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Sudan summons UN mission chief in Darfur over mandate extension

AFP , Sunday 19 Jun 2016
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Sudan summoned Sunday the head of the international peacekeeping force in Darfur after the UN recommended to renew its mission by one year despite Khartoum's reluctance.

About 20,000 troops and policemen from more than 30 countries are currently in Sudan's western region of Darfur as part of the African Union-United Nations mission, UNAMID.

A report by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, recommends that UNAMID's mandate be extended by another year.

The report which was submitted to the Security Council cites the "limited progress" made to reach a viable solution to end the conflict in Darfur since 2003 that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead.

"With tens of thousands of people newly displaced in 2016 and approximately 2.6 million remaining displaced in Darfur, civilians across the region continue to bear the consequences of the volatile security situation," the report said.

It also spoke of ongoing fighting in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur.

The report recommended extending UNAMID's mandate -- which expires at the end of the month -- "for 12 months, until 30 June 2017."

The UN Security Council is expected to meet before the end of June to endorse or reject the recommendation.

Khartoum insists that unrest in Darfur has ended and has stepped up pressure for a complete exit of the international peacekeepers from the war-torn region, where they have been deployed since 2007.

On Sunday, Sudan's foreign ministry summoned UNAMID chief Martin Uhomoibh to question him on the report's recommendation, the ministry said in a statement.

"The report by the African Union and the United Nations consists incorrect information about the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur," the ministry said.

Last month Sudan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Kamal Ismail, said: "It's time to say goodbye to the UNAMID mission."

"This mission came to protect civilians, but now there is no danger to civilians, there is no conflict in Darfur," he added.

Violence erupted in Darfur when ethnic minority rebels rose against President Omar al-Bashir, accusing his Arab-dominated government of marginalising the region.

Bashir mounted a brutal counter-insurgency and at least 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the UN says. Another 2.5 million have fled their homes.

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