Any United Nations peacekeeping mission that takes over from the African Union (AU) in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region will need to work in “partnership” with the country’s people and Government, the head of the recent Security Council mission there said today, while repeating the delegation’s view that such a force was needed to curb the killings in a region that has also seen more than 2 million people displaced.
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, addressing the 15-member body on the mission’s report of its trip, also reiterated the importance of viewing the situation in Sudan in terms of the wider region, in particular the situation in neighbouring Chad where the delegation also visited.
“We came away I think all again reconfirmed in our view that, as the African Union has itself decided, it is right that the UN should take over the peacekeeping operation in Darfur, that’s the short-term objective,” he said.
“I would only end by stressing this: the wish that we all kept repeating and which is fundamental to policy, in wanting to see a partnership with the Government and the people of Sudan. It’s a partnership, we can’t do this without the consent of the Government, that is obvious.
“Our wish is to see an improvement in all aspects of the situation in Sudan and that the United Nations should play its part working with that Government and its people,” the Ambassador concluded.
France’s ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, who led the mission’s trip to Chad, also addressed the Council today and again emphasized the importance of viewing the situation in Darfur in terms of regional peace, in particular highlighting the worsening relations between the two countries in recent months.
“Relations between Sudan and Chad have deteriorated greatly…and one of the issues that arises for the Security Council is the border issue,” he said, while also emphasizing concerns over conditions in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons in Chad, many of whom have fled attacks by Janjaweed militia in Darfur.
“I want to underline the following – the fact of the humanitarian situation in the refugee camps of displaced persons gives rise to grave concerns…we were very much affected by the issue of forced recruitment and the problems pertaining to ensuring security of humanitarian workers.”
Sudan’s Government have so far refused to accept a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur but Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that he, along with African officials, would be discussing the matter with Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir at a meeting sponsored by the AU in the Gambia on Saturday.
Mr. Annan has also said he had appealed to Security Council members to bring their collective and individual pressure to bear not just on the Sudanese Government to support the deployment, but also on the rebels that are outside the peace agreement on Darfur – that was signed last month – to sign it, and on all parties to implement the pact in good faith.