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Darfur: UN-African mission to boost civilian protection, support for peace process

Darfur: UN-African mission to boost civilian protection, support for peace process

Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari addresses media on arrival in Khartoum on 22 Jan. 2010
The head of the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur said today that the mission will continue to strengthen its operations this year to improve security and provide better protection to civilians, while supporting efforts to resolve the conflict there.

“We will continue to enhance our operations on the ground and are constantly liaising with local authorities and monitoring the situation to heighten our security awareness and ensure full preparedness on our part,” said Ibrahim Gambari, the Joint AU-UN Special Representative in Darfur, and head of the mission, which is known as UNAMID.

“This year will be very critical for the future of UNAMID, the future of Sudan, maybe the future of Africa, and we have to be prepared,” Mr. Gambari said in a speech to UNAMID staff in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, nearly a year after he took over as the head of the mission.

“Our key priorities for 2011 will be to continue working towards a more secure and stable environment, including the protection of the civilian population; continuing to support the Darfur peace and political process and the search for a comprehensive political and inclusive settlement, which addresses the root causes of the conflict in Darfur,” he said.

The mission will also continue to support the process of voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes of origin, and to work towards improving the welfare of UNAMID staff.

“There are still many obstacles ahead of us in 2011,” said Mr. Gambari. “We will only succeed if we continue to work with full dedication and commitment, as we have done in the previous years,” he said.

He thanked the staff for their contribution and sacrifice, saying he continues to count on them to remain steadfast in their commitment to UNAMID’s service to the people of Darfur.

UNAMID has been working since 2008 to protect civilians and quell the violence in Darfur, where nearly seven years of fighting between the Government, its militia supporters and rebel groups has killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million others from their homes.