Ban Ki-moon: ‘No withdrawal of Unamid from Sudan’
The UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) will not leave Darfur, despite repeated pressure by Khartoum.
Sudan has not fulfilled the criteria to justify a withdrawal, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported to the Security Council. The mandate will be renewed until June 2016, without any changes.
Sudan told Unamid to leave the country, after Radio Dabanga exposed an alleged mass rape in Tabit, North Darfur, by army troops in October last year. The UN peacekeepers were initially not allowed to investigate the matter independently. Despite vehement denials by Khartoum, Human Rights Watch confirmed the mass rape in a report published in February 2015.
Ban Ki-moon states that since his report in March, “there has been no tangible progress towards the resolution of the conflict in Darfur”.
An agreement on the exit strategy of Unamid has not been reached yet, according to the report sent by the joint working group of UN, AU, and the Sudanese government, to the UN Security Council, On 19 May, the group’s meetings were suspended, and are supposed to resume later this year.
During the negotiations, Unamid suggested to withdraw gradually from West Darfur, and leave from three bases in North and South Darfur, in areas that “do not currently necessitate the presence of Unamid”. Withdrawal from other areas would only be possible, if a ceasefire and protection of displaced are ensured.
‘Dry season’ offensive
The UN secretary-general blames the Sudanese government for using cluster bombs during its renewed military offensive, the “Decisive Dry Season Operation”, that started late December 2014. It aimed to put an end to the armed rebellions in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile state.
In Darfur, the main focus of this phase was on reclaiming Jebel Marra, and preventing the armed movements from crossing the borders with South Sudan to regroup.
“Despite their numerical superiority, better equipment and logistics, the objective of the Sudanese Armed Forces/Rapid Support Forces joint operations, which was to dismantle the rebel stronghold of Jebel Marra, and establish a firm grip on the area, was not achieved,” Ban Ki-moon said.
No modification of mandate
Given the current situation in the war-torn western region of Sudan, the UN chief recommended the Security Council to extend the mandate of Unamid, without modification, for 12 months, until 30 June next year.
Sudan features prominently in the June programme of the Security Council. Besides the extension of the current Unamid mandate, expiring the 30th of June, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is expected to provide a semi-annual briefing on the Court’s work regarding Darfur.
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