UNITAMS mandate in Sudan extended until December

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, briefs the UNSC in New York on May 22 (Photo: UNTV)


At a special session on Sudan on Friday, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted resolution 2685*, extending the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) until 3 December 2023. The previous mandate for UNITAMS officially expired yesterday (June 3), according to resolution 2636 (2022)**.

The UNSC decision extends the mission’s mandate by a further six months. The initial UNITAMS mandate until June 3, 2022, was extended for 12 months by the UNSC last year. The mission, which replaced the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeeping force, is charged to assist Sudan “in its transition towards democratic governance, provide support for peace negotiations and bolster efforts to maintain accountable Rule of Law and security institutions”.

In its brief resolution published on Friday, the UNSC confirms the extension of the mission’s mandate, and requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to the council every 90 days, with the next report due by 30 August.

This round of UNSC discussions were controversial, after Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and President of the Sovereignty Council last week requested UN Secretary-General António Guterres to replace Volker Perthes, UN Special representative in Sudan and head of UNITAMS.

In a four-page letter, El Burhan commends the establishment of UNITAMS in early 2021, after the UN Security Council decided to establish the mission in June the year before. However, the “transparent and just functioning of UNITAMS has been lost, due to the performance and personal disposition of the head of the mission and mediators from outside the mission”.

El Burhan further gives a number of examples of “the strange behaviour” of Perthes during the transitional period, in his reactions to the political developments in Sudan since his arrival in Sudan in February 2021, and concludes the letter with the request to replace the envoy.

In a short reaction to El Burhan’s letter, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said at the time that Guterres was “shocked” by the request to remove his envoy in Sudan.

“The Secretary-General is proud of the work done by Volker Perthes and reaffirms his full confidence in his Special Representative,” Dujarric stated.

During the latest special UNSC session, Guterres reiterated to council members his full confidence in Volker Perthes, his special representative for Sudan.

In an interview earlier this month, Perthes told Radio Dabanga that since the outbreak of the war between the SAF and the paramilitary RSF on April 15, he is in constant communication with both parties to the conflict, including El Burhan and RSF leader Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo.

* UNSC Resolution 2685 (2023)

** UNSC Resolution 2636 (2022)