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Sudan welcomes UNSC plan to downsize UNAMID

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UNAMID peacekeepers on patrol in Sortony, North Darfur on 10 Nov 2016 (UNAMID Photo)
June 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government Friday has welcomed the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) plan to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) saying the move underscores the stability of the situation in the region.

On Wednesday, United Nations secretary general officially proposed to change the mandate of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and to reduce by a half its troops.

The proposal was made by the Assistant Secretary-General for UN peacekeeping operations, El Ghassim Wane in a briefing before the Security Council on the recommendations of the Special Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General on the strategic review of UNAMID.

The hybrid mission will be reduced by withdrawing the military personnel 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.

Regional and international officials agree that the improvement of the security situation is the result of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and the defeat of holdout groups that refuse to join the framework agreement admitting that the situation in Jebel Marra requires some consideration.

In a press release on Friday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir welcomed the UN secretary general report describing the intended resolution to downsize the Mission as “unprecedented”.

He also welcomed the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) condemnation of the recent attacks by armed groups in East and North Darfur.

Earlier this week, the AUSPC 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”.

Khidir reiterated government resolve to achieve peace, stability and security across the country, renewing commitment to continue cooperation and coordination with the UN and the AU to ensure the success of the UNAMID until it withdraws fully from the region.

Meanwhile, the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Friday quoted Sudan’s government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman as saying the UNSC move comes at the request of his government, saying the latter confirms the situation in Darfur is stable.

He added there is no justification for the Mission’s presence in the region as Darfur enjoys security, describing the UNSC move as “implicit recognition” that rebellion has come to an end.

Osman further said the UNSC move enhances government’s efforts to achieve stability and full lift of sanctions imposed on the country.

The UNSC is expected to adopt this resolution on 27 June while the African Union Peace and Security Council has already endorsed its decision on 12 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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