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UN official urges to authorise new UNAMID base in Darfur’s Jebel Marra

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Head of UN peacekeeping operationsJean Pierre Lacroix speaks to reporters following a meeting with N. Darfur governor (L)in El-Fasher on 21 July 2017 (UNMAID photo)
July 22, 2017 (ZALINGEI) - The head of U.N. peacekeeping operations John Pierre Lacroix on Saturday paid a visit to Central Darfur State where he inspected the security situation and called to authorise the opening of a UNAMID base in Gulu area.

Lacroix made the request for the during a meeting with the Central Darfur Deputy Governor, Madthar Adam Omer.

Gulu area which is located in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra, is at 56 km. east of the state capital; Zalingei. It was the first area attacked by the rebels in February 2003.

The Sudanese official expressed the readiness of his government to fully cooperate with the hybrid peacekeeping mission.

He added that the decision would be made after consulting the joint committee between the government and the United Nations, which is authorised to decide on the redeployment of peacekeepers in Darfur provided in the recent resolution of the UN Security Council.

On 29 June, the Council decide to extend the mandate of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) until 30 June 2018.

It further decided that UNAMID’s troop and police ceiling shall be reduced to 8,735 military personnel and 2,500 police personnel, including individual police officers and members of formed police units.

However, it provided to maintain peacekeepers in Jebel Marra to protect civilians due to the refusal of rebel group to join the peace process or to commit itself to a unilateral cessation of hostilities and the possible clashes with the army that may affect civilians.

Also, by 1 January 2018, the UNAMID has to report to the Security Council on the government "flexibility to open and close UNAMlD operating bases as necessary, including the establishment of a temporary operating base in Golo".

The Central Darfur deputy governor told the visiting international official that his government is pursuing plans for reconstruction and promotion of peace and stability in the Central Darfur. He added that police and courts are opened in the state.

He stressed that all these efforts besides the development projects and services aim to encourage the displaced civilians to return to their areas of origin and to participate in the development of the state.

He further called to put pressure on the holdout groups to lay down weapons and join the peace process, pointing to the declaration of unilateral cessation of hostilities by the government.

For his part, the UN official said that the purpose of their visit to Darfur is to closely monitor the situation in the region and to assess the government seriousness to achieve peace and creating a suitable atmosphere for the return of displaced persons and refugees to their villages.

Also, the French diplomat said the visit aims to follow up the plan put forward by the joint committee to reduce the UNAMID mission in Darfur.

(ST)

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