Latest developments in Darfur focus of UN-African Union meeting

Officials from the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) yesterday briefed the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on the latest security and humanitarian situation in the war-torn western region of the Sudan.
The AU-UN Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada briefed the Council on the impact of the arrest warrant issued at the beginning of last month by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, the UN News Centre says
Khartoum decided to expel 13 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and suspend three national NGOs immediately after the ICC indicted Mr. Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity on 4 March, leaving a large gap in the humanitarian aid effort in the region.
UNAMID had previously reported a rise in attacks on peacekeeping staff and harassment of civilians in the region, and expressed concern over the safety of humanitarian workers after the Court in The Hague had issued its decision.
Adada also briefed the Council on the current military strength of UNAMID, which stands at more than 12 000 of the 19 555 force authorized by the Security Council over one year ago.
The hybrid force was set up to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300 000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
The AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, also attended the briefing to discuss the arrest warrant with the AU Council as well as the recent peace initiative resulting from the Summit of the League of Arab States in Doha and its consequences for his mediation efforts.
Participants from the Government of Sudan and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) took part in the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, which is also the headquarters of the AU.
Deputy Joint Special Representative Hocine Medili, Deputy Joint Chief Mediator Azouz Ennifar and the Director of the Communications and Information Division of UNAMID, Kemal Saïki, also participated.