The head of the new UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Volker Perthes, arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday to take up office, the mission’s press liaison has announced. Dr Perthes was received on behalf of the Sudanese government by Ambassador Omer El Sheikh, head of the National Executive Committee for Coordination with UNITAMS.
The UNITAMS main office will be based in Khartoum with regional offices in Darfur (El Fasher, Zalingei, Nyala), South Kordofan (Kadugli, Kauda), Blue Nile state (Ed Damazin), and eastern Sudan (Kassala, Port Sudan).
12 foreign staff and four Sudanese will form the UN presence on the ground for UNITAMS start-up. He also mentioned there will be a total of 269 staff in total, including experienced national staff in all offices.
As a precaution against COVID-19, Perthes will remain in quarantine for a week before he embarks on a schedule of meetings with national authorities, partners, and colleagues.
“I am looking forward to working with the transitional authorities and the great people of Sudan,” Perthes said on his arrival. “UNITAMS has been established, and I will devote my energy to supporting Sudan to achieve its goals of democratic transformation, peace, and economic recovery.”
Perthes holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Duisburg in Germany, has 25 years of experience in academia, research, international relations, and diplomacy, as well as expertise in conflict resolution and regional geopolitics. Before his current appointment, he served as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and previously as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, the UNITAMS statement says.
On June 3 last year, the UN Security Council (UNSC) decided on the establishment of UNITAMS in response to an official request by the Sudanese government to provide a Chapter VI peace support operation to Sudan. The request was sent to the UN Secretary-General on February 27,
At the time, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok explained that his government “requested assistance in the form of a mission that helps us to address transition issues, chief among which is financing the implementation of the peace agreements that are imminent, such as the establishment of schools and hospitals.
The four main tasks of the mission, as mentioned in UN Security Council Resolution 2524, are to assist the political transition, progress towards democratic governance, in the protection and promotion of human rights, and sustainable peace; to support peace processes and implementation of future peace agreements; to assist peacebuilding, civilian protection, and rule of law, in particular in Darfur and the Two Areas; to support the mobilisation of economic and development assistance and coordination of humanitarian assistance.
The UN has allocated $34 million for the first year’s budget.