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UNSC may decide partial withdrawal of UNAMID troops from Darfur

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Indonesian peacekeepers on El-Fasher - Zalingei road on 12 February 2010 (UNAMID - Olivier Chassot Photo)

May 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government Thursday said the UN Security Council (UNSC) will include the implementation of recommendations of the tripartite team tasked with developing an exit strategy for the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in its decision to renew the mandate of the Mission in June.

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 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.

In press statements after the meeting of presidential aide Ibrahim Mahmoud with the visiting delegation of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), Sudan’s permanent representative to the AU, Jamal Ibrahim, said the tripartite team has signed the exit decision of the Mission from some areas in Darfur.

“A top tripartite team will meet on 22 May to approve the recommendations [of the working group] and report to the AUPSC and the UNSC on the issue,” he said.

In a report to the UNSC on 26 May, the former UN chief, Ban Ki-moon said the Mission suggested during the negotiations to withdraw gradually from West Darfur, and leave from three bases in North and South Darfur, in areas that do not currently necessitate its presence, noting that withdrawal from other areas would only be possible if a ceasefire and protection of displaced are ensured.

On Thursday the visiting AUPSC delegation acknowledged the improvement of the situation in Darfur region, however, it underscored that security challenges in Jebel Marra area prevent the return of displaced civilians to their homes.

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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