|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6813th Meeting (PM)
Time for Task of Peacekeeping to Be Complemented by Initiatives That Advanced
Peacebuilding, Recovery, Development in Darfur, Security Council Told
Special Representative Says Progress Easily Reversible ‘Should We Loose Focus’;
Sudan’s Representative Highlights Progress Implementing Doha Document for Peace
With the establishment of regional institutions in Darfur as part of the Doha political process, it was now critical to launch initiatives that could consolidate peace and persuade communities outside of the peace process to join, the Joint African Union-United Nations envoy told the Security Council this afternoon.
“It is time for the task of peacekeeping to be complemented by initiatives that advanced peacebuilding and early recovery and development in Darfur,” said Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as Joint Chief Mediator ad interim, and whose presentation this afternoon was followed by a statement from the representative of Sudan.
Introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID (see Background), Mr. Gambari said, while sustainable peace was in sight, progress was fragile and easily reversible “should we lose focus”. The people of Darfur had suffered too long and too deeply to allow any setbacks or regression.
Mr. Gambari added that the establishment of the Darfur Regional Authority, as required by the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, provided a “new and direct partner with which to advance our common goal of peace in Darfur”. However, that implementation of the Document by its signatories — the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) — was mostly related to the establishment of such institutions. Other provisions were behind schedule, although representatives of the parties initialled a revised timetable on 18 July, re-committing to timely implementation.
It appeared, he said, that the Government had the political will for implementation of the agreement, but faced financial stresses. In that context, the new Darfur Regional Authority had initiated the recovery and development assessment mission provided for in the Document, with the support of UNAMID and other international parties. Projected to be completed by the end of the year, it would form the basis for resource mobilization. The principal responsibility for implementing the Document rested with the parties, but it had been recognized that they would require international support.
In the effort to engage non-signatory parties in Darfur, he said that in addition to discussions with the major movements, several smaller armed factions had expressed interest in holding talks. They were listed in the report. In discussions with Sudanese officials, it was agreed that the environment was suitable for re-launch of the mediation process through preliminary consultations with all interested opposition movements using the Doha Document as a basis. In that context, he said, UNAMID had continued to assist the parties to disseminate the Document, in conjunction with civil society organizations.
In the same vein, the Regional Authority’s All Stakeholder’s Conference in El Fasher from 10 to 12 July provided a forum, for the first time since the Doha agreement, for Darfur stakeholders to take stock and recommend the way forward, with over 100 people expressing their views freely. Most speakers were very critical of the Government and he had not heard of any instances of reprisals or intimidation. He considered the Conference valuable preparation for eventual Darfur internal dialogue and consultations and he commended the Regional Authority for its organizing efforts.
Describing incidents of bombing by the Sudanese Air Force and clashes between the Government and unidentified armed movements that occurred since the end of the reporting period, he said that UNAMID peacekeepers verified reports, assessed civilian protection needs and disposed of unexploded ordnance. A UNAMID patrol ascertained that 750 people were displaced in the fighting.
Also after the reporting period, he said that leaders in the Hamadiya Camp of Central Darfur, many of whom support the non-signatory movement Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid, had refused to allow Government authorities access to the camp to investigate the 8 July killings of armed men in the camp and subsequent abductions. UNAMID was engaged in the effort to deter further violence. Finally, he said UNAMID had dispatched a team to an area in East Darfur where tribal land disputes had resulted in 60 reported deaths.
Taking the floor next, Sudanese representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman pointed to the progress noted by the Secretary-General’s report in implementation of the Doha Document, despite the Government’s austerity measures, and affirmed that the Government was still making all necessary efforts to fund the Darfur Regional Authority. Decrees had established the follow-up office at the highest level with enhanced staffing. Non-signatory movements were being contacted, workshops were being held in an inclusive manner clear of intimidation and an agreement was made on a new timetable for implementation.
All of that indicates much serious work towards peace, he said, which should be reflected in the coming resolution to extend UNAMID’s mandate, in order to encourage all the parties to meet all expectations. However, he added that the draft text did not reflect the progress, but instead stressed “serious delays in implementation”, contradicting what was just heard from Mr. Gambari.
