March 26, 2016 (KHARTOUM) -The tripartite committee tasked with developing an exit strategy for the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has held its twentieth meeting in New York on 22 March and decided to resume its work in mid-April.
A tripartite team including the Sudanese government, African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) has been set up in February 2015 to develop an exit strategy for the UNAMID from Darfur.
The panel was expected to sign an agreement in May 2015. But in June, Sudanese officials said that the UN retracted from an agreement reached by the joint team on an exit strategy.
The UN linked the full withdrawal of the peacekeeping operation from Darfur region with signing of a ceasefire agreement within a peace agreement where the protection of civilians can be ensured.
In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Saturday, Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ali al-Sadiq said the government side in the meeting was headed by the foreign ministry’s under-secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m while the AU side was chaired by the AU peace and security commissioner Ismail Sherfi.
The UN delegation included the UN peacekeeping chief, Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare and the Joint Special Representative for Darfur and head of UNAMID Martin Uhomoibhi.
He said the meeting underscored the importance of the tripartite committee’s role in enhancing the effective implementation of the UNAMID’s mandate and praised efforts exerted in this regard.
“Discussions were conducted in a positive atmosphere of cooperation in which the participants focused on the procedural matters that affect the successful fulfilment of the UNAMID’s mandate,” he said.
Al-Sadiq added that the Sudanese government emphasized that it would continue to cooperate in all logistical matters including issuance of customs permissions and visas for the UNAMID and humanitarian workers.
For its part, the mission expressed commitment to cooperate with the Sudanese government in issues of concern for the Sudanese side and in particular the technical and procurement issues.
He pointed that the meeting discussed the implementation of the exit strategy according to the benchmarks approved by the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC).
According to al-Sadiq, the tripartite team decided to resume its work during the second week of April and to hold its 21 st meeting during the third week of May.
The three parties underscored full commitment to achieve the agreed upon objective and to support the mission to fulfil its mandate.
The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the 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.