The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday extended the mandate of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's volatile Darfur region for one more year. The Council also urged all parties involved in the conflict to end violence and work towards a comprehensive peace settlement.
In a vote held Tuesday, the U.N.S.C. decided that the uniformed personnel serving with the mission, known by the acronym UNAMID, will be reconfigured "to focus on the areas of Darfur with the highest security threats."
Accordingly, the mission will now be reconfigured over a period of 12 to 18 months to include up to 16,200 military personnel, 2,310 police personnel and 17 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each.
The move is in line with a recommendation made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who noted in his recent report that "the reconfigured force, although smaller in number, would be better equipped and more rapidly deployable than at present to address emerging threats to civilians."
The Council also demanded that all parties to the ongoing conflict - which has pitted Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups since 2003 and led to the displacement of millions of civilians - immediately end violence, attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel.
Further, the 15-member body demanded that all parties to the conflict, including all the non-signatory armed groups, engage immediately and without preconditions to make every effort to reach a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
The Doha Document is an agreement signed in Qatar last year between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement, which the UN has approved as the basis for a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace accord to end the fighting in Darfur.
The UNSC and other top UN officials, including the Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID, Ibrahim Gambari, have repeatedly called on other armed groups involved in the conflict to make every effort to reach a comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Doha Document.
by RTT Staff Writer
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