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Sudan reiterates threats to cancel UNAMID mandate

August 17, 2011 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan has once again threatened to expel the UN-AU Joint Peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) over the contents of a UN Security Council’s resolution extending the mission’s mandate.

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In this Thursday, July 14, 2011 photo released by the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), UNAMID Rwandan troops escort returneesduring a repatriation operation for more than 200 displaced families returning from Aramba to their original village, Sehjanna, north Darfur, Sudan (AP PHOTOS)

UNAMID, the world’s largest UN-funded peacekeeping operation, was established under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter with a mandate to carry out robust protection of civilians in Sudan’s western region and an authorized strength of 26,000 military and police personnel.

On 29 July, the 15-member UN Security Council voted the extension of UNAMID for one more year, asking the world’s largest peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s troubled region to make full use of its capabilities and prioritize the protection of civilians; safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access.

The resolution further asked Khartoum to create suitable conditions to engage a process for political dialogue in Darfur and remove a number of restrictions in freedom of expression and other rights limited by the state of emergency law imposed in the region.

Sudan has quickly denounced the resolution, saying it attempts to manipulate the mission’s mandate and tarnish the image of the country.

In an interview with the subtly pro-government newspaper Al-Ray al-Amm on Wednesday, Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti challenged UNAMID’s to act on the seventh chapter under which it was established.

According to Karti, UNMAID forces existing in Darfur move under the protection of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the mission frequently asks the army to secure routes for peacekeepers to take.

He further pointed out that the government had officially informed UNAMID that its forces will not be allowed to stay unless according to the former agreement on its establishment between Sudan, UN and AU.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has vowed to use all possible means to oppose the UN’s Security Council on the extension of UNMAID’s mandate.

In a press conference in the capital Khartoum on Wednesday, the NCP’s secretary of political mobilization Haj Magid Siwar said that the resolution was nothing but an episode in a trend of attempts to fragment Sudan and debilitate its government.

In Siwar’s view, the resolution contains negative aspects that contradict what is happening in Darfur. Siwar further revealed that the Sudanese ministry of foreign affairs intends to conduct contacts with the African Union to curtail the resolution and mobilize the public opinion in Darfur against it.

(ST)