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Sudan, France discuss recent developments in Darfur

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An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. (UNAMID An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. Photo UNAMID)
April 1, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - A visiting French delegation headed by the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Alexis Lamek Saturday has discussed with Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m the situation in Darfur region.

According to a press release from the foreign ministry, the French delegation also discussed the “work of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and its exit strategy in light of the positive developments and improved situation in Darfur which requires downsizing the mission’s troops according to the outcome of the joint working group”.

The press release pointed that al-Nai’m has briefed the French delegation on the efforts exerted by the Sudanese government and the peace partners to address issues of IDPs and arms collection and control in Darfur.

He underscored the need for France to play a greater role to support peace efforts in Sudan.

The two sides also pointed to cooperation among the Sudanese government, UNAMID, United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) which was reflected in the visit of the mission’s strategic review team last month.

It is noteworthy that the French delegation Wednesday visited North Darfur state where it was briefed by the governor Abdel-Wahid Youssef on the recent developments in the region.

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, AU and UN has been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.

Last June, the UN Security Council (UNSC) extended the mandate of the mission until 30 June 2017, stressing that the situation in the western Sudan region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.

It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

On 27 March, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Burkina Faso has decided to implement a decision it took earlier to withdraw its troops from the UNAMID, pointing Sudan will bear the financial cost for the transfer of the troops.

UN agencies say there are nearly 2.5 million displaced persons in Darfur, despite the signing of a peace agreement in Doha in July 2011.

(ST)

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