UN urges support as Darfur attempts to “turn the page” from conflict to peace

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26 September 2011. Um Kadada: Egyptian soldier Ahmed Mahmoud, member of the UNAMID troops posted in Um Kadada (North Darfur), patrols at night in Hali Mussa (North-West of Um Kadada). 860 troops from Egypt are posted in Um Kadada where they assume the responsibility of the security. However, since 2010, this area is free of clashes and there is no camps for displaced people. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran - UNAMID
FILE PHOTO: Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir speaks during a press conference after the oath of the prime minister and first vice president Bakri Hassan Saleh at the palace in Khartoum, Sudan, March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah./File Photo

Top United Nations officials have urged continued international support to ensure that hard-won gains in the Darfur region of Sudan take hold.

“This is not the time to disengage,” Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told participants at the high-level meeting on Darfur, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual general debate.

“We have invested 16 billion U.S. dollars in peacekeeping alone over the past 10 years, in addition to humanitarian funding and bilateral aid to alleviate the suffering of the population. As the region recovers from war, now is the time to consolidate gains,” she said, adding that it was time to “step up and make sure Darfur moves towards peace and prosperity.”

A civil war which broke out in 2003, led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Darfuris and the displacement of nearly two million.

In the fighting between Sudanese Government troops and militias and other armed rebel groups, widespread atrocities such as murder and rape of civilians were committed.

Mohammed noted that today’s Darfur “looks very different” from the Darfur of 10 years ago when the African Union and the UN deployed their joint peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID, to help bring stability to the region.

“In the Darfur of today, we see intermittent clashes in the mountains of the Jebel Marra, but violent conflict has subsided. Outside of that zone, fighting has largely ended, and intercommunal clashes have been considerably reduced,” she noted.

“This is a significant achievement and a clear expression that our goal of silencing the guns in Africa can be a reality,” she added.

In July, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until the end of June next year, but reduced the number of troops deployed in the field with an eye towards the mission’s eventual exit.

At Friday’s meeting, the deputy secretary-general proposed the creation of a “Group of Friends of the Transition in Darfur” to provide political support and ensure the UN Country Team has sufficient resources during this period.

It was also proposed to have a pledging conference in the near future to ensure that the UN system can “ramp up” its work and avoid any gap in critical work as UNAMID draws down.

Echoing these sentiments, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix told reporters after the meeting that it was an important occasion to express support for the transition from an international support based on peacekeeping to one focused on peace building.

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