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Sudan sticks to UNAMID exit from Darfur : minister

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May 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government Thursday said it sticks to end the hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur region (UNAMID) and to speed up the tripartite discussions on its withdrawal.

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A UNAMID peacekeeper from from Burkina Fasso and based in Forobaranga, West Darfur, checks a map during a patrol to Tamar village. (Photo UNAMID/Albert González Farran)

Sudan, African Union and the United Nations since two years hold discussions on the UNAMID’s exit from western Sudan. Khartoum says the security situation is stable and its efforts to curb the tribal violence have been successful.

But the UN proposed a limited and gradual withdrawal from some sectors saying the full exit should intervene after the signing of peace agreement with all the rebel groups and to ensure the protection of displaced civilians.

A joint AU and UN team is currently inspecting the security situation in different areas in the region including the areas the army recently recaptured from the rebels in Jebel Marra and IDPs camps in North Darfur. The assessment report of the mission should serve to redefine the positions of the two sides during the upcoming meetings.

Sudanese foreign ministry Thursday said it would renew its demand to not extend the mandate of the UNAMID for another year during the upcoming discussion on the situation in Darfur next June at the UN Security Council.

"The position of the Sudanese government is very clear. Time has come for the UNAMID to leave Darfur," said State Minister at the Foreign Affairs Ministry Kamal Ismail in a press conference held in Khartoum.

Ismail further said a number of countries funding the hybrid mission have officially expressed their concern over its indefinite continuation.

However, the minister said that the UN Security Council probably would extends Darfur mission for another year.

"Everything is possible and if the committee reached a specific agreement, a time frame will be developed for the exit strategy," he said.

The state minister underscored that the ongoing discussions between the government, African Union and United Nations would take a time.

He added that the three parties are negotiating a gradual and smooth exit taking into account the logistical aspects of the operation. He said the tripartite mechanism will hand over its conclusions to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to include it to his trimesterial report.

Last week, , Chief of General Staff of Burkina Faso army, General Pingrenoma Zagre, disclosed that he asked the President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré to withdraw their 850 soldiers participating in Darfur peacekeeping mission.

Zagre pointed to the growing security threats posed by Jihadist groups in the Sahel and Western Africa region.

Since an attack on a hotel in the capital Ouagadougou last January, Burkina Faso is targeted by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group. The West African country is closely monitoring its porous borders with Nigeria where Boko Haram militants are active.

(ST)

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