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N. Darfur, UNAMID discuss implementation of exit strategy

UNAMID Sector North officially handed over the Mission's team site in Malha to the Government of Sudan on 16 August 2017 (UNAMID photo)
March 9, 2019 (EL-FASHER) Governor of North Darfur State Al-Nai’m Khidir on Saturday has met with the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) chief, Jeremiah Mamabolo.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the gradual withdrawal of the Mission from Darfur as well as the handing over of its sites to the government of the North Darfur.

The North Darfur governor briefed Mamabolo on the situation in the country following President Omer al-Bashir’s declaration of a one-year state of emergency.

He praised UNAMID’s efforts to support development and stability, saying the government would use the Mission’s sites for humanitarian, health, cultural and other civil purposes.

He also welcomed the visit of the UN headquarters’ delegation which would arrive in El-Fasher on Sunday to assess the security situation and discuss the withdrawal of the Mission from Darfur.

For his part, Mamabolo praised cooperation and coordination between the Mission and the government of North Darfur during the previous period which facilitated the process of handing over UNAMID’s sites to the government.

He expressed his satisfaction with the plan of the North Darfur government to use the Mission’s sites for humanitarian and civilian purposes.

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.

In June 2017, 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 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.

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.

(ST)