The acting head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today stressed the importance of the full engagement of the African Union (AU) in the Sudanese region to sustain progress towards peace and security.
During a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Acting Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID, Aïchatou Mindaoudou, and the new Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, discussed the resurgence of armed violence in August in North Darfur state, as well as the latest developments in the overall peace process.
In particular, Ms. Mindaoudou and Ms. Dlamini-Zuma focused on the recent agreement with elements of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) – one of the Darfuri rebel groups – in Doha, Qatar, this week as well as ongoing preparations for the upcoming donor conference for Darfur, which will also be held in Doha, in December.
On Monday, the Government of Sudan and the JEM signed a declaration affirming their commitment to the ongoing peace process there, the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations “in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict” on the basis of the so-called Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
The DDPD forms the basis for a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting that began in Darfur nine years ago, pitting Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups.
JEM is the second rebel group to commit to the DDPD, after the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed it last year.
During the meeting, Ms. Mindaoudou also highlighted the fact that five UN peacekeepers have been killed this month alone in attacks by armed groups. In a news release, UNAMID said Ms. Dlamini-Zuma agreed to raise all of the concerns discussed during the meeting with the AU Commission, and pledged to “put Darfur back on the radar-scope.”
Established in July 2007, UNAMID has the protection of civilians as its core mandate, but is also tasked with contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements and assisting with an inclusive political process, amongst other responsibilities.