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Sudan, UN discuss arrangements for third phase of UNAMID’s withdrawal

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UNAMID Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) during a routine patrol near Tabit area, North Darfur on 25 November 2018 (UNAMID Photo)
February 12, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - A meeting between Sudanese officials and a visiting delegation from the United Nations on Monday has discussed the withdrawal of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

The Sudanese side was headed by the Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Elham Ibrahim while the UN side was headed by the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa- Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Bintou Keita.

The meeting has also discussed the ongoing efforts to support stability in Darfur and the transition from humanitarian relief to reconstruction and development as well as the ongoing arrangements to implement the third phase of the UNAMID exit strategy.

During the meeting, Ibrahim expressed hope the visit of the UN delegation would reach objective and direct recommendations pertaining to the allocation of resources to support peace-building and stabilization processes.

She also expressed hope that the visit would participate to making the exit of the hybrid mission a success story, reassuring the international community that the government has gone a long way to implement the necessary administrative and security arrangements in areas where the UNAMID had withdrawn.

The Sudanese official further underscored the crucial role of the UN in supporting peacebuilding and stability in Darfur.

For her part, Keita has expressed appreciation for the Sudanese government and the national committee, expressing hope the withdrawal of the UNAMID would be completed within the anticipated timetable.

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)

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