|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6579th Meeting* (PM)
Security Council Adopts Resolution 1997 (2011) Authorizing Closure
of United Nations Mission in the Sudan
Some Members Voice Regret over Withdrawal, Citing Clashes in Two States
The Security Council today decided to close the six-year-old United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to complete the withdrawal of all its uniformed and civilian personnel, except those needed for its liquidation, by 31 August 2011.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1997 (2011), the Council emphasized the need for an orderly withdrawal of UNMIS following the 9 July termination of its mandate to pave the way for the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). That was the latest in a series of moves by the Council in support of the new State, which officially declared its independence from Khartoum on 9 July, splitting Africa’s largest country in two.
By the resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to transfer appropriate staff and supplies, including “the logistics necessary for achieving the new scope of functions to be performed”, from UNMIS to the new Mission and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which the Council created on 27 June to monitor the withdrawal of Northern and Southern troops from the disputed region between the two sides. Abyei had been the scene of heated clashes in the run-up to the South’s declaration of independence.
Taking effect from today, the resolution requests the Sudanese Government to respect all provisions of the status-of-forces agreement of 28 December 2005, in particular to guarantee the United Nations unimpeded access to its premises, “which shall remain under the exclusive control and authority of the United Nations”, and to ensure full freedom of movement for UNMIS, its members and its contractors, “until the final departure of all military and civilian personnel from Sudan”.
The Council further requested the Secretary-General to consult with the parties, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel and other partners, and to present the Council with options for United Nations support to new security arrangements in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, in line with the 28 June Framework Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) on political and security arrangements in the two states. The Council also expressed its readiness to continue current United Nations operations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, with the consent of the parties, until the new security agreements had been implemented.
Following the adoption of the text, several Council members expressed regret that UNMIS was being shuttered at the very moment when its proven abilities to ease tensions were needed more than ever. The representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany were concerned that, even in the wake of South Sudan’s independence on Saturday, there were reports of continuing fighting and grave human rights violations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Specifically, the representatives of the United States and Germany agreed that there was a need for a United Nations presence in the North, with the latter calling on Khartoum and the SPLM-North immediately to cease hostilities.
Today’s meeting began at 1:15 p.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m.
Action on Draft Resolution
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking before the vote, asked why the Council was about to take action on a text containing language that had not been adequately discussed. Adopting a text that would enter into effect as of “10 July” was not in line with normal practice. The adoption date was 11 July and adopting the text as presented would make it retroactive, he said, cautioning that the Council was being put in the position of adopting a document in a manner that was not in line with its normal procedures.
Council President Peter Wittig (Germany) said the date had been discussed by the political coordinators on the understanding that operative paragraph 1 would read: “Decides to withdraw UNMIS.”
The representative of the United States asked the President why the text could not go take effect today, and proposed a correction that would insert the 11 July as the date.
Mr. Wittig said he had no explanation as to why the political coordinators had not considered the date change, discussed it and suggested that the Council members agree to change it to 11 July.
The full text of resolution 1997 (2011) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions and statements of its President concerning Sudan, including resolutions 1590 (2005), 1627 (2005), 1663 (2006), 1706 (2006), 1709 (2006), 1714 (2006), 1755 (2007), 1812 (2008), 1870 (2009), 1919 (2010) and 1978 (2011),
“Taking note that the Letter dated 27 May 2011 from the Minister for Foreign affairs of the Sudan to the Secretary-General, transmitted to the Security Council on 31 May (S/2011/333), informing the President of the Security Council of his Government’s wish to terminate UNMIS on 9 July,
“Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and political independence of Sudan and South Sudan, and to the cause of peace in the region,
“Emphasizing the need for the orderly withdrawal of UNMIS following the termination of the Mission’s mandate on 9 July 2011,
“Having examined the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/314) of 17 May 2011,
“1. Decides to withdraw UNMIS effective 11 July 2011;
“2. Calls upon the Secretary-General to complete withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian UNMIS personnel, other than those required for the mission’s liquidation, by 31 August 2011;
“3. Requests that the Secretary-General transfer appropriate staff, equipment, supplies and other assets from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to UNMISS and UNISFA, together with appropriate staff and logistics necessary for achieving the new scope of functions to be performed;
“4. Requests the Government of Sudan to fully respect all provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) of 28 December 2005, and in particular to guarantee unimpeded access by the United Nations to United Nations premises, which shall remain under the exclusive control and authority of the United Nations, ensure full freedom of movement of UNMIS, its members and its contractors as well as of their vehicles and aircraft, authorising the redeployment within Sudan and the unimpeded export by the United Nations of its equipment, supplies and other assets, and to grant exemptions from all taxes, fees, charges and other duties as provided under the Agreement and its Amendment, until the final departure of all its military and civilian personnel from Sudan;
“5. Underscores the need for a smooth transition from UNMIS to UNISFA and to UNMISS;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to consult with the parties, the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, and other partners, and present to the Security Council options for UN support to new security arrangements in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States in line with the June 28 Framework Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (North) on Political and Security Arrangements in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States, and expresses its readiness to continue current UN operations in these states, with the consent of the parties, until those new security arrangements have been implemented;
“7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
SUSAN RICE (United States), expressing her deep regret over the necessity to vote on the resolution to end the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), called on the Government of Sudan to cease its demands for an end to the Mission’s activities. The United States was sending a clear message that it wished the United Nations to remain in the two areas, especially at the present critical juncture. Furthermore, the Council had made clear its support for new security arrangements in Blue Nile and South Kordofan States, she stressed, adding that she would continue to urge the Sudanese authorities to accept that since it was in their interest to do so. Moreover, it was critical that the Sudanese Government cooperate fully with UNMIS as the Mission began to withdraw, she said, expressing deep concern about ongoing hostilities and the consequent humanitarian crisis. The Government and SPLM-North must return to the negotiating table and agree an immediate end to hostilities, she said.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) also expressed regret at the adoption of the text withdrawing UNMIS, noting that, since its inception, the Mission had worked to support the parties in fulfilling the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. When conflict had occurred, UNMIS had acted to protect civilians and ensure the delivery of humanitarian goods to those in need, he pointed out, noting that, sadly, the Mission was still needed today, particularly in Southern Kordofan, “where we continue to hear reports of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”. Indeed, those reports cited, among others, extrajudicial killings as well as forced detentions and displacements, which the United Kingdom condemned unreservedly. He called for speedy agreement between the SPLM-North and Khartoum on a ceasefire and security arrangements in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, underscoring the importance of completing the popular consultations process by which the people of those states would express their own views about how they and the region would be governed.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that while he had voted in favour of the resolution, he nonetheless regretted that UNMIS was being drawn down with no ceasefire in place for South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, where fighting was continuing and humanitarian access had not been re-established. He urged the parties to cease hostilities and conclude an agreement on political and security arrangements, reiterating the Council’s readiness to support that effort.
Council President WITTIG (Germany), speaking in his national capacity, welcomed the unanimous adoption of the text, noting that, among other things, it reiterated the existing legal framework for the Mission’s liquidation. He called on the Sudanese authorities to respect fully the status-of-forces agreement of 28 December 2005 and to ensure that all steps were taken for the Mission’s orderly and smooth withdrawal. Germany agreed on the need for a United Nations presence in the North and called on Sudan and the SPLM-North immediately to cease hostilities, he said, especially condemning all air strikes on Southern Kordofan villages.
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