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China, Russia opposed appointing French diplomat as head of new UN mission to Sudan

July 22, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Russia and China are blocking the appointment of a French diplomat at the head of a new political mission of the United Nation to support the democratic transition in the East African country.

Jean Christophe Belliard (file photo)Jean Christophe Belliard, one of Africa’s longest-serving French diplomats and South African diplomat Nicholas Haysom who serves UN special envoy for Sudan are the candidates to lead the new United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).

Established on 4 June upon the request of the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the political mission will provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting the implementation of all human rights, equality, accountability and rule-of-law provisions in the Constitutional Document.

Foreign Policy Magazine on Wednesday reported that Russia and China stand against Belliard’s appointment despite the support expressed by Hamdok for him.

The French diplomat "was subsequently blocked by China and Russia, on the grounds that he potentially lacked the support of the Sudanese military," wrote the Washington based magazine.

Last June s Sudanese officials confirmed to Sudan Tribune that Hamdok backs the French diplomat who until recently served as the Deputy Secretary-General at the European External Action Service because he supported the civilian government after its appointment in September 2019.

Belliard led two EU assessment missions to Sudan to consider ways to support the Sudanese revolution. He successfully brought the attention of EU leaders to the east African nation and worked hard to push Brussels to support Hamdok government.

Also, he was seen in Khartoum in a private visit with his family immediately after the Revolution visiting the pro-democracy sit-in before to be violently dispersed by the Sudanese military on 3 June 2019.

EU leaders particularly Germany and France voiced their strong support to the civilian government in Sudan and pledged to provide the necessary help to achieve a successful transition.

Hamdok was received by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Paris and Berlin.

It is not clear how the Security Council will break this impasse but at least it will delay the operation of the UNITMAs as the head of mission should be appointed several months before to prepare the launch of the mission by January 2021.

(ST)