Sudan’s Defense Minister Awad Ibn Ouf Wednesday discussed with the head of UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Jean-Pierre Lacroix the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
Last month, the UNSC unanimously approved a resolution to extend the mandate of the UNAMID until 30 June 2018 and to reduce by a half its troops.
The hybrid mission will be reduced by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase.
According to the official news agency SUNA, Ibn Ouf praised UNAMID’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in Sudan, welcoming the U.N. decision to downsize the mission.
He said the decision indicates the stability of security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, expressing hope that the mission would continue its efforts to convince the rebel movements to join the peace and dialogue process.
The defence minister further expressed army’s readiness to provide all forms of assistance and facilities to enable the mission to implement the reduction decision in coordination with the joint committees formed for this purpose.
For his part, Lacroix thanked the Ministry of Defence, hoping for further coordination in order to achieve the desired goals and make a positive shift in peace-related issues, including empowering the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to carry out its duty and to complete the Joint Monitoring and Verification Committees.
The newly appointed French diplomat will visit Abyei to meet UNISFA chief and inspect the situation in the disputed border area, after what he will move to South Sudan to meet South Sudanese officials and UN peacekeeping mission in the restive country.
The hybrid mission has been deployed in Darfur since December 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the western Sudan’s region.
It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.