Source: Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
October 31, 2019 (WASHINGTON) - The Security Council has extended the mandate of the Darfur peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) for one year, putting aside its initial plan to withdraw troops by the end of June 2020.
In a meeting held on Thursday, the Council Unanimously decided that "the Mission will maintain its current troop and police level until 31 March 2020, keeping all team sites other than the sector headquarters in South Darfur, with drawdown plans following that date to be decided upon," said the office of the UN spokesperson on Thursday.
"Welcoming the political transition and the launch of a countrywide peace process in Sudan, the Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by one year, until 31 October 2020," he further said.
In a briefing to the 15 member-body on 18 October, the head of the UN peacekeeping department Jean Pierre Lacroix that said Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok had requested to align the UNAMID drawdown from Darfur with the ongoing peace process.
The first government after the collapse of the al-Bashir's regime has launched a comprehensive peace process with the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas in Juba the capital of South Sudan.
In addition to protection of civilians, the Security Council decided that the extended mandate will include support to the peace process and peacebuilding activities, as recommended in the special report of the African Union Commission and the UN Secretary-General.
The Council called upon the parties to the Juba peace process "to meaningfully participate and demonstrate progress in advancing the negotiations with the goal of creating a fair and comprehensive peace, enabling UNAMID to fully drawdown," stressed the statement.
Also, the resolution requested a new report on the situation on the ground, progress in the peace process by 31 January before to discuss the drawdown options on 31 March 2020.
Following the adoption of the resolution, Jonathan Guy Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative and penholder of the report the one-year extension responded to the Sudanese government's request for support in reaching a comprehensive peace. He further hoped to see progress in that regard before 31 March.
"We have a partner in the Government of Sudan," he said, looking forward to continued dialogue with the country on the drawdown of UNAMID.
For his part, Michael Barkin, the U.S. Mission's senior policy adviser said they expect that this additional year be UNAMID's final such extension, leading to a follow on the mandate which meets the country's development needs.