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UNITAMS head’s first meeting with Sudan PM ‘fruitful’

February 15 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Sudan and Head of UNITAMS met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in Khartoum yesterday (Picture: UNITAMS)
Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Sudan and Head of UNITAMS met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in Khartoum yesterday (Picture: UNITAMS)

Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Sudan and Head of United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), has described his first meeting with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok as ‘fruitful’. In a statement following the meeting in Khartoum yesterday, Perthes says that the purpose of the meeting with Hamdok was “to hear directly from him the priorities of the new government“.

Perthes says that he and the PM discussed the UNITAMS mandate and its four strategic and interrelated pillars outlined in Security Council resolution 2524 (2020), namely political transition, democratic governance, human rights; to support peace processes and implementation of Juba Peace Agreement; to assist peacebuilding, protection of civilians and rule of law in Darfur, Two Areas and elsewhere; and mobilisation of economic/development assistance and coordination of humanitarian assistance.

“These pillars complement each other, and which will enable UNITAMS and the entire UN family to better support Sudan.”

The PM and Perthes also discussed UNITAMS support in mobilising economic resources and development assistance “which is a priority for the government and the Sudanese people, and will be a core component of our support, including the upcoming investment conference in Paris in May.

“The Prime Minister and I discussed the importance of ensuring that the peace process is felt on the ground with concrete improvements in the lives of Sudanese. We also exchanged views on phase two of the peace talks and how UNITAMS can lend its support and technical expertise.”

Perthes underlines that UNITAMS is in Sudan “to support all components of Sudanese society,” and says that he intends “to travel throughout Sudan to have a better understanding of the country and to listen to voices of Sudan’s rich and diverse people, not only from Sudanese officials and political leaders, but also from civil society, youth, displaced persons and refugees, as well as voices from the business community. And let me emphasize that Sudanese women from across these diverse backgrounds will be consulted every step of the way.”

He concludes that he looks forward to working in partnership with the Prime Minister, the Sovereignty Council, the government, political parties, peace partners and all Sudanese stakeholders to advance Sudan’s political transition. “This has to include those groups who are not signatories to the peace agreement. The overall aim is support the country to stay course on its journey to sustainable peace that responds to the diverse and concrete [political and social-economic] needs of its people.”

UNITAMS

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.

Perthes arrived in Khartoum on February 2 to take up office, and has since been in quarantine in compliance with COVID-19 precautions. 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.


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