Government of Sudan, UNAMID sign Status of Forces Agreement

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) – Sudan and the United Nations--African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Saturday signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Khartoum which, among other things, provides the legal framework within which UNAMID will operate.
Sudanese Foreign Minister, Mr.
Deng Alor and the UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mr.
Rodolphe Adada, signed the agreement, which also covers the activities of the military, police and civilian personnel of UNAMID.
The SOFA also deals with UNAMID funds, property, communications facilities, as well as the freedom of movement of UNAMID personnel, their safety and security, privileges and immunities, entry into, and exit from Sudan.
It is specifically agreed that "the Joint Special Representative, the Force Commander and Representatives of the Government of Sudan shall take appropriate measures to ensure close and reciprocal liaison at every appropriate level".
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Adada said he was pleased to sign the agreement which he described as "an important milestone" in the deployment of UNAMID in Darfur.
He promised to work with the Sudanese side to implement the agreement and ensure the success of UNAMID, which is expected to be some 26,000 troops by the end of the year.
Adada congratulated the negotiating teams that put together the agreement and expressed the hope that the SOFA negotiations will serve as a model for future cooperation between UNAMID and the Sudanese Government.
On his part, Mr Alor said he was happy to sign the document and described the SOFA as the beginning of an endeavour by both parties to help the people of Darfur "who have suffered a lot".
The Sudanese Foreign Minister said by signing the SOFA, he was committing himself and the Government of Sudan to its implementation.
"As a government, we have the responsibility to protect our people," he added.
The ceremony was witnessed by senior officials from the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNAMID.
They included Mr Abdal-Mahmood Abdal-Haleem, Sudan's Permanent Representative at the United Nations and Mr Al Tayeb Ali Ahmed, Director of Peace and Humanitarian Affairs at the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Martin Luther Agwai, UNAMID Force Commander and Mr.
Hocine Medili, UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative for Operations and Management.
Some 200,000 people have died and about two million others displaced in Darfur since the conflict began some five years ago.

10 february 2008 10:42:00

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