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UN team to arrive in Sudan on Monday to assess UNAMID: sources

UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo
April 1, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - A review team from the United Nations headquarters would arrive in Sudan on Monday to conduct a strategic assessment for the performance of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said diplomatic sources

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Sunday quoted unnamed diplomatic sources as saying the review team would meet with the Sudanese side of the tripartite committee tasked with developing the UNAMID exit strategy.

The same sources pointed out that the visit comes within the framework of the continued consultations among the Sudanese government, the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) on the Mission’s mandate and its exit strategy.

It added the review team would conduct field visits to Darfur states to inspect the situation on the ground and meet with the governors of Darfur’s five states, saying the team would also meet with the Mission officials.

According to the sources, the team would produce a report to the AU and the UN containing the outcome of the visit and the recommendations.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has discussed with Sudan’s permanent envoy to the UN, Omer Dahab, steps being implemented so far on the gradual exit of the UNAMID.

According to SMC, Dahab said he reviewed with the UN chief the ongoing downsizing of the Mission and the remaining phases of the exit strategy.

He added the meeting also discussed the continued cooperation and coordination between the Sudanese government and the UN on the implementation of the Mission’s exit strategy.

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, AU and UN has been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.

In June 2017, the UN Security Council extended the UNAMID mandate for another year and redefined its mandate to play a double role. In Jebel Marra, the force has to continue to protect civilians and ensure the delivery of emergency relief. In the other areas of Darfur, the mission has to focus on stabilising the situation.

Also, the AU and the UN 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 seven team sites in the second phase.

In September 2017, the Mission completed the first phase.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

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.