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UN, AU propose closure of UNAMID sites in Darfur except for Jebel Marra

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UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo
June 11, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - UN Peacekeeping Chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Monday proposed to close all the UNMAID sites in Darfur region expect the greater Jebel Marra area and to increase peacebuilding and development.

Lacroix made his proposal during a briefing on an African Union-United Nations report on the strategic review of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur. He said the mission needs to be adapted to Darfur current realities.

Based on the idea that the security situation is relatively stable, he said the peacekeeping should be focused in the site of continued conflict in Jebel Marra while the capabilities of the UN agencies, funds and programmes should serve to consolidate the fragile stability in the rest of Darfur.

"The area of operations would be reduced to 13 team sites in the greater Jebel Marra and the Mission headquarters moving from El Fasher to Zalingei, Central Darfur,". Lacroix proposed.

The 13 sites of peacekeeping in Jebel Marra have been identified in the report as Kutum, Saraf Omra, Kabkabiyah, Tawilah, Sortony and Shangil Tobaya (North Darfur), Zalingei, Nertiti and Golo (Central Darfur) and Kalma, Kass, Menawashei and Khor Abeche (South Darfur).

Further, the super camp in El Fasher will be transformed into a logistics hub.

In line with the two-year plan, "the Force strength would be reduced from 8,735 to 4,050 military personnel, and the police component would be reduced from 2,500 officers to 1,870," Lacroix said.

Here again, the report provides more details about the timetable indicating that by 31 December the forces will be downsized from 8,735 to 5,470 military personnel. Then, by 30 June 2019, the overall strength of the force would be reduced to 4,050.

The United Nations and African Union emphasized that the two-year plan and the exit of UNAMID are basically linked to the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), particularly the dispositions related to land ownership, protection of civilians and basic services to civilians in Darfur.

"We also call on donor countries to provide the necessary financial support so that early recovery, peacebuilding and development activities can be undertaken in a sustainable manner," stressed the report.

The Security Council will renew the UNAMID mandate by the end of the month, before its expiry on 30 June.

LIFT OF ARMS EMBARGO

Sudanese deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Magdi Ahmed Mofdal called on the Security Council to consider the lift of arms embargo on Darfur region, arguing that the need to deploy Sudanese troops in the region after the UNAMID withdrawal justifies this measure.

"The current situation has demonstrated the importance of enabling the Sudanese armed forces to take the initiative and extend their control on the whole region of Darfur and fill the vacuum after the departure of UNAMID forces. This situation requires the lifting of arms embargo on Darfur," said Mofdal.

The Sudanese diplomat further called to review the individual sanctions on some Sudanese officials.

"There are two options with regard to the listed individuals, namely, either to delist them from the sanctions list or to list Abdel Wahid Mohamed al-Nur in implementation of the Council’ resolution (1591 (2005)), which warned about his designation on the sanctions list," he said.

On 10 May 2018, in a consultations meeting on UNAMID, the Sudanese ambassador extensively spoke about the case of al-Nur and requested the 15-member body to "carefully consider" al-Nur’s case.

"The ongoing normalization of the situation in Darfur shall not be held hostage to the misjudgements, bad faith and whims of Mr Abdel Wahid," he said.

(ST)

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