Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The African Union (AU) and the UN Joint peacekeeping chief in Darfur, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is due in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for a farewell party at the end of his term as the head of the AU/UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), an official said Wednesday.
Earlier, the UNAMID joint Mediator said he was satisfied with his 31 months as the Head of the peacekeeping mission, where he presided over one of the largest UN operations.
A source said Gambari left after attaining the mandatory retirement age.
Gambari replaced an African Union appointee, Rudolfe Adada, who left the post after being appointed the Prime Minister of the Congo Brazzaville, leaving behind a bitter dispute between the UN and the AU, over the appointment of the next UNAMID head.
“I am gratified to note that barely 31 months on, all the objectives I set out to meet have largely been met,” Gambari, who was the UN Political Affairs Under-Secretary before his latest post, said.
Gambari said his mission objectives were to ensure the return to normal relations between Chad and Sudan. Ties between the two deteriorated after the start of the war in Darfur, with Chad accusing Sudan of backing rebels to attack its interests and vice versa.
Both sides agreed to normalise relations after months of talks in what was expected to improve the search for peace in Darfur.
Gambari said he prioritised the return to peace, the protection of the UNAMID personnel and the peace negotiations amongst the various armed groups in Darfur.
“I pledged to give my very best to work with all stakeholders to help achieve these objectives as outlined in the mandate of the Mission,” Gambari said.
UNAMID improved its firewood and watering point patrols across the various sectors in Darfur after years of violence. The 90 times a day patrols to 160 a day patrols are credited with reducing the attacks against civilian targets.
The Mission facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid and those in dire need.
“The mission has indeed come a long way to protect civilians in a more robust manner and facilitate the delivery of the humanitarian assistance to those who are in dire need of it,” Gambari said.
He alluded to 460 quick impact projects in the areas of education, water, women's development and the rule of law.
UNAMID drilled boreholes and helped to run a radio station to keep the people of Darfur informed.
Meanwhile, Gambari has paid tribute to 38 UNAMID soldiers and staff killed in the line of power.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 11Sept2012