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New Unamid chief begins duties in Sudan

January 6 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali El Sadiq (Sudan FM)
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali El Sadiq (Sudan FM)

The newly appointed Joint Special Representative for Darfur and head of Unamid, Martin Uhomoibhi, Wednesday has officially begun his duties by meeting Sudan’s Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ali El Sadig told reporters that Uhomoibhi arrived in Khartoum early on Wednesday and immediately met with Ibn Auf. El Sadig said that Uhomoibhi was to meet with several officials including the Foreign Minister, the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and the head of the Darfur Peace Implementation Office.

He added those meetings aim to exchange views between the government and Uhomoibhi on Unamid and to agree on the Mission’s exit strategy, according to the 2008 agreement.

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 2013.

(Source: Sudan Tribune)

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