminary peace agreement in August 2015. In the last round of negotiations Easter Chisi Swu, the widow of recently deceased Chisi Swu, the leader of the armed group, participated for the first time. The secretary-general of the NSCN-IM, Thingaleng Muivah, and the government negotiator, RN Ravi, issued a joint statement highlighting that negotiations are progressing in the right direction and that they expect a positive solution in a brief period of time. Since the armed group and the Indian Government signed the ceasefire agreement, there have been 80 rounds of negotiations between the parties, without reaching a definitive peace agreement. (Indian Express, 25/8/16)
PHILIPPINES (NPA): Government and NDF resume formal peace negotiations, following several years of obstruction
The government and the NDF met in Oslo between 22 and 27 August, resuming the formal talks that were halted in 2013. After the meeting, both parties summonsed one another for a second round of official negotiations in mid-October and committed to speed up the pace of the peace process and to sign a peace agreement within one year, which would grant Duterte’s government a period of five years for its subsequent implementation. Moreover, following the aforementioned meeting both parties signed an open-ended ceasefire agreement, the first such pact in three decades. Days earlier, both parties had each agreed on unilateral ceasefires for the duration of the talks in Oslo, but in the case of the CPP-NPA this ended on the last day of negotiations. The government and the NDF also agreed to sign the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms (CASER), deemed by many analysts as the foremost item in the substantive agenda, within six months and to renew the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the aspect that has generated the greatest controversy between the parties in recent years and stood in the way of the peace process amid talks with the former government of Benigno Aquino. In this regard, it should be pointed out that days before the start of talks, the government and the Supreme Court approved the temporary release of 20 NDF prisoners to form part of the delegation travelling to Oslo. Those granted temporary release included Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Tiamzon, the two senior NPA and CPP leaders in the Philippines. According to both parties, during the negotiations in Oslo important developments were achieved in relation to each of the five items addressed: the ratification of the agreements achieved thus far (more than 20); a timetable for negotiations on the three main aspects of the substantive agenda (social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the cessation of hostilities), with a commitment from both sides to speed up the pace of negotiation; the reformation of the list of individuals covered by the JASIG; amnesty for political prisoners; and a cessation of hostilities. The governmental panel is headed up by Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello, with Luis Jalandoni heading up the NDF panel. As in previous years, the Norwegian government is acting as dialogue facilitator. (Minda News, CNN, Inquirer, 26/08/16; Rappler, 21 y 26/08/16; Manila Times, 22/08/16; Philippine Star, 01, 16 y 29/08/16)
SOMALIA: Leaders agree on election calendar
Official sources announced the agreement reached between the country’s political leaders with regard to the new election calendar and the voting procedure. Presidents from the different regions of the country and the President of the Federal Government, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, with the support of the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) sponsored by the UN, held a meeting and reached an agreement on the election calendar. The commission decided that the election of the 275 members of Parliament will take place September 24 and October 10, while the election of the Senate or Upper House will finalize on September 25. More than 14,000 delegates representing the various clans in the country will choose their representatives in a system of six electoral colleges, similar to the system used in the United States. A minimum of 30% must be women. Each federal state will select its members for the Upper House. Subsequently, both chambers will elect a new president. The current president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is one of a dozen candidates. The UN Secretary-General, among other political leaders, has welcomed the announcement, and has also applauded the commitment by the National Leadership Forum (NLF), which brings together the various regional and government leaders and the Federal Parliament) to ensure the transition towards a multi-party system in 2018 in preparation for the 2020 elections. The NLF has agreed that those elected in 2016 should join a political party within two years or resign, as part of efforts to set aside clan-based politics. (Garowe Online, 06/08/16; VOA, 07/08/16; Shabelle Media Network, 10/08/16)
UKRAINE (EAST): Agreement on a truce for the start of the school year
The Trilateral Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia, OSCE) and representatives of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk agreed on a ceasefire to coincide with the start of the school year. After the round of meetings of the trilateral mechanism and of the working groups, the special representative in Ukraine of the rotating chairperson-in-office of the OSCE and OSCE representative in the Trilateral Contact Group, Martin Sajdik, announced that the parties had expressed the need for a permanent ceasefire in relation to the school year, beginning on the night of 31 August. Calls for containment increased during August. Among them, US Vice President Joe Biden urged Ukraine and Russia to show restraint amidst a spike in tension between both countries. Following incidents in Crimea in August, Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the usefulness of the negotiating process, which under Normandy format brings together Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. However, he later expressed his willingness to continue participating in the process. He also announced that the leaders of Germany, France and Russia would meet during the G20 summit in early September to address the conflict. All three leaders held a related telephone conversation on 23 August. Other diplomatic moves took place during the month. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Russia in mid-August to address the crises in Ukraine and Syria. Both expressed their support for the Minsk negotiating process. Lavrov stated that he was ready to provide “irrefutable” proof of Ukrainian plans to conduct acts of sabotage in Crimea, while Ukraine continued to deny the accusations. Steinmeier urged both sides to investigate the events. (OSCE, Reuters, RFE/RL, 1-31/08/16)
Puedes suscribirte al observatorio mensual de la ECP en https://llistes.uab.es
Si deseas darte de baja, haz click aquí
Para cualquier comentario o sugerencia puedes dirigirte a:
Tel. +34 93 586 88 42   |   http://escolapau.uab.cat   |   pr.conflictes.escolapau@uab.cat
Edifici MRA (Mòdul Recerca A), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona)
Si tienes problemas para ver este mensaje, haz clic aquí o escribe en la barra de tu explorador http://escolapau.uab.cat/procesos/08i_pro.html

En cumplimiento de la Ley Orgánica 15/1999, del 13 de diciembre, de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal, la Escola de Cultura de Pau informa que vuestros datos son tratados con confidencialidad e incorporados a nuestra base de datos general, a fin y efecto de poderos informar de nuestras actividades.