26 March 2019
8490th Meeting (PM)

Addressing Security Council Meeting on 1591 Committee, Sudan’s Representative Calls for Lifting Sanctions, Citing Improved Situation in Darfur

The current situation in Darfur is “completely different” from 2005, when sanctions were imposed, the representative of Sudan said today, urging the lifting of the arms embargo, as the Security Council heard a briefing on the work of its Committee established to implement the restrictive measures.

The country’s representative affirmed his Government’s commitment to cooperate with all institutions and United Nations bodies active there, including the Panel of Experts on the Sudan, welcoming that the Committee Chair would like to visit the nation.

He expressed hope that a visit would allow for assessing the ground situation and gathering first-hand knowledge so that the Panel of Experts could form opinions on documented truths, rather than on reports, which have no meaning.

All reports by the Secretary-General and the Panel of Experts bear witness to an improved situation, he said, citing one in particular which led to the adoption of resolution 2263 (2019), and another in 2018, which outlined a drawdown process for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) when its mandate ends in June 2020.

Strengthening of the state and state institutions throughout Darfur could not take place without lifting of the arms embargo, he said, expressing hope that that would happen fast.

On the final report of the former Head of the Sanctions Committee in December 2017, he said “the overall situation in Darfur improved in a significant way”, and all United Nations efforts — be they peacekeeping or sanctions — should be reviewed in a complementary manner to reflect the current situation on the ground.  Some resolutions say the situation has improved and UNAMID has drawn down 75 per cent.  Yet some sanctions are still in place, he said, urging the Council to take steps to eliminate such contradictions.

Briefing the Council on the work of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan was its Chair, Joanna Wronecka (Poland).

Presenting an update on the period from 18 January to 25 March, she said that the Committee met with regional Member States on 12 February to discuss the Panel of Expert’s final report.  The Committee discussed with interlocutors the issue of borders, security and armed groups in the region.  They expressed their commitment to the implementation of the sanctions measures and highlighted the importance of building on the spirit of cooperation.  The Panel’s mandate expired on 12 March, and the Committee is awaiting the official appointment of the five experts by the Secretary-General, she added.

Noting that the Panel closely monitored the situation which preceded and followed the declaration of the state of emergency in Sudan, she said that, at the time of writing, it was reported that the protests were still ongoing in some parts of the country and that several opposition parties had joined the protests.  The protests had an impact on the peace talks as the non-signatory movements suspended their involvement in further discussions.

She went on to state that the Panel of Experts reported that the overall situation in Darfur has remained more stable than in Khartoum and some other areas of Sudan.  The Panel underlined some regional risks and threats for the peace process in Darfur, and also informed the Committee about the localized, frequent skirmishes between the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) and the Government in Jebel Marra as well as the activities of the “Darfuri rebel groups” based in Libya.  Despite the decrease in conflict, thousands remained in need of humanitarian assistance.  She said she intends to visit Sudan, but given the current political and security situation, the dates for the visit have yet to be determined.

The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 3:26 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.