Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, chairman of the Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese army, Tuesday called for the withdrawal of the UN mission in Darfur. This is the latest in a series of statements by the Sudanese authorities demanding the departure of UNAMID.
UNAMID, deployed since 2007, comprises more than 6,500 men, peacekeepers and police officers. Its future will be set at the end of October by the Security Council, which will decide whether it should be extended or replaced by another entity.
Military personnel, ministers and even the head of government want UNAMID to fold up its bags. They want to replace it with a force with a much less robust mandate, without peacekeepers or police.
Prime Minister Hamdock has even written to the Security Council asking that the future entity be given a much more flexible mandate, which would, among other things, prevent it from physically protecting civilians.
The Sudanese authorities want the primary mandate of UNAMID, i.e. the protection of civilians, transferred to Sudan’s interim government.
In this connection they requested the establishment, as soon as possible, of a Chapter VI peace support operation in the form of a special political mission with a strong peacebuilding component.
Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter stipulates that the international assistance aims to support the maintenance, monitoring, and building of peace, but not the use of force to prevent violent conflict, as is the case of Chapter VII.
Al Burhan renewed Sudan’s request in a recent telephone call with US Assistant Secretary of State Tibor Nagy and US Envoy to Sudan Donald Booth.
He also urged the American officials to remove Sudan from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and support the ongoing peace negotiations in the South Sudanese capital Juba.
According to researcher Ahmed Adam, the army no longer wants the UN to interfere with its operations in conflict zones. “A weak UN presence would also lead to a weakening of civilian power in the face of putschists,” he says, especially after the elections.