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Hastened withdrawal of UNAMID from Darfur is grave mistake, former rebel says

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UNAMID officially handed over the Mission's team site in Tine, North Darfur, to the Government of Sudan, on 19 October 2017 (UNAMID Photo
December 12, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The exit of the UNAMID peacekeepers before the deployment of the joint forces in Darfur is a grave mistake, said the Spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Mutasim Ahmed Saleh.

Under the peace agreement signed in Juba on 3 October 2020, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) groups agreed to form a force consisting of 12,000 troops to protect civilians after the expiration of the UNAMID mandate on 31 December 2020.

"The exit of the (UN-AU) mission before the formation of the integrated force which will maintain security in Darfur is a big mistake," Saleh said in the public meeting including traditional leaders of the Native Administrations, IDPs delegates and civil society groups in El-Fasher on Saturday.

According to the official Sudan News Agency, he added that discussions involving the Sovereign Council, the Cabinet and the United Nations are underway to keep UNAMID for additional six months until the joint force is formed.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on 9 December, the head of the UN peacekeeping department Jean Pierre Lacroix stated that the transitional Government had begun to deploy a civilian protection force to Darfur, noting that its size and reach are intended to surpass those of UNAMID.

Also, he added that the tripartite mechanism recommended UNAMID’s termination at the end of its current mandate, 31 December 2020, and a six month period of drawdown and liquidation thereafter.

The UN official mentioned the increase of violence n the region, particularly the inter-communal fighting and clashes between the factions of the holdout SLA led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur for control over goldmines.

Germany’s representative at the virtual meeting stressed the need to consider the ongoing violence and to decide on the UNAMID’s future.

Also, The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said concerned by the continued violence in Darfur. He underscored the limitations the Sudanese government is facing to implement its plans to protect civilians and called for a smooth transition between UNAMID and UNITAMS which is a political mission.

"There are key UNAMID responsibilities that should continue under UNITAMS and are within its mandate, including robust training of police, rule of law support, and other issues listed in the Juba Agreement," he said.

(ST)

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