Possibilities for peace and stability bolstered in Darfur


“Important developments” in Sudan, including a pledge to end the country’s conflicts and the establishment of a transitional government, could edge the country closer to stability, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the UN Security Council.

Speaking via video teleconference from Paris, he said these improvements could bring long-term stability to Darfur and other marginalised areas.

He reported on 17 August, the Transitional Military Council and the country’s main opposition alliance, Forces for Freedom and Change, entered into a power-sharing deal for a three-year period of transitional government leading to democratic elections.

On 21 August a Sovereignty Council comprised of five military personnel and six civilians, two of whom are women, was sworn in. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, a Sudanese Army lieutenant general assumed the presidency, the Transitional Military Council was dissolved and Dr Abdallah Hamdouk, economist and UN veteran, will serve as Prime Minister, leading a cabinet expected to be sworn in by 1 September.

The security situation in the western Sudan region Darfur remains largely unchanged LaCroix said adding sporadic clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces/Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) faction are ongoing in Jebel Marra Mountains.

Talks are expected to take place between the new government and armed groups according to him.

He said the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Country Team continue to provide support through state liaison functions in the areas of rule of law, livelihoods, immediate service delivery, and human rights.

The Mission’s interim transition team, which relocated from Khartoum to Darfur following the change of government in April, is expected to become a fully functional joint transition cell in September, he explained.

Lacroix said the UN Department of Peace Operations initiated discussions with the African Union to develop a joint political strategy for post-UNAMID engagement. Discussions on peacebuilding and the future of the Darfur peace process will take place once the cabinet is established.

“This is an opportunity to put a definitive end to the conflict in Darfur,” Lacroix said, calling on engagements by groups not part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and highlighting the importance of donor support.

“Seeing an end to the conflict will require an irreversible transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding,” he concluded.

Also briefing the Council, Smail Chergu, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, said the international community must come up with a co-ordinated approach on how best to support the peace process, ensure inclusivity and a successful outcome.

It is imperative parties outside the peace process are persuaded to join it, he added.

“The current political environment and the changes taking place in Sudan provide an opportunity to end armed conflicts and achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur and Sudan as a whole,” he said.