8643rd Security Council Meeting: Reports of Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan

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17-Oct-2019 01:25:51
Help Sudan’s government, armed movements seize chances To build comprehensive peace, Under-Secretary-General urges Security Council at 8643rd meeting.

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The head of United Nations Peace Operations called upon the Security Council today to help the Government of Sudan and armed movements in Darfur to seize the opportunities for building comprehensive peace arising from recent political change in the country.

“Sudan is at a historic crossroads,” Jean‑Pierre Lacroix, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peace Operations, told the Council as he briefed members. “We have the unique opportunity to support the authorities in ending the conflicts that have plagued the country for years.”

Presenting the latest special report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document S/2019/816), he added: “I hope we can count on your support in this critical endeavour.”

He went on to report that Sudan’s new Sovereign Council and a number of armed groups, including several from Darfur, signed the Juba Declaration in preparation for a countrywide peace process. Negotiations began on 14 October in Juba with the aim of reaching a peace agreement by 14 December 2019, he said.

Turning to the Secretary‑General’s recommendations on the drawdown of UNAMID in that context, he pointed out that Darfur continues to experience clashes between security forces and a resistant armed movement, in addition to displacement and criminality. He proposed, instead of the phased drawdown of mission personnel due to be completed by July 2020, an option to shrink UNAMID’s footprint to five sites in areas that remain most troubled, while maintaining current troop strength until the peace process produces results on the ground.

He went on to note that during his recent visit to Sudan, stakeholders insisted that effective peace consolidation requires tangible economic progress. He also reiterated the Secretary‑General’s call for the lifting of all economic and financial sanctions imposed on Sudan, its removal from the list of State sponsors of terrorism, and for a stepped‑up economic partnership with the country.

Council members then took the floor to commend the Government and people of Sudan on the recent political changes and the talks sparked by the Juba Declaration. At the same time, he pointed out that violence and displacement persist alongside human rights violations, including sexual crimes.

Many delegates emphasized the need for the strategy for UNAMID’s drawdown to prioritize continued protection of civilians. Germany’s representative said “we need to secure UNAMID’s investment in Darfur” by ensuring that the situation on the ground remains stable.

Equatorial Guinea’s representative, also speaking on behalf of Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa, stressed that suitable conditions must be in place before the Mission’s withdrawal, calling upon the Council to consider punitive measures against such armed groups as the Abdul Wahid militia.

The Dominican Republic’s representative emphasized that any transition from UNAMID must be able to ensure continued protection of human rights and empowerment of women.

However, the representatives of China and the Russian Federation emphasized that the Mission’s transition must conform with the phased drawdown described in previous Council resolutions. “The time has come to focus on the recovery and economic development of Darfur,” the Russian Federation’s representative said, adding that, in any case, the Government’s opinion on the matter should be decisive.

“This is a new start for Sudan,” that country’s representative declared as he took the floor. He encouraged the Council to prioritize peace and stability in its discussions on UNAMID, while taking into account the principle of national ownership. He also urged the Council to lift all sanctions imposed on his country. Underlining the need to transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, he called for help in addressing the economic situation while building capacity. He went on to outline the Government’s broad inclusion of women, members of civil society and other stakeholders in its work, insisting: “The Sudan of today has nothing to do with the Sudan you’ve known in recent decades.”

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

The meeting began at 3:16 p.m. and ended at 4:41 p.m.

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