Sudan threatens to terminate Darfur peacekeeping mission

AFP , Wednesday 3 Aug 2011

Sudanese government voices strong concern over the UN resolution that extends its peacekeeping mission in Darfur, describing it as 'infringing' upon the country's sovereignty

Sudan's foreign minister said on Tuesday that any attempt to "impose new commitments" on the UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, under its new mandate, would force the government to terminate the mission.

"Any attempt to impose new commitments different to those already agreed (for the peacekeeping mission in Darfur)... will free the Sudanese government from its commitment to accepting the mission and its deployment," Ali Ahmed Karti said in a statement obtained by AFP.

"Such a resolution will force the government to reject the mission and terminate its duty," he added.

His comments came shortly after the foreign ministry, in a separate statement, strongly criticised a UN Security Council resolution extending the mandate of the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region (UNAMID) for one year.

The initial statement said the UN resolution, passed on Friday, was full of "negative and obsolete references" that did not reflect the reality on the ground.

As well as extending UNAMID's mandate, the resolution expressed "deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in some parts of Darfur, including... aerial bombardment by the government of Sudan."

It also called on all parties to the conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Sudan's foreign ministry accused the Security Council of distorting the situation in Darfur and highlighting information that, it said, did not imply close cooperation between the government and the peacekeeping mission.

"The resolution is full of negative and obsolete references to be resolved within the framework of the tripartite mechanism, such as visa problems and allegations of aerial bombardment and the violation of human rights," the foreign ministry said.

Khartoum also charged that the resolution "intentionally infringed" on Sudan's sovereignty, and "rejected all attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Sudan and tarnish the image of the country," while reaffirming its full cooperation with the mission under its original mandate.

UNAMID, which was established in 2007, is the largest UN peacekeeping operation in the world with around 23,000 uniformed personnel and an annual budget, up to June 30, of more than $1.8 billion.

The separate UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS), deployed after the 2005 peace accord between north and south, had to withdraw from the north last month, following the government's refusal to allow a temporary renewal of its mandate despite concerted international pressure to do so.

At least 300,000 people have been killed and 1.9 million people have fled their homes since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, the United Nations says.

Following a relative lull, there have been sporadic clashes since December between rebel groups and government forces that have forced more than 70,000 people to flee their homes.

The government puts the death toll from the eight-year conflict at 10,000 and blames the continuing lack of security on tribal conflict, minority armed forces and banditry.

Short link: