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January 17, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan has demanded the United Nations Security Council to reduce the number of the Joint African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) saying the positive developments in the region since July 2011 justify such demarche.

Recent reports from the region indicate the decrease of clashes between the government army and the rebel groups since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) on 14 July 2011. However, the hybrid mission mentioned the persistence of some banditry, crime and sexual and gender-based violence.

In light of the positive developments of the peace process in Darfur, the start of the implementation of the Doha document and the expansion of security, peace and stability in the region, Sudan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman has called on the Security Council to reduce UNAMID members, the official SUNA reported.

The Sudanese ambassador told the UN Security Council that this demand is consistent with the UN Resolution 2003 of 2011 which calls to review the component of the hybrid mission.

Daffa-Alla stressed that the reduction of the largest peacekeeping mission, will allow the United Nations to save more than two billion dollars and that can be allocated to the development projects in the region.

Established by a resolution voted on 31 July 2007, the UNMAID is authorized to deploy over 26.000 among them 25987 uniformed personnel. But since last December 2007 when it took over from the African Union mission in Sudan up to date there are only 22289 including military, police and civilian staffers.

The initial mandate of the UNIMAD is to protect civilians and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy in the region. Last Year, the UN Security Council attempted to enlarge this mandate and asked the hybrid mission to to coordinate its activities with two other missions in the disputed Abyei and the newly independent South Sudan.

However Khartoum rejected any extension of the activities of the UNAMID and threatened to expel it.

Sudan imposes regular restrictions on the movements of UNAMID patrols and refuses the use of tactical helicopters the UN worked hard to get in order to enhance the capabilities of the Mission. Khartoum also refuses to authorize the peacekeeping mission to establish its own radio but allows it to broadcast some programmes through the regional stations.

(ST)