United Nations, Dec. 1 (EFE) – The UN Security Council on Friday terminated the UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), a political mission formed for the promotion of the democratic transition in the country, at the request of the military government in Khartoum.
The end of the mandate was made official in a resolution adopted on Friday by 14 votes in favor and one abstention that stipulates that the mission will end on Dec. 3 and that the process of transferring its operations and assets, either to UN humanitarian agencies or to the government itself, must begin the following day.
On Nov. 16, Khartoum’s envoy to the UN, Al-Harith Idriss Al-Harith Mohamed, presented to the Security Council his country’s request for the immediate termination of UNITAMS’ mandate, arguing that it no longer meets the aspirations of the Sudanese people and that Sudan is ready to engage with the Council to find a “new, appropriate and agreed upon formula.”
The request is the culmination of several months of tension between the UN mission and the government, especially since the outbreak of a rebellion that pitted two factions of the army against each other and marked the end of the democratic transition period to which the government had committed itself and which justified the creation of UNITAMS.
Human Rights Watch issued a statement on Friday by director Louis Charbonneau deploring that the Council’s decision “is the culmination of its catastrophic abdication of responsibility to the civilians of Sudan at a moment when the risk of atrocities and large-scale human rights abuses is greater than ever.”
The termination of UNITAMS is reminiscent of what happened in another Sahel country, Mali, where the government – also a military junta that came to power through a coup d’état – demanded the withdrawal of the UN mission, a peacekeeping blue helmet mission, after accusing it of interfering in the internal political process.
In a press conference on Wednesday, UN Secretary General António Guterres regretted that the fight between two military factions in Sudan was taking place at the expense of the interests of the Sudanese people, but assured that the humanitarian work of the United Nations agencies in the country would continue despite the end of the political mission. EFE