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U.S. delegation assesses security situation in West Darfur

SUDAN, Geneina : Sudanese children pose for a picture at the Abuzar camp near West Darfur state capital Geneina on February 2, 2016. (Photo AFP/ Ashraf Shazly)
August 27, 2018 (KHARTOUM/ELGENEINA) A delegation from the United States embassy in Khartoum on Monday visited West Darfur State to check on the security and humanitarian situation reported the official news agency SUNA

According to the news agency, the US embassy delegation led by the head of political and economic section Robert Wong met with West Darfur governor Hussein Yassen Hamad and the security committee.

“This visit comes within the framework of America’s interest in developing bilateral relations between the two countries,” said Wong

During the meeting, the two sides discussed security and humanitarian situation as well as voluntary return programme of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.

The meeting also discussed official efforts to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other explosive remnants of war.

For his part, Hamad briefed the U.S. delegation on the situation in Darfur, stressing the war has ended and the region is now moving from humanitarian to development assistance.

He underlined the security and humanitarian situation is stable, pointing to the efforts of the regular forces besides the initiatives launched by the official and civil organs to maintain peace and stability.

He also pointed to the positive impact of the disarmament campaign as well as the implementation of the National Document and outcome of the national dialogue.

The governor further said West Darfur is witnessing a large voluntary return of refugees from eastern Chad and IDPs due to the stable security situation.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), admitting that the security situation has improved.

However, it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

Last June, Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam stated that the government has no plan to forcibly evicting the IDPs camps, but has set a number of options for IDPs, including resettlement in the area where they are, or in another area according to their desire.

Since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011, the government constructed several villages and vowed to support IDPs who return to their home areas.

However, IDPs representatives in several camps say they refuse to return to their areas before the disarmament of the armed militias and the evacuation of their land from the newcomers.

In a report released on 5 February, UNOCHA estimates there are about 386,000 returnees in Sudan conflict areas including Darfur and the Two Areas.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.