Khartoum — At a virtual handover ceremony and press conference on Thursday, the chief of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) contributed 10 off-road vehicles to the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In a press statement on Thursday afternoon, Unamid said the contribution is part of "the Mission's resolve to continue its operational support to the Transitional Government of Sudan in its fight against desert locusts, especially at a time the country, and the rest of the world, is also battling the Covid-19 pandemic".
During the virtual handover ceremony, Unamid's Joint Special Representative /Joint Chief Mediator Jeremiah Mamabolo noted that: "In the midst of the threat of Covid-19, there are other dangers as well. The threat of a desert locust invasion is one of them as it poses a real threat to the agricultural season and food security in Sudan during these tenuous times.
"Today, as part of our joint partnership with the Government, Unamid is pleased to handover this gift of 10 serviceable 4X4s, off-road and desert dweller vehicles to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to tackle the devastating effect of the swarms of desert locusts that are ravaging crops in the country. While these vehicles would help to curtail the destructive effects of the locusts, and enhance food security, they would also be of use to advance Government's endeavour to combat the dreadful COVID-19 disease," Mamabolo stated.
"Against this backdrop, I would like to re-echo the Secretary General's appeal for cessation of hostilities and allow for collaborative effort as the world gears itself to fight this COVID-19 menace, and reiterate my call on all parties to the Sudan conflict to see reason to join the peace process in Juba for a comprehensive agreement that would foster genuine and speedy nation building," he added.
Mamabolo further extended his appreciation to the Sudanese government "for its continued efforts to respond to the needs of its citizens". He also commended the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN Country Team members "for their unfettered support to the government in fulfilling its responsibilities to its citizens".
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Eisa Osman commended Unamid's support to his Ministry in its war against desert locusts and to the TGoS in its fight to protect everyone in Sudan from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today's contribution from Unamid is another landmark in the Mission's endeavor to support us in protecting our crops to ensure food security for our population during these critical times where we are working shoulder-to-shoulder with the international community to combat COVID-19," the minister stated.
"Unamid has worked in partnership with us at the federal level and at the state levels to support the Darfuri population over the years. For that we are grateful," he concluded.
The virtual event was the first of its kind in the history of UN and AU Peace Operations in Sudan.
The handover ceremony and press conference were held via CCTV from the Mission's Khartoum Office, the Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources press suite and the Ministry's parking lot where Unamid drivers, in protective masks and gloves, handed over the keys of the vehicles to the ministry's transport officials.
Both the Minister and the JSR signed the official handover documents virtually in the presence of media and journalists.
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