Home | News    Wednesday 22 February 2006

AU envoy discuses UN force deployment with Darfur Rebels

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Feb 21, 2006 (ABUJA) — The AU special envoy in the Sudan Baba Gana Kingibe held a series of separate meetings with Darfur rebels groups in Abuja in order to discuss the eventual transition from AU to UN force in Sudan’s Darfur.

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Baba Gana Kingibe (R), African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) chief, speaks to reporters in Khartoum, Oct 1, 2005. (AFP).

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission in the Sudan, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, from 19 to 20 February 2006, held separate briefing sessions in Abuja with the Sudanese rebels groups, consulting them to elicit their views on the proposed transition from the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to a UN force, in order to report back to the Ministerial Session of the AU Peace and Security Council scheduled for 3 March 2006.

The meetings were chaired by the Head of the AU Mediation Team, Ambassador Sam Ibok.

The AU Peace and Security Council had, on 12 January 2006, taken a decision expressing support, in principle, for a transition from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to a UN operation, and had requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to initiate appropriate consultations with the concerned stakeholders, including the Movements, on the modalities for the proposed transition.

According to a press statement issued by the AMIS spokesperson, Noureddine Mezni, Kingibe explained that the UN which was already handling humanitarian activities in Darfur would take over the Security aspects of the mission, while the Political responsibility including the Abuja Peace Process and implementation of an eventual peace Agreement, would remain with the African Union.

Kingibe stated that AMIS which had performed creditably, easing the tension and reducing incidences of gender based violence, was the first ever African initiative by Africans in solidarity with their African brothers and sisters under the new principle of non-indifference.

The transition, he said, was inevitable in the long run for the simple reason that it would create a more efficient single Peace Support Operation for the whole of the Sudan, bringing coherence and synergy to post-conflict operations in the country.

The Special Representative emphasized that the UN would, in principle, not move in without the approval of the Government of the Sudan, a peace Agreement or at least, a working and holding Ceasefire Agreement.

He added that it might take up to 9 months to build up the 15,000 strong Force that would be needed by the UN. Such a Force, he stressed, would have African character, and would not exclude troops from the existing AMIS forces.

Meanwhile, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union would reinforce its technical and operational, as well as its command and control capacities. The African Union, he further stated, would hand over AMIS in full confidence in the success of the mission and not out of any sense of failure.

Kingibe called on the rebel movements to continue to lend their support to the AU Mission and the ongoing Talks, and invited them to convey their views on the proposed UN take over.

The leaders of rebels groups commended the AU for its AMIS initiative; and the latter, for its role in stabilizing the situation on the ground.

They took note of the transition proposals and the detailed information given by Ambassador Kingibe, and indicated that the conclusions of their decision-making organs would be conveyed to the AU Commission in due course.

(ST)

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