UN Security Council due to vote to close Sudan political mission

  • World
  • Friday, 01 Dec 2023

Families escaping Ardamata in West Darfur cross into Adre, Chad, after a wave of ethnic violence, November 7, 2023. Survivors recounted executions and looting in Ardamata, which they said were carried out by RSF and allied Arab militias. REUTERS/El Tayeb Siddig/File Photo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Friday to end a political mission in war-torn Sudan, diplomats said, after the country's acting foreign minister requested the move earlier this month and described the mission's performance as "disappointing."

A war erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces after weeks of rising tension between the two sides over a plan to integrate forces as part of a transition from military rule to civilian democracy.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the situation to reporters on Tuesday: "You have two generals that completely disregard the interests of their population."

When asked whether the conflict was a failure of the United Nations or African Union, Guterres said: "It's time to call a spade a spade. This is the fault of those that sacrificed the interests of their people for a pure struggle for power."

The draft council resolution terminates the mandate of the U.N. mission, known as UNITAMS, on Dec. 3 and requires it to wind down over the next three months. UNITAMS was established by the 15-member council in June 2020 to provide support to Sudan during its political transition to democratic rule.

The draft text "recognises the importance of U.N. agencies, funds and programmes, underlines the necessity of an orderly UNITAMS transition and liquidation in order to ensure the safety of U.N. personnel and the effective functioning of all U.N. operations, including humanitarian and development assistance."

A U.N. country team providing humanitarian and development aid will remain in the country.

Violence against civilians in Sudan is "verging on pure evil," a senior United Nations official warned earlier this month, as a humanitarian crisis in the country worsens and ethnic violence escalates in the western region of Darfur.

"The United Nations is not leaving Sudan," U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.

"Despite what is going on with the political mission, I think it is very important for people to remember that we have humanitarian colleagues in large numbers who remain present in Sudan, assisting people who are in need of dire humanitarian aid," he said.

The U.N. special envoy to Sudan announced in September that he was stepping down, more than three months after Sudan declared him unwelcome.

Last week Guterres appointed veteran Algerian diplomat Ramtane Lamamra as his personal envoy for Sudan. The draft Security Council resolution encourages all parties to cooperate with the envoy.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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