UN: UN official says 'little progress' made on Darfur conflict resolution

New York, US (PANA) - UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, said little progress has been made in finding a viable political solution to the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, which began in 2003.

Ladsous, who briefed the UN Security Council in New York, on the outcome of a recent assessment of the situation in Darfur from 1 July 2015 to 15 May 2016, said that "given the unchanged nature of the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, the mandate of the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) should be extended for another year, without changes to its priorities or its authorized troop and police ceiling."

A UN statement on the closed-door meeting, which was made available to PANA in New York on Wednesday, stated that the assessment was contained in the Special Report of the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission on UNAMID.

The UN peacekeeping chief noted that the report provided an analysis of military and police components, and presented recommendations on how to improve UNAMID's operational effectiveness, as well as an update on the status of tripartite discussions on the exit strategy of UNAMID between the AU, UN and Sudan's government.

Ladsous said the sectarian violence emanating from disputes over access to land, water and grazing areas remain a major cause of insecurity in Darfur. While direct clashes between the Sudanese government and armed movements have subsided, fighting with the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) in Jebel Marra, which rejects any negotiations with the government, has continued.

"As of today, 2.6 million people remain displaced across Darfur. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported 80,000 verified displaced persons since the resumption of fighting in Jebel Marra in mid-January. As many as 127,000 displaced persons were yet to be verified. Further, 1.6 million civilians continue to reside in some 60 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region.

"UNAMID continued to face considerable challenges in its relations with the Government, which impeded the implementation of its mandate, including denials of access and freedom of movement, particularly to conflict areas such as Jebel Marra, and denials and delays in the issuance of visas and the clearance of shipment containers at Port Sudan," he stated.

He, however, disclosed that the UN and AU have continued their discussions with the Sudanese government on the development of an exit strategy for UNAMID.

"But, given the current situation in Darfur, the assessment concluded that the strategic priorities of UNAMID and their corresponding benchmarks remain valid. Within this framework, the AU Chairperson and the UN Secretary-General therefore recommended for UNAMID to focus its activities on, first, protecting the displaced population and, second, addressing more comprehensively inter-communal violence," Ladsous said.

The UN peacekeeping chief said: "In a situation of continuing armed conflict, inter-communal violence and attacks against civilians, the current security conditions in Darfur are not conducive to a large-scale return of IDPs to their places of origin."

"A review of the effectiveness of the military and police components recommended for the current number of military and police personnel to be retained," he said, adding, however, that within the existing capabilities, the UNAMID should enhance their overall flexibility by reinforcing troops at sites of greater operational significance while reducing or closing others.

"The mission could also create a highly mobile reserve military capability and an increased field presence of police officers," he stressed.

He also called on all parties to continue efforts in good faith to achieve the much-needed cessation of hostilities in Darfur and work towards ensuring a credible and inclusive National Dialogue process.

Ladsous further noted, on Monday the AU Peace and Security Council endorsed a recommendation to extend the mandate of UNAMID for 12 months until 30 June 2017, without modification to its priorities or its authorized troop and police ceiling, and urged the UN Security Council to similarly do so.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 15June2016

15 يونيو 2016 15:55:44

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