September 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The third and final phase of the exit strategy of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) would be completed within two years, said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Na’im. In press statements on Saturday, al-Nai’m pointed out that Darfur’s five states became safe and it is now hosting large numbers of refugees from other countries.
He stressed Sudan would continue to support the Mission to carry out its tasks until it leaves the region, saying Darfur has now moved from emergency phase to reconstruction and development which underlines that the region is safe and stable.
A tripartite working group including the Sudanese government, African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) has been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.
In June 2017, the AU and the UN decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) admitted that the security situation in Darfur has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as a Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) refuses to declare a unilateral truce or to engage in peace negotiations.
Last July, the UNSC unanimously decided to extend for one year the mandate of the UNAMID and also to reduce the number of its troops in line with an exit strategy aiming to close the hybrid operation in two years.
The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in western Sudan’s region.
It is the world’s second-largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million are displaced.