A tripartite coordination group of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has concluded that the mission has made progress and that cooperation and coordination with the Sudanese Government has improved, as have security conditions on the ground.
The Tripartite Coordination Mechanism, which met at UN Headquarters on Saturday encouraged UNAMID to support the peace process in Darfur by engaging other groups and preparing for internal dialogue and the Darfur political process.
The mechanism brings together senior representative from the African Union (AU), United Nations and the Sudanese Government to reinforce cooperation in support of UNAMID's mandate of protecting civilians in Darfur.
In recent meetings, participants proposed that UNAMID shift its focus from troop deployment to the effective use of its resources for the full implementation of its mandate.
On the security situation, UNAMID noted that inter-ethnic violence had declined in recent months and that the number of overall deaths in Darfur fell from 2,321 in 2010 to 724 so far this year. The number of incidents of carjacking also fell due to mitigation measures undertaken by UNAMID and the Government.
However, participants voiced concern over attacks on peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel in Darfur, including the abduction of an international aid worker who remains in captivity. They also took note of the Government's commitment to securing the safe release of the hostage and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Other issues discussed included access and freedom of movement, the conference on water resources in June, and the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
Participants took note of increased UNAMID patrols and an access restriction rate of less than one percent. UNAMID's Operation Spring Basket had contributed to the expansion of humanitarian access to previously inaccessible parts of Jebel Marra and elsewhere in Darfur.
They welcomed efforts to resolve restrictions of movement through a subcommittee of UNAMID, local authorities and Government security entities.
Participants in the meeting were Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Sudanese Government Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Susan Malcorra, UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Ibrahim Gambari, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID.
The participants agreed to meet again in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, possibly in January next year, when they will focus attention on strategic issues, including how better to utilize the mission's resources, the road map for the Darfur peace process and a forthcoming review of uniformed personnel requirements for UNAMID.