Progress in deployment of Darfur force priority for Security Council – President

Progress in deployment of Darfur force priority for Security Council – President

Council President Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama
The deployment of the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur will be among the major issues taken up by the Security Council this month, its President said today.

This Friday, the Council will have a public meeting to hear the presentation of the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID, rather than just consultations as per the norm.

“The aim is to bring greater awareness of the entire membership of the situation that is taking place in Sudan and the difficulties that, at this point, the mission is finding,” Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, said at a press briefing in New York.

Although the mission is now in operation in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes since fighting began in 2003 between Government forces and rebel groups, many outstanding issues remain between UNAMID and the Government.

In addition, UNAMID – which at full deployment is expected to have some 26,000 troops and police officers – still lacks essential logistics and equipment, including helicopters.

Last week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed on the need to accelerate UNAMID’s deployment during a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit.

Mr. Ban is expected to brief the Council tomorrow on his meeting with the AU, as well as the other stops on his recent trip.