Security Council welcomes African decision to transform Darfur force

13 March 2006

The Security Council today welcomed the decision of the African Union (AU) to support, in principle, the transition of the AU peacekeeping mission in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan to a United Nations operation.

“The Security Council commended the African Union for the successful deployment of the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and AMIS’ role in reducing large-scale organized violence in Darfur,” Council President César Mayoral of Argentina told the press after the body was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi.

Mr. Mayoral also expressed strong support for the AU’s role in the Darfur peace talks in Abuja, underlining that “political settlement is key to peace in Sudan and that the AU should maintain leadership in the Abuja process.”

Deteriorating security in Darfur in recent months has prevented aid in reaching more than a million victims of Sudan’s vicious three-year-old conflict, in which fighting between government forces, pro-government militias and rebels has killed some 180,000 people and displaced 2 million others.

The current UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS), deployed to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed about a year ago for south Sudan, has a mandate from the UN Security Council to provide some support to AMIS in Darfur.

However violence continues to flare, prompting the Security Council to consider augmenting the AU force under the UN, and, last month, to consider sanctioning individuals deemed to be a threat to the peace or to human rights in the area.

The Council is having a public meeting on Darfur on 21 March, to which it is inviting Salim Salim, the mediator of the Abuja talks, Ambassador Mayoral said.