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AU, UN officials to discuss UNITAMS deployment with Sudanese officials

AU, Sudan and UN meeting on establishment of UNAMID new base in Central Darfur's Golo in New York on 24 Sept 2017 (ST photo)
October 22, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - United Nations and African Unions officials are planning to hold with the Sudanese officials on the future of UN mission in Sudan as the Darfur peacekeeping mission will withdraw by December 2020.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of the Department for Peace Operations and the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, will fly to Khartoum in the upcoming days.

However, for planning purpose, the schedule of the tripartite meetings will be announced in a few days, Sudan Tribune learnt on Thursday.

The two officials will discuss the deployment of the UNITAMS, United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan which should be effective on 1 January 2021.

Also, they will discuss the implementation of the peace agreement signed on 3 October 2020 in Juba and the role that the new mission can play.

In Khartoum, a tripartite technical committee, held a meeting on Thursday where the Sudanese delegation reiterated its rejection to extend UNMAID mandate under UNITMAS,

"The meeting discussed several issues, especially the post-UNAMID phase, and its withdrawal on December 31, 2020. The government side expressed its firm position rejecting to have two missions simultaneously," said the foreign ministry in a tweet posted after the discussion.

In a related development, Sudanese Foreign Minister Omer Gamar Eldin received the UN Resident Coordinator Babacar Cissé to discuss the ongoing coordination between UN agencies and Sudanese authorities for the UNITMAS deployment.

Gamar Eldin "stressed Sudan’s determination to make full use of the mission for the success of the transitional period," said the official news agency in a report about the meeting.

It is worth mentioning that the international organization has not appointed the head of the new mission following the opposition of China and Russia to appoint a French diplomat at this position.

The UNITMAS will assist the political transition; assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law; as well as support the mobilization of economic, development and humanitarian assistance.

On 25 September, DiCarlo Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs told the Security Council that the mission start-up team for UNITAMS would deploy to Sudan in October to begin implementing the four strategic objectives.