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AUPSC renews UNAMID mandate, reduces force strength

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A Nigerian peacekeeper plays a tuba trombone in a march to celebrate the Peacekeepers Day in El Fasher on May 29, 2017 (UNAMID Photo)
June 14, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - The African Union Peace and Security Council of (AUPSC) on Monday extended for 12 months the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Also, it decided to reduce by nearly a half the strength of the hybrid peacekeeping mission which should also see her mandate changed to peacebuilding operation.

The release of the AUPSC resolution on the UNAMID released on the same day, the UN Security Council discussed the strategic review of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur. The UN resolution on the hybrid force is expected to be endorsed on 18 June.

In its resolution seen by Sudan Tribune, the AUPSC praised Sudan’s cooperation with the Joint Strategic Review Team and constructive approach to the review of UNAMID, welcoming the report of the joint working group on the Mission’s exit strategy which acknowledged an improvement in the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur.

The Council as expected condemned “the recent incursion of armed groups into Darfur”, expressing concern over “alleged claims of use of neighbouring countries as launching grounds for such acts”.

It noted that the security situation in Darfur remains fragile in spite of the significant progress made, pointing to “a number of challenges that may impede the speedy restoration of sustainable peace, security, stability and reconciliation, as well as socio-economic recovery remain”.

“In spite of the improvement of the security situation in the past months, a total of 2.7 million people are displaced, of whom 2.1 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, and that 300,000 Sudanese refugees are located in neighbouring Chad,” reads the resolution.

The resolution also underscored the relevance of the new strategic orientation for UNAMID as proposed in the Special Report of the Joint Strategic Review Team.

“Namely a two-pronged approach combining peacebuilding in the areas outside the Jebel Marra area, where there has not been fighting for an extended period of time, and peacekeeping and emergency attention in the Greater Jebel Marra area, due to the insecurity prevailing in the areas, which is preventing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from voluntarily returning to their homes,” it added.

The Council endorsed the recommendations team on several issues including, the effective implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), protection of civilians, the inter-communal conflict and the establishment of Jebel Marra task force and reconfiguration of UNAMID in two phases of six months each.

“Resulting in the reduction of the strength of the military component by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase, it being understood that the Mission shall retain adequate and mobile quick response capabilities to be able to respond to security challenges as they arise,” said the resolution.

The Council expressed its continued support for the AU High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) efforts “towards an all-inclusive political process linked to the national dialogue and a national constitutional reform process”.

It strongly condemned the “continued refusal by Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid (SLA/AW) to join the mediation process”, calling to impose targeted sanctions against its leadership if it persists in its current attitude.

The SLM-AW rejects to join the African Union process for peace in Darfur saying the government has first to re-establish security, protect civilians, disarm militias, stop land grabbing and return stolen lands to its owners. Following what the group can discuss the root causes of the conflict.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) is expected to renew the mandate for the UNAMID as it will expire on 30 June. The Council will discuss the matter on 14 June and will grant the mandate extension for an additional year on 27 June.

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.

(ST)

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