El Fasher, 5 February 2009 - A high-level UNAMID delegation, led by the African Union - United Nations Joint Special Representative (JSR), Mr. Rodolphe Adada, paid a two-day visit to N'Djamena, the capital city of neighboring Chad, to meet with the leadership of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) from 4-5 February 2009.
The delegation, which included UNAMID Deputy Force Commander General Emmanuel Karenzi Karake and political, humanitarian and security Mission officials, held talks with the Chairman of the JEM, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, and senior officials from the movement. JEM Representatives included Mr. Jibril Ibrahim Mohamed, Economic Advisor; Mr. Ahmed Hussein Adam, JEM Spokesperson; Mr. Bushara Suleiman, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and General Ezzedin Youssif Baggi, Secretary of Financial Affairs.
The meeting was called as part of UNAMID's continued efforts to establish a good working relationship with all parties involved in the Darfur conflict, as well as to discuss the recent developments in Muhajeriya, South Darfur. Dr. Ibrahim informed JSR Adada that his movement has decided to pull out from Muhajeriya after UNAMID's decision to remain in the area and following appeals by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, and the international community, to ensure that the local population be kept out of imminent danger. JSR Adada commended the JEM decision to remove its forces from Muhajeriya adding, "The withdrawal no doubt saved many lives and prevented tragic consequences for civilians."
Dr. Khalil Ibrahim stated that the JEM is willing to establish a working relationship with UNAMID for the protection of civilians. The JEM leader concurred with the necessity of avoiding situations similar to that of Muhajeriya in the future. The JEM offered its commitment to cooperate with UNAMID to contribute to the improvement of the region's humanitarian situation until the achievement of a comprehensive peace agreement. JSR Adada reiterated that UNAMID is absolutely neutral in dealing with all parties involved, as this neutrality is the only way for the Mission to achieve its mandate. The discussion covered political, humanitarian, and security issues raised by UNAMID and the JEM. Both parties agreed to the necessity of a mechanism for better coordination on the ground.
The JEM commended UNAMID's commitment to carrying out its mandate, citing the Mission's refusal to evacuate Muhajeriya in order to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.