The security situation, the freedom of UNAMID’s movement, support to the returns of displaced people and the review of the Mission’s uniformed personnel were the main focuses of discussion on the 13th meeting of the Tripartite Coordination Mechanism on the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). The forum was held on 23 June 2012 at UNAMID Headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur.
The Tripartite Mechanism, composed of representatives of the Government of the Sudan, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), is an instrument aimed at resolving issues and challenges related to UNAMID deployment and operations.
The Undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rahmatalla Mohamed Osman, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra, UN Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, and UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari headed the respective delegations.
The participants noted that the “restrictions of UNAMID’s movement, including use of its air assets, continue in certain areas by rebel groups and Government forces.” In this regard, USG Ladsous pointed out that “the Mission has been deterred from accessing to areas where there is an urgent need to verify reports on fighting […] and to provide assistance and protection to the civilian population.”
Left to right, UNAMID JSR Ibrahim Gambari, representative of the Government of Sudan, Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman, the AU Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra and the UN Head of Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous. Photo by Albert González Farran - UNAMID
Representatives from the Government of Sudan stated that it doesn’t impose restrictions on UNAMID’s movement and only provides security advisory and leaves it to the Mission to decide whether to proceed. JSR Gambari responded that this position needs to be emphasised to the military, police and national security on the ground.
The African Union outlined that UNAMID should continue to use its assets to facilitate the voluntary return of displaced people and to provide technical support to the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) and security for aid agencies.
“The capacity and the resources of the United Nations are modest in comparison with the very substantial needs that exist here,” Ladsous said, in line with the DRA Chairperson Eltijani Seisi’s stated priorities on returnees, reconstruction and development. “We would urge the Government to do all what it can, even in light of the economic and security challenges, to support the DRA and its institutions.”
The participants discussed a reduction of UNAMID uniformed personnel, which will formalized by UN Security Council in July and it’s expected to be implemented during the next 18 months to reflect the reality on the ground and to streamline the overlapping functions between military, police and mission support components.
To enhance the capacity of the Mission, they also discussed other operational issues, such as radio license, flights and goods clearances and pending visas. “We believe that further progress on this issue [visas] and others is key to advancing full employment of the Mission resources to consolidate achievements made so far, and press forward the implementation of its mandate,” JSR Gambari said.