What's In Blue

Darfur: Briefing by Ibrahim Gambari

On Friday, 22 July the head of UNAMID, Ibrahim Gambari will brief the Council and Council members will hold closed consultations following the briefing. It seems that an initial draft of the resolution to renew UNAMID’s mandate, which expires on 31 July, may be presented by the UK during the consultations. The Secretary-General has recommended a 12-month renewal of the mission.

Gambari’s briefing to the Council is likely to draw upon the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/422), as well as cover recent developments such as the signing of a peace agreement between the government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in Doha on 14 July. He may also cover the harassment of UNAMID national staff members by the government of Sudan.

Council members are likely to be interested in some of the key observations in the Secretary-General’s report including:

. that the Darfur peace process has reached a critical juncture, but a comprehensive settlement to the conflict in Darfur seems a long way off;

. a new road map for comprehensive peace in Darfur is being prepared and the international community must be united in their messages to all parties;

. that the peace process could benefit from a credible Darfur-based internal dialogue and consultations process;

. assistance to the government of Sudan to address instability should be holistic and all efforts to advance peace in Darfur should be complementary to broader strategies for stability in other areas;

. that the restrictions of movement of UNAMID and humanitarian organisations are a problem but the mission reserves the right to assess the security of its patrols and if the risk is acceptable to proceed according to its mandate;

. there is concern over the detention without charge or trial of UNAMID national staff members by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in violation of the status-of-forces agreement.

The AU Peace and Security Council agreed on 19 July to extending UNAMID for a further 12 months. The communiqué also highlighted AU hopes for an increasing contribution from UNAMID to advancing the search for lasting peace in Darfur, including launching the controversial Darfur-based peace process (DPP).

Council members continue to be divided in their approach to a number of aspects of the situation in Darfur. Given the different positions on both the DPP and the Doha process, UNAMID’s political role in facilitating the DPP will continue to be a contentious issue during the negotiations on the resolution in the coming week. Another area where there are differences among Council members is the approach to applying pressure to rebel groups to cease confrontations with pro-government elements and join established peace processes.

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