Sudan FA Ministry: ‘Reduction of Unamid confirms stability in Darfur’
According to the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN Security Council’s decision to downsize the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid) is “an explicit recognition of the realisation of peace and security” in the region.
On Thursday, the UNSC agreed to renew the mandate of Unamid until 30 June next year. The mission will be restructured “in two six-month phases while closely monitoring the situation on the ground.”
More than a third of the nearly 19,000 troops and police officers of Unamid will be withdrawn within the coming six months.
In a statement on Saturday, FA Spokesman Gareeballah El Khidir said the Ministry welcomed the decision of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to reduce Unamid’s military component to 11,395 troops and the police teams to 2,888 agents within the coming half year.
“The resolution is a direct practical step confirming the Security Council's recognition that Darfur has turned the page of conflict, and entirely moved towards peace, reconstruction, development and construction,” the statement reads.
Earlier this month, Darfur displaced, Sudanese politicians, rebel movements, and regional and international organisations all warned for the consequences of a downsized Unamid, in particular as violence against people in Darfur has increased in the past years.
“The last couple of years, the attacks, killings, rapes, theft, and kidnapping have increased again. There is ample evidence for this. Even Unamid troops themselves as well as aid workers have been targeted,” Hussein Abusharati, Spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, told Radio Dabanga last month.
“The reduction of the peacekeepers in the region would constitute a major disappointment and a flagrant mistake,” he said.
The Sudan Democracy First Group as well pointed to the situation on the ground in Darfur that “does not support the stated reasons for the reduction of the mission”.
Cutting the number of Unamid forces will leave civilians in Darfur “more vulnerable to abuses of all kinds by the Sudanese army, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and other militias operating in the region,” the Kampala-based Sudanese think-tank said.
On Friday, the UN General Assembly agreed to a significant cut in the budget for the UN peacekeeping missions.
The Assembly’s budget committee agreed to a $570 million cut from the current budget of $7.87 billion. The 14 UN peacekeeping missions will receive a $7.3 billion budget for the year starting 1 July.
The 193-member world body voted by consensus to approve $6.8 billion. It agreed to an additional $500 million for two missions that are in the throes of downsizing: Unamid and the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
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