UN officials hold talks with Sudan on deployment of Darfur peacekeepers
Senior United Nations officials met with Sudanese Government and African Union (AU) officials over the weekend to discuss ongoing issues relating to the deployment of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to the war-wracked region of Darfur.
The status of forces agreement (SOFA) between UNAMID and the Government topped the discussions, held yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to a press statement issued by the mission in El Fasher.
“The discussions were constructive and the parties indicated that they all look forward to the successful conclusion of the SOFA negotiations, as soon as possible,” the statement noted.
The meeting was also part of preparations for high-level discussions on UNAMID’s deployment, scheduled to take place on the margins of the forthcoming AU summit in Addis Ababa.
UNAMID – which should have about 26,000 troops and police officers at full strength – is being fielded 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 Darfurians have been killed across the vast and arid region since 2003 and at least 2.2 million others have been displaced.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno attended yesterday’s meeting, along with Rodolphe Adada, the UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Said Djinnit and Mutrif Siddiq, the Undersecretary at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry.