UN Security Council briefed on Sudan
The United Nations Security Council was briefed on the situation in Sudan yesterday by high-ranking UN officials. They are positive about last month’s developments, especially the Juba Peace Agreement, but also see threats and challenges.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo expressed concern about the recent proposal of Sovereign Council chairman Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan to allocate more powers to the Transitional Partners Council, that was supposed to be an advisory and coordination body. “I hope consensus can be found to ensure the functioning of clearly defined transitional institutions that are inclusive and effective.”
DiCarlo also hoped that a Legislative Council “for oversight and accountability” can be formed “swiftly”.
Women remain underrepresented in Sudan, DiCarlo said: only three ministers out of 18, and just one woman in the proposed Transitional Partners Council.
DiCarlo said that COVID-19 restrictions have led to a severe decline of economic activities, a 42 per cent drop in government income, a monthly budget deficit of $250 million, and a 229 per cent inflation rate (in October). “It is critical that the international community supports the economic recovery through funding of the basic income cash transfer programme, called the Family Support Programme of the Sudanese government, that is intended to mitigate the social impact of the transitional government’s economic reform agenda.”
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix ascertained that there has been “a spike in clashes involving Sudan Liberation Army/Abdelwahid [El Nur] elements, intercommunal violence, and attacks on displaced persons, civilians and protestors”. “Government forces do not yet have a sustained presence or even access to some areas”, he added. He sees “indications for a potential involvement of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) in the peace process”.
Lacroix stated that UNAMID’s presence “averted large scale violence” in Darfur. He thinks “the Juba Peace Agreement can end the decade long conflict in Darfur”.
The removal of assets and equipment within the framework of the drawdown of UNAMID meets resistance from local authorities and communities, Lacroix said. He emphasized that Sudanese authorities at all levels must provide concrete support during the drawdown UNAMID.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare told the fifteen members of the Security Council that “an orderly and safe drawdown of UNAMID will take no less than six months, to be followed by a 9-12 months period of asset disposal and liquidation in cooperation with the government of Sudan and local authorities”. He called the drawdown of the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur “an enormous task”, as it is one of the largest UN operations ever, with over 6,000 military and police personnel and 1,500 civilian staff.
Khare said that UNAMID “increasingly relies on the government of Sudan to provide security to staff and assets”.
Following the briefings, the United Kingdom’s ambassador called on the Sudanese government to expedite the preparations to protect the people in Darfur and reinforce the rule of law, following the withdrawal of UNAMID on December 31.
The German ambassador called on Sudan to prepare to fill the void that the withdrawal of UNAMID will create. He called on the Security Council to facilitate the handover of the peacekeeping mission to the Sudanese government so it can carry out its duty to protect the people. He expressed his optimism that the new mission, UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), which is to be established in the beginning of 2021, will bring about real change.
The Belgium ambassador expressed her concern about the continuing sexual violence and violence against children. She congratulated the Sudanese government and the armed rebel movements that reached the Juba Peace Agreement.
The Russian ambassador called on the Sudanese authorities to persuade Abdelwahid El Nur, the founder and head of the mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement in Jebel Marra in Darfur, to join the peace negotiations.
The entire session of the Security Council can be viewed here (in English).
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