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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan reiterates resolve to terminate UNAMID mandate

December 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government said it is determined to put an end to the presence of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), but expects the latter to resist exiting from the country.

A soldier from the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Photo: Getty Images)
A soldier from the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Photo: Getty Images)
Following media reports about mass rape in Tabit, a village 45km south-west of North Darfur capital El-Fasher, Sudanese authorities loudly criticised the UNAMID for echoing the news. Also they were angered after remarks by UN officials who called for further investigation mentioning the heavy presence of military and police during the first probe.

Since then , Sudan refused to authorise a second investigation and called publicly for an exit strategy for the joint mission from Darfur.

Last week, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, Rahmatallah Mohamed Osman, renewed to the Security Council Khartoum’s desire to put in place an exit strategy for the UNAMID, adding that no date has been yet set for the mission’s departure.

Addressing the UNSC last week, the head of the UN peacekeeping department, Hervé Ladsous, said that a UN strategic evaluation team is currently present in Khartoum to discuss the issue.

He added the Sudanese government has clearly established that it is not a matter of asking UNAMID to leave tomorrow but we must reach an agreement on an exit strategy.

The Sudanese foreign ministry undersecretary, Abdalla al-Azrag, said in statements to al-Youm al-Tali daily newspaper on Wednesday that his government is resolved that the hybrid mission should leave the country and wouldn’t care about any UN resolutions that could hinder the move.

“[We wouldn’t allow UNAMID to stay] even if the Security Council issued a million resolution to maintain its presence”, he added.

He stressed they put in place several scenarios to deal with the situation, saying the mission personnel are enjoying a lavish life style and are fed with smoked salmon, shrimp and fresh milk as if they are staying in a five-star hotel among displacement camps.

Al-Azrag underscored that his government enjoys support of heavy-weight regional and international countries at the Security Council, noting that UNAMID entered the Sudan with the consent of the government and cannot carry out its mandate without its approval.

The Sudanese diplomat alluded to the possibility of hindering UNAMID’s work just like what Eritrea did , pointing that the government has its own ways of obstructing aid groups work.

He pointed that their decision to end presence of UNAMID in Darfur is consistent with the Security Council’s resolution 1769 which clearly states that an exit strategy must be implemented upon improvement of the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur, adding that all evidence confirm the situation has improved.

“Particularly as UN agencies said that 95% of the relief supplies reach the deserving population, that the rebel attacks have completely receded and violence is currently only restricted to criminal gangs,” he added

Al-Azrag further ruled out the Security Council could issue a resolution to grant UNMAID a new mandate against Sudan’s will, saying his government strength emanates from the internal position and improvement of the political, security and humanitarian situation as well as the stances of Sudan’s friendly countries who became more aware of the situation in Darfur.

He also renewed his government refusal to authorise a second investigation into mass rape allegations in Tabit, saying the UN does not have the tradition of reinvestigating incidents.

The Sudanese diplomat stressed that some circles seek to criminalise Sudan and revive international interest for Darfur, saying the request to conduct another probe raises doubts particularly as the first inquiry found no evidence confirming the mass rape claims.

He approved the accusations and criticism against the UNAMID by its former spokesperson, Aicha Elbasri, but emphasised she was driven by personal purposes and a desire to settle personal issues with other UN officials.

Elbasri, resigned from her job in April 2013 after claiming that she had been prevented from carrying out her responsibility of accurately informing the public about what was happening in Darfur.

She claimed that UNAMID peacekeepers had turned civilians over to armed rebels and covered up crimes by the Sudanese government, including lethal attacks against the blue helmets themselves.