The Security Council has reached an agreement to end the United Nations mission in Sudan.
The military government of Sudan, which has been engaged in a power struggle with the RSF militia since April, has stated that the UN mission is not meeting its expectations.
UNITAMS, the UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan, is ending while a war between opposing military forces rages on. This conflict has resulted in over 6,000 deaths, displacement of millions of people, widespread sexual and gender-based violence, and a dire humanitarian situation.
The Security Council passed resolution 2715 (2023) with 14 members voting in favor and one member (Russia) abstaining. The Council directed UNITAMS to begin the process of ending its operations on 4 December 2023 and transferring its responsibilities to appropriate UN agencies, funds, and programs. The goal is to complete this transfer by 29 February 2024.
The Council further determined that the Mission’s closure will begin on March 1, 2024. They emphasized the importance of a smooth transition to guarantee the well-being of UN staff and the successful operation of all UN activities.
“I am committed to supporting the Sudanese people.”
After the decision to terminate the mission, Rosemary A. DiCarlo, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, expressed solidarity with the citizens of Sudan.
On the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Ms. DiCarlo declared that the Security Council had recently decided to cease the operations of UNITAMS. However, she emphasized that the United Nations is not neglecting the needs and well-being of the people of Sudan.
She stated that we strongly encourage backing the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Ramtane Lamamra, in order to enhance efforts to resolve the destructive conflict.
Security a priority
During the transition and closure of UNITAMS, the Security Council of 15 members has approved the allowance for retaining essential security personnel to safeguard the organization’s employees, facilities, and resources. Additionally, the council urges all relevant parties in Sudan to fully collaborate with the United Nations throughout this procedure.
Sudan was also urged to fulfill all of its legal responsibilities.
Bad choice: United Kingdom
After the vote, members of the Security Council emphasized the unstable security and humanitarian conditions in the nation and emphasized that the Sudanese government is accountable for the protection and safety of UNITAMS employees and resources during the transitional period.
“I want to make it clear that the United Kingdom has decided to terminate UNITAMS at this time,” stated Deputy Permanent Representative James Kariuki, praising the mission’s efforts “before and during the conflict”.
“Despite the Sudanese authorities’ clear request for immediate terminations, we have diligently worked as the penholder to reach a compromise that will facilitate an organized transition and liquidation,” he stated.
‘Sovereign right of Sudanese authorities’
The Russian representative mentioned the letter from the Sudanese Foreign Minister requesting the termination of UNITAMS.
She stated that this stance was not chosen arbitrarily and that the Security Council must openly acknowledge that the Mission was unable to fulfill its assigned duties, which were established at the behest of Sudan to aid in the political transition after the removal of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
She expressed that it no longer aligned with the current state of the country and began favoring only one political group, which was not widely supported by Sudanese society. She emphasized that the decision to end UNITAMS is solely up to the Sudanese authorities.
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The Security Council expressed approval of the selection of Ramtane Lamamra as the Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Sudan. Lamamra will utilize his influence to assist in resolving conflicts between Sudan and neighboring countries, working alongside the efforts of regional organizations such as the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
On 21 November, the Secretary-General of the United Nations designated Mr. Lamamra as his Special Representative for Sudan.
Mr. Lamamra, a former Foreign Minister of Algeria had also served as the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and had been a member of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Board on Mediation since 2017.
as a political mission by the United Nations in Sudan
UNITAMS was formed in June 2020 as a United Nations political mission in Sudan.
UNITAMS was created by the Security Council in June 2020 as a unique political undertaking, with the purpose of assisting Sudan for a duration of 12 months as it transitions to a democratic government. Its responsibilities were later prolonged in 2021 and 2022.
UNITAMS, based in Khartoum, provided support to the nation through various efforts in politics, peacebuilding, and development. This included helping the country meet the objectives of the August 2019 Constitutional Declaration and implementing their National Plan for Civilian Protection.