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UNMIS Will Continue With Mandate

A handout picture from UNMIS shows internally displaced persons (IDP) waiting for the distribution of aid during a visit by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes in the town of Akobo in southern Sudan, 8 May 2009

An official of the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says the world body will continue discharging its duties and responsibilities to protect ordinary Sudanese as mandated by the Security Council.

Asharaf Eissa said the U.N. mission will also continue to monitor the ceasefire agreement signed between President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

“The Security Council has not mandated us to specifically monitor the ceasefire, but we do this on the basis of the ceasefire mechanisms stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) and the NCP (National Congress Party),” he said.

This comes after the SPLM claimed it had evidence that President Bashir’s National Congress Party was trying to destabilize the semi-autonomous south by arming proxy militias in the region.

Yasir Arman, a leading member of the SPLM said President Bashir’s Party was using the Arab tribes to destabilize the south ahead of next year’s scheduled referendum that will determine whether southern Sudanese want an independent country or remain part of Sudan.

But, supporters of the NCP denied the accusation saying their party committed to fully implementing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

UNMIS official Eissa said the world body will continue to monitor the situation on the ground.

“A ceasefire joint military committee that is chaired by the U.N.’s Mission in Sudan, the force commander and representative commanders from the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), whenever there is violation, this violation is brought to the attention of the committee. And then, the committee decides collectively on performing verification and monitoring. Then the U.N. peacekeepers go in and verify on the basis of the report that this committee receive,” Eissa said.

UNMIS consists of over 17, 000 military personnel and over 3,000 civilian police personnel.

The U.N. mission to Sudan was mandated by the Security Council to monitor the country’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that effectively ended the more than 20 year civil war between the north and the south.