Home | News    Tuesday 30 June 2015

UNSC extends UNAMID mandate for another year, dampens Sudan hope of troops drawdown

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June 29, 2015 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations Security Council on Monday extended for 12 months the mandate of the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and tied the exit strategy to the progress in the security and humanitarian situation.

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United Nations Security Council meeting which unanimously adopted resolution 2228 (2015) extending the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) June 29, 2015 (UN Photo)

Sudanese government called to speed up discussions on the exit strategy pointing to the progress to achieve peace in Darfur. Also, Khartoum criticized reports by UN officials about new wave of displacements caused by the fighting between the Sudanese army and rebel groups.

One the other hand, rights groups and activists campaigned in support of the maintain of hybrid mission, calling to stop discussions on the exit strategy and to empower the mission to protect civilians. They further urged the Council to end its support to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and to seek a new framework for peace in Sudan.

The 15-member body adopted unanimously the United Kingdom drafted resolution extending UNAMID mandate for one year until 30 June 2016. The decision provides that the peacekeeping operation will consist of 15,845 military personnel, 1,583 police personnel and 13 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each.

The resolution pointed to the "lack of progress on the benchmarks and the significant deterioration of the security situation". It further reiterated its "endorsement of UNAMID’s revised strategic priorities (...) namely: the protection of civilians, the facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel; mediation between the Government of Sudan and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of on the basis of Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and support to the mediation of community conflict".

EXIT STRATEGY

Regarding the contested withdrawal of the joint peacekeeping mission, the resolution calls for an early resumption of consultations between Sudan, AU and UN to develop an exit strategy and requests the UN chief to build his recommendations on the conclusions reached by the tripartite working team.

“In accordance with the mission’s benchmarks,” the Council calls for an early resumption of its consultations, and “looks forward to the Secretary-General’s recommendations, including by building on any agreed recommendations of the Joint Working Group.”

What’s in Blue, a website reporting on the UN Security Council activities , said the text of this paragraph emphasizes on the Secretary-General’s authority to provide recommendations on the exit strategy, while also noting that the tripartite working group has an important role to play in feeding into those recommendations.

The matter was at the centre of marathon discussions among the 15-member boy until Sunday 28 June.

WAYS TO ACHIEVE PEACE

Reports from the Security Council say the United States and UK sought to insist on the need for a negotiated settlement for the 12-year conflict in Darfur within a new comprehensive process but the African countries, China and Russia successfully imposed the same paragraph used in resolution (2173-2014) supporting the Doha framework document.

UNAMID’s benchmarks, attached to the resolution as an annex, stress on the need for an inclusive peace process through mediation between the government and non-signatory armed movements on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DPDD).

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) on 22 June stressed the need to address Darfur conflict as part of a holistic approach to achieve peace and democratic reform in Sudan. It further mentioned the national dialogue initiative of President Omer al-Bashir and its roadmap to facilitate this internal process adopted in September 2014.

Last week, Khartoum quickly rejected the AUPSC’s call for a holistic approach saying that the DDPD is the only basis to settle Darfur conflict and called upon the African body to keep supporting it.

US & UK: NO EXIT FOR UNAMID

US and UK ambassadors to the United Nations welcomed the extension of the UNAMID mandate for and emphasized that the resolution provides no withdrawal for the peacekeepers unless a peace agreement is reached ending violence on civilians.

The United States ambassador Samantha Power said that given the "very high level of violence and very large numbers of displaced, UNAMID’s presence is needed now more than ever."

“We have seen more violent displacement of people in Darfur this last year than in 10 years. 10 years ago, however, Darfur enjoyed a perch at the top of the international peace and security agenda. Today, the suffering of the people of Darfur has become less visible. Our attention has been diverted. The more than 2.5 million internally displaced and 4.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance today demand an urgent refocusing and recommitment to protecting the civilians threatened in Darfur and, as others have noted, to advancing peace,” Power said.

“Sadly, given the very high level of violence and very large numbers of displaced, UNAMID’s presence is needed now more than ever, and this resolution makes clear that any refinement of the mission will be based on conditions on the ground and progress toward achieving the clearly identified benchmarks, now annexed to the mandate in the resolution”.

The United Kingdom envoy at the UN Matthew Rycroft also echoed this sentiment.

“The need for this mission is greater than ever. As Council members heard so powerfully in the Arria meeting earlier this month, last year saw the worst suffering for a decade. Darfur now has more than 2.5 million long-term displaced people; Sudan has the greatest number of IDPs in Africa. Millions go hungry and humanitarian access is too often limited by parties to the conflict. And we remain deeply concerned at the growing reports of abuses and violations of human rights, including those that emerged from Tabit last year,” Rycroft said.

“(U)ntil the Government of Sudan and the UN are working together to resolve the terrible situation in Darfur, we cannot consider imminent exit for this mission. We simply cannot afford to lose focus. In renewing UNAMID’s mandate for another year, we have taken the right step to prevent this from happening,” he added.

However, Sudan’s deputy ambassador Hassan Hamid Hassan downplayed the insecurity in Darfur calling it a mere result of "tribal clashes”.

SUDAN: UNAMID EXIT SUPPORTS PEACE

In Khartoum, the Sudanese foreign minister , Ibrahim Ghandour , issued a statement welcoming the resolution, pointing it calls for the quick resumption of discussions on the exit strategy.

Ghandour said the call to immediately resume the joint working group consultations confirms the view of the Sudanese government that the team has done important work on evaluating the situation and reached the conviction to withdraw from West Darfur state, Tolus, Um Kadada and Al-Maliha areas in North and South Darfur states.

"The UNAMID exit strategy is needed to arrange future relationship with UNAMID, including the benefit of some of (its) financial resources for development," he further said.

The minister further called on the holdout rebel groups to join peace and to support the return of displaced civilians to their villages. He added that the security situation is stable as there is no clashes with the armed groups.

During the past months the Sudanese government asserts that they crushed the insurgency in Darfur and reduced it to few pockets and that the recent wave of displacement was caused by the tribal violence that they are seeking to contain.

Sudanese officials also say the exit strategy will allow the closure of IDPs camps and the return of its residents to their villages. Khartoum accuses the rebel groups of seeking to politicize the camps.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 30 June 2015 18:34, by Altruistic

    That’s a slap in the face

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