The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted two resolutions to create a mission in Sudan to support the country’s political transition and extend the mandate of peacekeepers in Darfur, diplomats said.
The resolution on the new United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was drafted by Britain and Germany.
According to the text of the resolution, the mission was “established for an initial period of 12 months” and that and envoy be quickly appointed by the Secretary General Antonio Guterres to head up the new mission.
Sudan embarked on a political transition after the fall of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, which was followed by several months of pro-democracy protests that were brutally suppressed,.
In August last year, a civilian-military transition authority was created to lead the transition for a period of three years.
The second resolution was also drafted by Britain and Germany, to renew the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) through December 31.
The text of the resolution supports that the force’s current strength of roughly 8,000 Blue Helmets be maintained.
In a joint report in March, the UN and the African Union however had recommended that the UNAMID be replaced by a political mission in late October, and called for the peacekeepers to be gradually withdrawn.
China, Russia and several African countries had supported that plan, but European nations and non-governmental organisations feared that civilians would be left unprotected should tensions spike.
UNAMID has deployed up to 16,000 peacekeepers in Darfur since its creation in 2007.
According to the UN, the conflict in Darfur between Sudanese forces and ethnic minority rebels who consider themselves marginalized by the central government, has resulted in about 300,000 deaths and more than 2.5 million displaced people since 2003.