Ban Ki-moon hails signing of status of forces agreement for Darfur mission
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the signing of the status of forces agreement (SOFA) for the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) deployed to Darfur to try to quell the violence and suffering in the war-wracked Sudanese region.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban noted that the SOFA was signed on 10 February by Rodolphe Adada, the Joint Special Representative of the UN and AU to Darfur, and Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor.
The SOFA covers the activities of the military, police and civilian personnel of the mission, which is expected to have almost 26,000 uniformed personnel when it reaches full deployment. It deals with UNAMID funds, property and communications facilities, as well as the safety and security of mission personnel, their privileges and immunities, and their ability to enter and exit Sudan.
“The signing of this agreement represents a positive step forward in our efforts to deploy UNAMID, and the Secretary-General would like to congratulate all parties involved in the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the SOFA,” the statement said.
Responding to questions from reporters today, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General and UN peacekeeping officials were continuing with their “vigorous quest” to obtain commitments from Member States for the remaining capacities that UNAMID needs – such as military aircraft – to be able to fulfil its entire mandate.