|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7100th Meeting (AM)
South Sudan Conflict Could Unravel Darfur Peace Attempts, Efforts to Normalize
Ties with Sudan, Peacekeeping Chief Tells Security Council
Ensure that Armed Groups Join Peace Process, Urges Permanent Representative
The ongoing conflict in South Sudan could potentially undo efforts to resolve the crises in Darfur and, more broadly, efforts to normalize Sudan-South Sudan relations, the head of United Nations peacekeeping told the Security Council today.
“The current crisis in South Sudan has had an impact on Darfur, with a reported influx of South Sudanese into East Darfur and other parts of Sudan,” said Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
Presenting the report of the Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID, document S/2014/26), he said armed groups in the western Sudan region had reportedly taken part in the fighting inside South Sudan, and nomadic Sudanese communities had been unable to cross into the neighbouring State on their seasonal migration. He warned that the crisis in South Sudan had the potential to draw in many of the Sudanese rebel movements in Darfur and thereby undermine efforts to end the crises in that part of Sudan, including the conflict in South Kordofan State and Blue Nile State.
Highlighting the unstable security situation in Darfur, Mr. Ladsous noted that intercommunal violence was having a significant effect on civilians. He cited clashes between militia groups earlier this month, and voiced grave concern over attacks against UNAMID and humanitarian personnel, urging the Government of Sudan to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators. In 2013, 16 peacekeepers had lost their lives as a result of targeted armed attacks, carjackings and robberies — a 50 per cent increase over 2012 — that had brought to 57 the total number of personnel killed since the mission’s deployment in 2008, he added.
Turning to the peace process, he described implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur as “very slow”, saying the limited progress was primarily in the areas of planning and administration. The humanitarian situation had also deteriorated significantly during 2013, with an estimated 400,000 people forced to flee new outbreaks of conflict. That figure represented more than the combined number of displacements that had occurred during 2011 and 2012, he said, adding that the total number of internally displaced people increased to almost 2 million. A total of 3.5 million people, 30 per cent of Darfur’s population, were currently receiving humanitarian assistance from the international community.
In light of the deteriorating security condition, he said, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, together with UNAMID, the African Union and various United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, was conducting a strategic review aimed at improving the mission’s impact on the ground. Key challenges identified by the review involved the Government’s cooperation in mandate implementation, the mission’s internal management, including coordination with the United Nations country team, and the capacities of UNAMID’s military and police components.
Noting that the review’s complete findings and recommendations would be communicated to Council members by 28 February, he stressed that protection needs in Darfur were considerable, and that UNAMID personnel must have unhindered freedom of movement. It was also vital to achieve a durable solution based on a ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement, while addressing short-term challenges.
Hassan Hamid Hassan ( Sudan) said he recognized that tribal clashes had taken place during the reporting period, which had resulted in a difficult humanitarian situation. “Tribal clashes are as ancient as is Darfur itself,” he explained, attributing them to competition for natural resources, including grazing grounds and, more recently, local gold mines. Government efforts to achieve reconciliation had led to agreements among various tribes, including between the Aballa and Beni Hussein.
It should not be forgotten that implementation of the Doha Document had made progress, he said, while pointing out that delays in that process had been caused by Sudan’s loss of oil resources following South Sudan’s independence, and by the slow implementation of donor commitments. He called for those commitments to be met and for sanctions to be lifted so that the Government could continue its work for peace, development and reconstruction in Darfur. Other delays were due to the targeting of several groups that had joined the peace process, he added.
Regarding the work of the Special Prosecutor for Darfur, he said that office was investigating 66 cases, including fatal attacks against UNAMID peacekeepers. The Government had invited the African Union and the United Nations to deploy experts in order to ensure that judicial proceedings were in line with international criteria. As for the Development and Reconstruction Strategy for Darfur, he said a number of commercial and trade accords had been reached with local contractors for 315 projects amounting to $82.5 million in value.
On the political front, he noted that action by the Security Council was lacking, pointing out that Darfur rebel groups were clashing outside Sudan but inside South Sudan. “Cutting them slack” only led such groups to believe that they had “a green light” to participate in clashes in South Kordofan State and elsewhere. It behoved the Council to ensure that those armed groups joined the peace process and the Doha Document, and to put an end to their “impossible” conditions so that efforts for the revitalization of Sudan could continue.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:40 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record