Next month, the African Union, United Nations, and Sudanese government officials will resume preparations for a strategy draw-up for the exit of the AU-UN peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid), a spokesman for the government said on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour talked with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon about the withdrawal of the hybrid mission in the conflict region on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September. The Secretary-General said that he looked forward to further discussions on the exit strategy for the Unamid.
Spokesman for the Ministry, Ali El Sadiq, told reporters on Sunday that a meeting was held in New York between all three parties (AU, UN, and Sudan), with chairman of the AU Commission Dlamini Zuma being represented by his deputy, discussing the developments in the exit strategy.
“The meeting reiterated the importance of achieving the Unamid exit strategy from Darfur. It has also been decided that the tripartite team determines the date of its next meeting which is expected to convene early in November in Khartoum,” El Sadiq said.
The joint working group, composed of 16 Sudanese government officials, 13 United Nations/Unamid officials and eight African Union officials, was expected to sign a agreement on the exit strategy last May. Sudanese officials, however, said in June that the UN retracted from a reached agreement.
Currently the largest peacekeeping mission in the world: more than 17,000 uniformed personnel, 845 international civilian personnel, nearly 2,600 local civilian staff, and 169 UN Volunteers.
That same month, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the mission for another year, and tied the forming of an exit strategy to the progress in the security and humanitarian situation.
Presence in Darfur
In a report on 26 May, Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council that the peacekeepers can only withdraw gradually from West Darfur State and three bases in North and South Darfur States, in areas that do not currently necessitate their presence. The mission handed a sub-camp in West Darfur to El Geneina University in August.
The government has claimed that the situation in Darfur is favourable for the exit of the mission, and argued that the displacements that occurred earlier this year were caused by communal fighting which are now under control.
Sudan called for Unamid's withdrawal from Darfur following a dispute over an alleged mass rape in the village of Tabit in North Darfur by army troops in October last year.
(Source: Sudan Tribune)