He said that the text should also include more robust and binding language vis-à-vis the movements that refuse to join the peace process and who had declared, under the name of the Revolutionary Front, that their goal was overthrowing the Government. How was it possible that such movements were overlooked in the draft text?
Citing the report’s statistics on the voluntary return of displaced persons, he said it showed increasing stability, another positive development, and that the international community should extend the necessary support for those returnees. Assessments and preliminary meetings for that purpose had indeed been held.
In relation to the freedom of movement of UNAMID discussed in the report, he said increased patrols were evidence of the ability of the Mission to move through “every corner of Darfur”. Mr. Gambari himself accompanied a helicopter patrol over major cities in the region, he stressed.
He finally presented an argument maintaining that the problem of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which Sudan condemned and would fight against in coordination with the region, should not be considered in connection with Darfur. Expanding UNAMID’s mandate to cover that issue through the coming resolution would be an impediment to cooperation and the peace process, he warned.
The meeting was opened at 3:16 p.m. and closed at 3:46 p.m., at which time Council members were invited into consultations on Darfur, as previously agreed.
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (document S/2012/548), which includes an update on activities of the Mission, known as UNAMID, and the situation in the region including the political process there since 17 April 2012, as well as an assessment of progress against benchmarks set out in an annex of the report of 16 November 2009 (document S/2009/592).
In the report, the Secretary-General recommends a one-year extension for UNAMID, stressing that, in the absence of an inclusive settlement of the conflict, despite some political progress, it was important that UNAMID continue to contribute to the protection of civilians, facilitate the delivery of aid to vulnerable populations and assist the signatory parties to reach a durable, inclusive peace. He comments that, in the four years since its deployment, the security situation in Darfur has improved, with UNAMID having contributed to that situation.
During the coming year, he also recommends moving forward, in conjunction with the African Union, with the reconfiguration of the force recommended by the recent review, making it smaller in number, but better equipped and more rapidly deployable to confront emerging threats. Similarly, police personnel would possess skill sets appropriate to the prevailing and anticipated environment. He recommends that that the Council consider decreasing the authorized strength of the military component of UNAMID from 19,555 to 16,200 and that of its police component from 3,772 individual police officers to 2,312 and from 19 formed police units to 17.
On the political front, the report says that the signatory parties to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur — the Government of the Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) — continued to work towards the implementation of its provisions. In accordance with the power-sharing arrangements, in April six LJM members were appointed state ministers, including one to the post of Deputy Wali of Eastern Darfur. Early in May, $25 million and seven vehicles were transferred by the central Government to the Darfur Regional Authority, the body established under the Document to implement its provisions in conjunction with the Government of the Sudan. That enabled the Authority to establish offices in Khartoum and Darfur, commence the recruitment of staff and undertake planning activities.
However, the report states, many provisions of the Document remained unimplemented several months after their deadlines, including the transfer of funds by the central Government to the Darfur Reconstruction and Development Fund for reconstruction projects, the first tranche of which, $200 million, was due upon signing the agreement on 14 July 2011. The Secretary-General comments that progress has so far been focused mainly on establishing the institutions provided for in the agreement and associated political appointments and that the promised peace dividend, including reconstruction and measures aiding the return of the displaced, was critical.
It appeared, he says, that hostilities with South Sudan and economic problems had taken the Government’s focus off Darfur. Non-signatory movements had become emboldened by the situation, resulting in sporadic military action between them and the Government, along with more displacement and civilian casualties.
In the meantime, he says, the Darfur Regional Authority planned to convene a conference in preparation for the Darfur-based internal dialogue on an inclusive peace in El Fasher from 10 to 12 July, with UNAMID logistical assistance.
Turning to security of UNAMID and humanitarian personnel, he strongly condemns those responsible for attacks, kidnappings and other incidents during the reporting period and calls on the Government to bring those responsible to justice. Noting numerous restrictions imposed on UNAMID by Government authorities, including continued delays in issuance of visas, restrictions on movement by land and air and the expulsion of the sole contracted rations provider, he calls on the Government to take all action necessary to allow the Mission to operate freely throughout its area of operation. He finally expresses appreciation for the work of Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim, Ibrahim Gambari, who will complete his assignment with UNAMID on 31 July 2012.
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