News / Africa

UN-AU Darfur Operation Extended

Larry Freund

The United Nations Security Council voted Friday to extend the mandate for the African Union/U.N. operation in Darfur, known as UNAMID, for another year.

All 15 members of the security council voted in favor of extending the mandate for UNAMID for another 12 months.  The operation was established three years ago with a core mandate to protect of civilians in Darfur.

The council's vote followed a briefing Thursday by the head of U.N. peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy.

The security council's president, Joy Ogwu, discussed the resolution.

"The highlight, I will say, is the protection of civilians in the area and the access to humanitarian assistance.  Yesterday we had consultations and a briefing from Alain Le Roy on the Sudan.  There was a consensus among all of us that there is a need to increase international engagement in southern Sudan," said Ogwu.

A report this week by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says presidential and parliamentary elections in Sudan in April marked an important milestone in the implementation of that country's 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and gave many Sudanese their first voting experience.  However, Mr. Ban says the process of democratization is still fragile and slow to take root.  He adds that southern Sudan's January referendum on independence will require significant international support, if it is to be viewed as credible.

The security council's president, Ogwu, said the monitoring role of the United Nations Missions in Sudan, UNMIS, will be enhanced.

Earlier in the week, the head of the United Nations/African Union operation in Sudan, Ibrahim Gambari, told the security council that the Darfur peace process is at a critical juncture.  He said that while the security situation in Darfur has deteriorated, prospects for a negotiated settlement appear to have improved slightly.

The security council resolution extending the mandate expresses deep concern about the worsening security situation in Darfur and calls on all parties to end hostilities and urgently help with humanitarian access.

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