Source: Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
October 18, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government has requested to align the UNAMID drawdown from the war-ravaged Darfur region with the ongoing peace process in the country, the head of the UN peacekeeping department told the Security Council.
The Sudanese demand comes after consultations held by the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok with the leaders of Darfur armed groups during his visit to Juba last September.
The rebel groups who are know unified under the umbrella of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) voiced their opposition to the UNAMID withdrawal saying the militias continue to attack civilians.
"During our meeting, Prime Minister Hamdok made a strong request for a well-sequenced transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in Darfur, aligned with the Government's priorities and timeframe, that would take the ongoing talks into consideration while defining the next steps".
"The Prime Minister indicated that this request was based on the concerns expressed by the armed groups during their consultations with the Government of Sudan that led to the adoption of the Juba Declaration on 11 September," he further stressed during a briefing to the Security Council on his visit to Sudan earlier this month.
Initially, the UNAMID plans to end its presence in Darfur by the end of June 2020, but the political instability in Sudan since December 2018 until the formation of a civilian-led transitional government led to the increase of intercommunal attacks in Darfur besides fighting between security forces and the holdout group SLM-Abdel Wahid.
In his report, Lacroix underscored the increase of displaced people as a result of the deteriorated security situation.
"As of the end of August 2019, the peak of the lean season, more than 1.8 million people were facing Phase 3 (crisis) or Phase 4 (emergency) levels of food insecurity across Central, East, North, and South Darfur," he said.
"This represents 17 to 24 per cent of the population depending on the state, compared to 14 per cent for the whole of Sudan," he further said.
However, he said the Sudanese government was not able to formulate its needs for a possible follow-on mechanism to UNAMID.
Accordingly, during the tripartite mechanism meeting on 7 October, they established a Joint Task Force that should finalize options for a possible follow-on presence to be presented to the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council in the December 2019.
However, the French diplomat anticipated by making two proposals for the Council considerations.
In the first one, "we are proposing to undertake a geographical realignment of UNAMID's footprint from the 13 locations currently remaining down to 5 team sites, mainly located in Central Jebel Marra where armed elements are still active".
In the second option, "UNAMID would proceed with its drawdown as outlined in our previous report, with a view to complete the drawdown by end of June 2020," he said.