The head of United Nations peacekeeping is due to arrive in Sudan today for talks with senior Government officials on issues relating to the deployment of the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur, the war-wracked region in the country’s west.
Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno is expected to reach the capital, Khartoum, today to begin a four-day visit, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.
Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute is already in the African country, having visited all three states in Darfur since arriving on Friday. She returned to Khartoum today for a meeting with Mutrif Siddiq, the Undersecretary at the Sudanese Foreign Affairs Ministry.
While in Darfur, Ms. Holl Lute visited camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs), met local Government officials and held discussions with the military and civilian leadership of the new peacekeeping operation – known as UNAMID – including the AU/UN Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada.
Although the mission is now in operation in Darfur, many outstanding issues between it and the Government remain.
UNAMID Force Commander Gen. Martin Luther Agwai and the mission’s Police Commissioner Maj.-Gen. Mike Fryer gave detailed briefings about the work of the mission to the Sudanese armed forces, police and state security service at a meeting over the weekend in Khartoum.
The mission described that gathering “as an important confidence-building meeting,” noting that Maj.-Gen. Fryer emphasized the need to intensify community policing, fight gender-based violence and improve cooperation between the UNAMID police force and local officers.
UNAMID is being deployed to try to quell nearly five years of violent clashes between rebels, Government forces and allied militia known as the Janjaweed. More than 200,000 people have been killed across the vast and arid region since 2003 and at least 2.2 million others have been displaced.