Welcoming the political transition and the launch of a countrywide peace process in Sudan, the Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by one year, until 31 October 2020.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2495 (2019), the 15‑member body decided that the Mission will maintain its current troop and police level until 31 March 2020, keeping all team sites other than the sector headquarters in South Darfur, with drawdown plans following that date to be decided upon.
The Council decided, by the text, that priorities of the extended mandate will include support to the peace process and peacebuilding activities, as recommended in the special report of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General (document S/2019/816).
The Mission will also focus on protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, monitoring of human rights — particularly gender‑based violence and abuse of children — and support for the voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of displaced persons.
The Council also urged the Government of Sudan to abide by its commitment to use all handed‑over UNAMID team sites exclusively for civilian purposes. Welcoming the launch of peace negotiations on 14 October with the support of South Sudan, the Council called upon the Government of Sudan, Darfur armed movements and all other stakeholders to meaningfully participate and demonstrate progress in advancing the negotiations with the goal of creating a fair and comprehensive peace, enabling UNAMID to fully draw down.
To inform consideration of drawdown options by the 31 March deadline, the Council requested another joint special report by 31 January 2020 assessing the situation on the ground, progress in the peace process, information on the status of team sites previously handed over to the Government, and recommendations for the drawdown itself.
Following the adoption, Jonathan Guy Allen (United Kingdom) thanked Council members and Sudanese representatives for their constructive engagement on the resolution, which he said demonstrates the Council’s support for the new civilian Government and its peace initiatives. By extending UNAMID’s mandate for a year, the Council responded to the Government’s request for support in reaching a comprehensive peace, he added. He hoped to see progress in that regard before 31 March. “We have a partner in the Government of Sudan,” he said, looking forward to continued dialogue with the country on the drawdown of UNAMID.
Christoph Heusgen (Germany), also thanking all those involved in cooperation on the draft, said that it showed that the Council is responsive to the changes in Sudan and the Government’s needs. It also shows that firm support for the role of UNAMID in the peace process, with a strong message sent to the parties on the need for progress. The transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding must be informed by conditions on the ground and dialogue with all stakeholders including the African Union, he emphasized.
Michael Barkin (United States) welcomed support for the new civilian Government demonstrated by the adoption. At the same time, he voiced an expectation that this be UNAMID’s final such extension, leading to a follow‑on mandate which meets the country’s development needs. In the lead‑up to that transition, he welcomed the role of UNAMID in fostering conditions conducive for the peace process and ensuring inclusion of women leaders and civilians. Calling on all parties to fulfil their obligations in reaching a comprehensive peace, he noted that there was still a long way to go to achieve stability in Darfur. He looked forward to the recommendations for Mission’s transition in that regard.
Anne Gueguen (France) welcomed the Council’s response to the needs of the new Government and called on all the armed groups to participate constructively in the peace process. Stressing the need to accompany the country during the period required to consolidate peace in Darfur, she looked forward to a timely presentation of follow‑on recommendations.
Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig (Sudan) expressed very warm thanks to all the members of the Security Council for extending the mandate for a year and for maintaining current troop levels for six months. His Government had requested that extension to be able to build the necessary conditions for peace and implement confidence‑building measures. He expressed hope that the Council will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the civilian governance of Sudan as it works to overcome the challenges ahead.
The Government is aware of those challenges, he said, including the need to mitigate socioeconomic problems. It has already started a study to begin the process of determining the most effective United Nations presence following UNAMID, in coordination with the African Union National Commission on Peace and Security. The goal is to deal with the consequences of the conflict and bring about lasting peace. Certainly assistance in facing the economic crisis will be requested, as will taking Sudan off the list of countries supporting terrorism. He reiterated thanks for the support of the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, paying tribute to personnel of UNAMID as well. He pledged full cooperation with the Mission and the international community in working towards mutual goals.
The meeting began at 3 p.m. and ended at 3:16 p.m.
* The 8653rd Meeting was closed.