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Sudan’s ruling party rejects opening new UNAMID base in Jebel Marra

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July 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - A leading member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party has rejected on Thursday the opening of a new temporary base of Darfur hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) in Golo area of Jebel Marra, Central Darfur State.

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SLM-AW fighters on guard during a visit by UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra, West Darfur, on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

"The Jebel Marra area of Golo does not need new UN forces. Darfur has become safe and stable thanks to the efforts made by the competent authorities to protect civilians in Darfur," said al-Daw al-Faki the secretary of the Greater Darfur Secretariat of the party in statements to the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC).

The UN Security Council last June decided to reduce the peacekeeping mission in Darfur region, admitting that the security situation has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as a rebel faction refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

Earlier this week, the U.S. embassy in Khartoum called on the warring parties to commit themselves to a cessation of hostilities and urged the government to authorise a UNAMID base in the mountainous area.

"Recent nutrition screenings and surveys show critical levels of severe acute malnutrition indicating a complex humanitarian crisis that demands an urgent, multi-sector response," said a statement released on Tuesday by the embassy after praising the government efforts to improve the humanitarian conditions.

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 decision of the Security Council to reduce the military component of the peacekeeping forces by 50% confirms that the conflict in Darfur has become the past and that the region has turned towards peace and construction and development and there is no justification for the establishment of new forces in Darfur," al-Faki stressed.

He further said that the government would continue its efforts to complete the achievement of peace in areas that need development. Also, he added that it would provide all forms of assistance and facilities enabling the joint African Union-UN operation to implement the reduction of troops in the coming period.

Sudanese officials, up-to-date, expressed government readiness to fully cooperate with the hybrid peacekeeping mission to implement the changes in the mission’s redeployment.

Last week during a visit by the head of U.N. peacekeeping operations John Pierre Lacroix to Central Darfur, the Deputy Governor, Madthar Adam Omer reiterated the government commitment to cooperate with the international community in this respect.

He added that the decision to open a new base 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.

The 15 member body 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.

(ST)

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