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North Darfur governor briefs UNAMID on political developments in Sudan

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UNAMID Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) during a routine patrol near Tabit area, North Darfur on 25 November 2018 (UNAMID Photo)

February 25, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The government of North Darfur State on Monday has briefed the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on the recent developments in the country.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December. The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for President Omer al-Bashir to step down.

On Friday, al-Bashir declared a one-year state of emergency and dissolved the federal and states governments appointing 18 militaries as governors of the states.

On Monday, the secretary general of North Darfur government Mohamed Abdel-Karim met with a delegation from the Mission headed by UNAMID Sector North, Head of Office, Ms Andrea Charles-Browne.

During the meeting, Abdel-Karim stressed his government’s commitment to continue to cooperate and coordinate with the Mission in order to fulfil its mandate particularly on issues pertaining to implementation of agreements, joint work committees, safety measures and movement of the Mission.

He praised the Mission’s initiative to support his government’s efforts to conduct Sudan’s high school exam, calling on UNAMID to provide logistical support to ensure the success of the exam.

For her part, Ms Andrea has praised the satisfactory briefing provided by Abdel-Karim, stressing the Mission’s commitment to cooperate with the North Darfur government on all fields.

She expressed satisfaction with the government pledge for continued cooperation with the Mission, announcing readiness to provide the necessary support to ensure the success of Sudan’s high school exam.

The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in 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. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million are displaced.

In June 2017, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID 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.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) admitted that the security situation in Darfur 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 Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) refuses to declare a unilateral truce or to engage in peace negotiations.

Last July, the UNSC unanimously decided to extend for one year the mandate of the UNAMID and also to reduce the number of its troops in line with an exit strategy aiming to close the hybrid operation in two years.

(ST)

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