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Security Council to start discussions on third phase of UNAMID withdrawal

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A photo released on 1 March 2018 showing an UNAMID integrated team conducts a humanitarian and security assessment mission to Golo and Rokero, Central Darfur ( UNAMID Photo)

June 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - UN Security Council will start on Monday discussions on the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as it is expected to reduce it again in the third phase of force reconfiguration.

According to its agenda for Monday 11 June, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will brief the Council on the UNAMID the strategic review. Also, the briefing will be followed by a closed-door consultations meeting.

By the end of the month, the 15 member body will renew the UNAMID mandate, prior to its expiry on 30 June.

Also, by the end of June, the hybrid operation will conclude phase two of its reconfiguration which authorized a further reduction of troops from 11,395 to 8,735 military personnel and reduced police ceilings from 2,888 to 2,500 police personnel.

There were reports saying that force will be drastically reduced in the third phase as the withdrawal of UNAMID troops from 11 sites closed under phase one had so far shown no overall adverse impact.

In press statements on Saturday, Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m said the second phase of the Mission’s exit strategy is nearing its end. He further pointed out that Sudan is preparing itself for the third phase of the Mission’s exit.

A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, AU and the UN has 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.

In September 2017, the Mission completed the first phase.

The UN and the AU excluded Central Darfur State from the first and second phase of the reconfiguration plan, due to the existence of rebels in the mountainous areas.

Instead, it decided to establish a new base in Golo to boost protection of civilians in Central Darfur and to be prepared for probable displacement as a result of new military operations in the state.

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.

(ST)

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