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Presence of Darfur rebels in South Sudan has declined: UN official

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Joanna Wronecka, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the UN and Chair of Sudan ans S. Sudan Sanctions Committees, briefs the Council on 14 March 2018 (UN Photo)
October 4, 2018 (NEW YORK) - The chair of UN Sanctions Committee on Sudan’s Darfur weapon embargo said the presence of Darfur armed groups has diminished in South Sudan but it is growing in Libya, threatening regional security.

Ambassador Joanna Wronecka who is also the chair of South Sudan sanctions committee made her remarks during the quarterly briefing to the Security Council members on her committee’s work, on Wednesday 3 October.

"While the presence of Dafuri armed groups in South Sudan had declined due to diminishing support from the South Sudanese authorities, their presence in Libya continued to grow," she said.

Her statements confirm previous UN reports about the "mercenary activities" by armed groups from the Darfur region " with South Sudanese government and the different warring parties in Libya.

Also, in January 2018, UN experts urged Sudan’s neighbours Libya and South Sudan to stop supplying Darfur armed groups with weapons and ammunition.

The polish diplomat told the Security Council she sent letters to the Chairs of the South Sudan and Libya Sanctions Committees, suggesting continued cooperation and joint consultations with a view to monitor the presence and activities of Darfur rebel groups in Libya and South Sudan.

The purpose of this cooperation is to "develop a common approach on how to best prevent them from engaging in activities threatening regional peace and security," she stressed.

Further, she said her committee is considering the imposition of sanctions on Darfur rebels involved in South Sudanese and Libyan armed conflicts.

"I also sent a letter to the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts and requested that the Panel prepare and submit to the Committee for its consideration statements of case for the possible listing of individuals and entities that the Panel deems to meet the listing criteria delineated in paragraph 3 (c) of resolution 1591 (2005)," she said.

Wronecka pointed she advised the panel of experts on the Darfur’s arms embargo to cooperate and exchange information with the Libya and the South Sudan Panels of Experts with regard to the activities of Darfuri rebel groups in Libya and in South Sudan.

While the armed groups deny the reports about their involvement in the internal wars in the two neighbouring countries, the UN panel of experts on Darfur reiterated its accusations in a second report to the UN Security Council last August.

According to the confidential report disclosed by the AFP on 16 August 2018, the armed groups are "reportedly building up their military capabilities in order to be ready to return to Sudan when the environment becomes more conducive".

Regarding the increasing presence of Darfur’s armed groups the panel said that "Libya has emerged as an important source of financing for Darfuri armed groups".

The chair of the 1591 Sanctions Committee said the Sudanese government continue to pour weapons to Darfur, stressing this transfer without obtaining the required approval of the Committee is a violation of the UN arms embargo.

"The Government had cited Security Council resolutions stipulating that the primary responsibility for protecting civilians rested with Sudanese authorities, which required military equipment," she said.

(ST)

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