UN Security Council ends political mission in Sudan

World Saturday 02/December/2023 09:43 AM
By: DW
UN Security Council ends political mission in Sudan

The UN Security Council on Friday ended its political mission in Sudan at the country's request. Fourteen of the Security Council's 15 members adopted the resolution, while Russia abstained.

The mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) will be terminated on Sunday and followed by a three-month transition period allowing for the departure of their staff, as well as the transfer of some of its tasks to other UN agencies.

The UN mission in Sudan employs 245 people, including 88 in Port Sudan, as well as others in Nairobi and Addis Ababa, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed last month.

"Let me be clear. The United Kingdom would not have chosen to close UNITAMS at this moment," said Britain's deputy UN envoy James Kariuki, whose country drafted the text.

US envoy Robert Wood said, "We are gravely concerned that a reduced international presence in Sudan will only serve to embolden the perpetrators of atrocities with dire consequences for civilians."

In its text, the Security Council expressed "alarm at the continued violence and humanitarian situation, in particular violations of international humanitarian law and grave human rights violations and abuses" in Sudan.

UNITAMS was put in place in 2020 to help support a democratic transition in Sudan following the fall of the previous year of autocrat Omar al-Bashir. But in October 2021, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan assumed power in a coup.

On April 15, 2023, before a deal on resuming the transition to democracy could be signed, fighting erupted between the Sudanese army led by Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

The conflict has forced more than 6 million people to flee, either to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighboring countries.

Later, Burhan blamed UNITAMS chief Volker Perthes for the violence, and demanded his removal. Perthes stepped down in September, with no replacement.

The government in Khartoum demanded the withdrawal of the UN mission saying it had been "disappointing. Since the UN needs the host nation's approval to operate, it had no choice but to end the mission.