November 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – A joint team from the African Union and United Nations has visited Sudan to assess the first phase of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reconfiguration and make recommendations for the second phase.
In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune, the Mission said the assessment team visited Sudan from 16 to 17 November, pointing out that it “met with local authorities and UNAMID representatives in Khartoum and Darfur states”.
Meanwhile, Sudan’s permanent envoy to the UN, Omer Dahab said his government will continue to cooperate with the AU and UN to complete the first phase of the UNAMID exit strategy.
In a statement before the UN Security Council Wednesday, Dahab reviewed efforts made to grant entry visas for the Mission’s personnel and release the blocked containers in Port Sudan.
He pointed to the disarmament campaign in Darfur, saying his government is determined to collect all illegal weapons as part of the peacebuilding and sustainability strategy.
Dahab further called on the UN to strengthen support for peace efforts in Darfur, praising the integrated national, regional and international efforts to establish peace in the restive region.
Last June, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another seven team sites in the second phase.
But at the same time, the Council decided the opening of a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo.
UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.
The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.
It is the world’s second-largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.
Recently, the United States which pays over 28% of the $7.8 billion peacekeeping budget, announced that it would cut nearly $1.3 billion of its contribution from October 2017 and urged the United Nations to take it into account.