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Envoy: China looks to help build peace in Sudan

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-07-28 09:16

This picture taken on June 22, 2021, shows a former site of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), vandalised and destroyed during a pahsed withdrawal from Sudan's Darfur, underscoring the fragile security situation in a region of frequent inter-tribal clashes. [Photo/Agencies]

A Chinese envoy to the United Nations said China is prepared to play a positive role in building peace in Sudan, as the shutdown of the UN-African Union Mission in the Darfur (UNAMID) region of Sudan proceeds on schedule.

"China stands ready to work with the rest of the international community in a continuous effort to play a positive role in building peace in Sudan," Dai Bing, chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of China to the UN, told a Security Council meeting on UNAMID drawdown Tuesday.

Since 2007, China has been engaged in the hybrid operation as one of the first countries to contribute peacekeepers to the mission. Around 5,000 Chinese peacekeepers have actively performed their duties in the past 13 years while two peacekeepers died in the mission for peace and stability in Darfur, Dai said.

Dai paid tribute to all troop/police contributing country (TCCs and PCCs) of UNAMID for their efforts and sacrifices.

Since its inception in 2007, UNAMID has played an important role in maintaining security and stability in Darfur. As the first innovative UN-AU joint peacekeeping operation, UNAMID is a success story of UN's exploration for agile and diverse ways of supporting regional organizations in maintaining peace and security, said Dai.

"China hopes that the UN will take stock and looks forward to the secretary-general's assessment report to be submitted at the end of October this year. It is hoped that UNAMID will complete its liquidation process including asset liquidation methodically, in accordance with the financial regulations and rules of the UN, and avoid asset loss and improper disposal," the envoy said.

He noted that the Darfur region stands at a critical stage of transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.

The intercommunal violence in Darfur needs to be addressed through a holistic approach involving mediation and reconciliation, Dai said. He called on the international community and the UN country team in Sudan to assist and support the displaced people affected by violence and conflict.

The Sudanese government "bears the main responsibility of protecting civilians in Darfur", Dai said.

After UNAMID's withdrawal, the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan can, per its mandate, help the Sudan government improve its ability to protect civilians, provide necessary support to the government in implementing its national plan for civilian protection, and strengthen its security-capacity building.

Dai stressed the importance of addressing both the symptoms and root causes of violent conflicts by growing the economy and improving people's livelihoods.

As a result of COVID-19 and other natural disasters, the security situation in Darfur remains precarious, he said. The envoy called on the international community to enhance its support and investment in peacebuilding in Darfur, help improve Sudan's country-owned development capabilities, properly handle major inducing factors of violent conflict such as land distribution, and effectively improve local livelihoods.

UNAMID, a peacekeeping force deployed and commanded jointly by the UN and the AU, was deployed to Sudan's western war-torn Darfur region in late 2007.

The hybrid operation is one of the largest peacekeeping operations in UN history. During its 13-year mandate, more than 100,000 military and police personnel were sent to the mission by dozens of nations around the globe.

The mission confirmed its decision to shut down following the unanimous adoption of a Security Council resolution last December. The resolution requires all UNAMID uniformed and civilian personnel from Sudan, except a liquidation team that completes the closure of the mission, to withdraw by June 30.

It also requested the secretary-general to provide the Security Council with an assessment of lessons learned from UNAMID's experience no later than Oct 31.

To help the Sudanese political transition to democratic rule, the Security Council also established the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) in June 2020. The mandate of UNITAMS was extended this June until June 3, 2022.

According to Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, who briefed ambassadors at the Security Council meeting, nearly 6,000 troops and police have now returned to their home countries ahead of the June 30 drawdown deadline. Nearly 1,200 civilian staff have left the mission.

Only a 360-member guard unit remains at UNAMID to protect staff working on the closure of the mission and the remaining UN assets, Khare added.

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