AU extends Unamid mandate while supporting exit strategy
The mandate for the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) is extended for another year by the responsible AU council, while the council supports the steps being taken for the mission's exit strategy from Darfur.
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) in its 516th meeting on Monday adopted new decisions on the situation in the Sudanese Darfur region. A large part of the communiqué regarded the activities of the AU-UN peacekeeping mission (Unamid). While stressing the “critical importance” of the continued presence of the Unamid for peace and stability, the council is satisfied with the developments on the mission's exit strategy planning from Sudan - ordered by the government in December 2014.
The AUPSC stresses the need for pragmatism and flexibility in Unamid's gradual exit from the region. It has asked the UN Secretary-General in coordination with the AU to make recommendations on the future mandate and exit strategy of the mission. Currently, a joint working group of the government and the AU-UN plans a gradual and phased hand-over of Unamid's tasks to the government.
But at the end of the communiqué, the AUPSC asks the UN Security Council to also extend the mandate of the Unamid, as defined on 22 June 2007. The UN Secretary-General is determined to continue with the Unamid, as the situation in Darfur is deteriorating.
Furthermore, the AUPSC expects the Sudanese government to remove all restrictions that have been imposed on the Unamid. It strongly condemns all hostile actions against the Unamid, and other humanitarian organisations, and calls on Khartoum to prosecute the perpetrators of these criminal acts. It requests the government to provide, at its next meeting on the situation in Darfur, an update on the steps taken to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes.
At the next meeting, the Sudanese government is also expected to update the council on the human rights violations in Darfur, and which measures are taken to address them.
Darfur peace process
The AU Council continues to support the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed between the government and several rebel groups in 2011, to bring peace to the country. The conducted implementations of the document have satisfied the council. The term of the DDPD ends at the end of this month.
For the initiatives to support mediation efforts between the fighting Ma'aliya and Rizeigat tribes, the council commends the Unamid. Besides these tribal clashes, the AU raised its concern about the fighting between the Sudanese army and the armed rebels in East Jebel Marra and South Darfur in the past months.
The AUPSC still reiterates its full support to the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for its efforts to facilitate a cessation of hostilities between the Sudanese government and the Darfur armed movements, and encourages the panel to ensure the early resumption of the negotiations between the delegations. These were suspended on 29 November 2014, because of disagreement on the agenda of the talks.
'The Darfur crisis [is] part of the holistic approach to the challenges of peace, governance and democracy in Sudan,' the AUPSC writes. Omar Al Bashir's National Dialogue initiative 'provides a unique opportunity that the government of Sudan and all other stakeholders should seize in order to advance peace and reconciliation in Sudan'.
Read the full communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) on the situation in Darfur and the activities of the AU-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid), 22 June 2015
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