8371st Security Council Meeting: Reports of Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan

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11-Oct-2018 00:10:53
Adopting resolution 2438 (2018), Security Council extends United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei for final time unless parties meet benchmarks at 8371st meeting.

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The Security Council today decided to extend, until 15 April 2019, modifications to the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), while also stressing that the extension will be the final one unless the parties meet specific benchmarks.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2438 (2018), the Council extended for six months UNISFA’s mandate modification - first laid out in resolution 2024 (2011) and paragraph 1 of resolution 2075 (2012). Those modifications include the Force’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism in the Abyei border region. The Council also decided that would be the final such extension unless the parties demonstrate measurable progress on border demarcation.

By the text, the required benchmarks include, among other things: Ensuring the full freedom of movement for all UNISFA air and ground patrols; establishing or finalizing plans for several Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism team sites; convening at least two meetings of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism; the withdrawal of both parties from the Safe Demilitarized Buffer Zone; developing and implementing a timeline for verifying the functioning of 10 border crossings; and convening at least two meetings of the Joint Border Commission and Joint Demarcation Committee, with one meeting of each occurring prior to 15 March 2019. The Council also tasked the Government of South Sudan with establishing a high-level team to undertake community sensitisation aimed at enabling UNISFA’s ground movement.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council decided to maintain UNISFA’s authorized troop ceiling of 4,500 until 15 November 2018. It also deciding that – as of April 2019 - the authorized troop ceiling will decrease by 541 troops unless the mandate modification set forth in resolutions 2024 (2011) and 2075 (2012) is once again extended.

Following the adoption, Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed (Sudan) reiterated his country’s commitment to cooperate with UNISFA. He added that Sudan is also committed to the activation of the Joint Border Verification Mechanism for Abyei and continues to respect all other agreements with South Sudan on that issue. He recalled that both parties agreed that the 2011 agreement applied until all issues were resolved and called for reaffirmation of that fact. Urging all stakeholders to refrain from any actions that would be counterproductive to the stabilization of the region, he expressed hope that current dialogue between the two countries will bring about a greater impetus to operationalization of the mechanism. He thanked all international stakeholders and pledged that his country would continue to carry out all its duties in line with resolution 1990 (2011).

Akuei Bona Malwal (South Sudan) said the six-month extension and the Council’s decision to maintain its current troop ceiling is reassuring to communities in Abyei. Reaffirming his Government’s commitment to continue to engage with the Council until a final solution is reached on that issue, he thanked Ethiopia – the sole troop contributor to UNISFA - for its steadfast dedication to maintaining peace and stability in Abyei.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:11 p.m.
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