24 July 2012

Sudan: Gambari Asks UNSC to Task Darfur Peacekeepers With Supporting Development

Khartoum — The Head of the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, highlighted before the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday the progress implemented as part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), underscoring the need for his mission to undertake activities that support development in Sudan's western region.

"It is time for the task of peacekeeping to be complemented by initiatives that advanced peacebuilding and early recovery and development in Darfur," Gambari, who also acts a joint chief mediator for Darfur, told representatives of the UNSC 15 members.

His report comes amid preparations by the UNSC to renew UNAMID mandate which is due to expire on 31 July.

Gambari commended the DDPD signatories, the Sudanese government and the former rebel Justice and Liberation Movement (LJM), for establishing the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), saying it provided a "new and direct partner with which to advance our common goal of peace in Darfur".

However, he pointed out that other provisions of the DDPD had fallen behind schedule, attributing this fact to the financial stresses that the Khartoum government is facing.

Gamabri also noted that the progress was fragile, warning it could be easily reversible "should we lose focus."

He also said that several smaller armed groups listed in his report, mainly a breakaway faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), had expressed interest in signing the DDPD. He added that "it was agreed" with Sudanese officials that the environment was suitable for a re-launch of the mediation process to include armed factions on the basis of the DDPD.

Describing developments in the region since the last report on 17 April 2012, Gambari said that incidents of aerial bombardment by Sudanese forces and clashes with unidentified armed groups had occurred, noting that UNMAID verified that 750 people were displaced in the fighting.

Darfur conflict has largely receded from its pinnacle of 2003-2004 but incidents of insecurity and fighting continue to occur.

UNAMID is mandated under the UN chapter seven to protect civilians in Darfur and support the implementation of the DDPD.

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