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Sudan Foreign Ministry: ‘UNITAMS should concentrate on basic aspects on mandate, not just politics’

March 30 - 2022 KHARTOUM / NEW YORK
UN Special Representative Volker Perthes briefs UNSC in NEW YORK (UN Photo)
UN Special Representative Volker Perthes briefs UNSC in NEW YORK (UN Photo)

The Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) “should focus on the other basic aspects of its mandate, instead of focusing most of its activities on only the political side,” as retort to the mission head’s briefing to the UN Security Council on Monday. Critics in Sudan have derided this as “a desperate attempt to tame the UN mission”.

In his briefing UNITAMS head Volker Perthes, pleaded the council that “the situation in Sudan has not improved”. He warned the UNSC, saying: “Time is not on Sudan’s side, and I speak to you today with a sense of urgency which is also increasingly felt by Sudanese stakeholders concerned about the stability and the very existence of their country.”

In a statement yesterday, the Foreign Ministry suggests that “UNITAMS should focus on the other basic aspects of its mandate, such as supporting the Juba Agreement for the Peace of Sudan and the protocols attached to it, such as security arrangements, returning the displaced, developing nomads and pastoralists, in addition to mobilising the necessary resources to prepare for the elections, instead of focusing most of its activities on only the political side.”

The statement said that the Executive Committee is currently working on preparing an integrated matrix for the government’s liabilities from the UNITAMS mission, according to a prioritisation order.

Sudan’s delegate to the United Nations, Ambassador Ammar Mohamed, assured the UN Security Council that the Sudanese political leadership welcomes the role played by UNITAMS, provided that the entire process is owned by the Sudanese parties, and that the role of UNITAMS is limited to facilitating dialogue between the parties without trying to influence the results of the consultations.

He said that the biggest challenge facing the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement at the present time is the failure of the parties and international bodies to fulfil their financial obligations and commitments towards the agreement, and he appealed to the international community to contribute to providing financial support to complete the implementation of all the terms of the agreement.

Saleh Mahmoud, a prominent human rights defender, described the Foreign Ministry’s statement as “unsuccessful”. He said that Sudan has no right to argue that the mission is not mandated to talk about the widespread and systematic violations that the Sudanese authorities are making.

Mahmoud said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the head of the UNITAMS mission, Volker Perez, spoke in the briefing to the Security Council about the position of the tripartite mechanism composed of the United Nations, the United Nations, the African Union and the IGAD, which called the current situation in Sudan a military coup, and demanded accordingly that sanctions remain in force in the face of the coup government, in addition to expressing dismay at the systematic and widespread abuses and violations with which the government continued to confront peaceful demonstrators.

Mahmoud stressed that this recognition of the tripartite mechanism indicates that the coup government is directly responsible for the loss of lives and bloodshed and for the missing and the wounded, all of which constitute crimes against humanity. Now that it has a mandate to deal with the situation in Sudan)

Prof Mahdi Amin El Tom described the comments of Volker Perthes to the UNSC as “brave and honest”. He said that Perthes’s briefing made clear to the world facts that disturbed El Burhan and what he called his “coup group”, so they immediately began to take arbitrary steps aimed at reducing the role of UNITAMS, and the possibility of expelling it from Sudan. This is a desperate attempt to tame the mission and subject it to their will that contradicts the aspirations of the people of Sudan.

Prof El Tom stressed that “what is happening constitutes a clear challenge to the Security Council and to the people of Sudan”, and it is motivated by the fact that, supported by the representative of the African Union, Perthes has not hesitated to describe the October 25 Movement as a military coup, as he did yesterday before the Security Council.

Prof El Tom stressed that there is no way now but to confront what he called “the murderous coup d’état” with unity of ranks, unification of visions, and renunciation of quarrels, to restore the state from its kidnappers and to stand united and solidly with ourselves first, and with UNITAMS second, so that the United Nations Mission to complete its mission to help the people of Sudan in transition to full democratic civil rule.

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