8603rd Security Council Meeting: Reports of Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan

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26-Aug-2019 01:43:38
Sudan’s new transitional government presents chance to restore long-term stability in Darfur, United Nations, African Union officials tell Security Council at 8603rd meeting.

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The establishment of a new transitional Government in Khartoum on 17 August creates an opportunity to restore long-term stability to Darfur, senior United Nations and the African Union officials told the Security Council today, as the two organizations consider the future of their joint mission in that western region of Sudan.

With the security situation in Darfur still largely unchanged, intermittent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces/Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid faction continue in Jebel Marra, the Under‑Secretary‑General for Peace Operations told members. However, the positive developments in Khartoum could mean revisiting the timeline for resuming the drawdown of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he added.

Both the African Union and Sudanese interlocutors, he continued, have proposed convening a meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism on the margins of the upcoming General Assembly to further discuss future African Union-United Nations engagement in Darfur. “This is an opportunity to put a definitive end to the conflict in Darfur,” he declared. Such an effort will require an irreversible transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, as well as engagement in the peace process by groups that have not been part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, he emphasized.

The African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security said that, at this critical juncture, the international community must come up with a coordinated approach to see how best to support the peace process and ensure inclusivity and a successful outcome. It is also imperative that those parties remaining outside the peace process are persuaded to join it, he added. “The current political environment and the changes taking place in Sudan provide a unique opportunity for ending the armed conflicts and for achieving comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur and Sudan as a whole,” he said. “The international community should seize this opportunity to demand a constructive engagement of all concerned actors.”

In the ensuing debate, Council members hailed the agreement signed on 17 August by the Transitional Military Council and the Forces of Freedom and Change, under which the joint military-civilian Sovereign Council will govern Sudan for 39 months, after which elections will be held. They also praised the mediation efforts of the African Union and Ethiopia, supported by the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Several speakers cautioned, however, that Darfur has yet to attain lasting peace and that UNAMID’s withdrawal must not leave a security vacuum. Côte d’Ivoire’s representative hailed the mediation and good-offices efforts of Ethiopia, the African Union and the United Nations, with support from IGAD, as a virtuous example of preventative diplomacy, while cautioning, however, that the security situation in Darfur remains fragile. Reconciliation and sustainable peace will not be possible until the guns fall silent and dialogue takes root, he emphasized.

Reinforcing that sentiment, Equatorial Guinea’s representative urged the relevant parties swiftly to resume negotiations to end the conflict in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, without preconditions. The recent political developments in Khartoum demonstrated that Africans are best placed to address the continent’s problems, he said, while warning that the challenges facing the new Government cannot be underestimated.

Germany’s representative declared: “Peace in Khartoum must be extended to Darfur,” underlining that securing lasting peace in the region must be at the core of the new Government’s agenda. UNAMID, which continues to play an important role in protecting civilians, could be succeeded by a special political mission with a strong focus on peacebuilding and mediation, he suggested.

Kuwait’s representative said that, in light of such post-conflict issues as land ownership and the plight of internally displaced persons, a peacekeeping mandate is no longer adequate. He went on to commend UNAMID’s achievements while emphasizing the importance of maintaining those gains and stressing the vital need for a gradual withdrawal of the mission. Its upcoming mandate should be short and clear, he said, with a focus on supporting the rule of law, enhancing national ownership and cooperating with the United Nations country team.

South Africa’s representative said the people of Sudan have yearned too long and sacrificed too dearly for peace, and their aspirations for stability, reconciliation, development and prosperity must translate into tangible dividends on the ground. The situation in Darfur continues to improve, but remnants of insecurity still find expression in the form of human rights and humanitarian challenges, he added.

The Dominican Republic’s representative said there is a risk that UNAMID will leave Darfur with no comprehensive peace agreement in place. For the mission to consolidate its achievements, the Council must provide it with sufficient flexibility to adjust transitional activities to the political environment, he said, emphasizing the crucial need to plan UNAMID’s exit process in concert with a viable peace process that includes all parties in order to ensure sustainable peace.

Sudan’s representative concluded the meeting by emphasizing how his country has changed. “Sudan is now a country that upholds democracy, justice, rule of law, transparency and liberty,” he said. Given the political realities, peacekeeping is not the right option for Darfur, he said, calling upon Council members to pave the way for UNAMID’s withdrawal by June 2020. He also asked the Council to revisit resolution 1591 (2005), particularly the restrictions imposed on the movement of arms and troops to and within Darfur, stressing the essential need to maintain law and order and to prevent a relapse into violence. He went on to point out that Darfur is adjacent to volatile hot spots where terrorist organizations like Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida and Boko Haram are active, and where illegal migration and human trafficking are rampant.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, Russian Federation, Peru, China, United States, Belgium and Poland.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:47 a.m.

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