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Monday, 09/20/2010

UN chief criticizes Sudan over restrictions to UNAMID forces



Friday 10 September 2010
September 9, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon today called on the Sudanese government to facilitate the movement of troops belonging to the African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Yesterday UNAMID said in its daily briefing that the Sudanese armed forces (SAF) blocked them from the Tabra village in North Darfur that was reportedly attacked by pro-government militias killing at least fifty people according to UN figures.

"In some cases it is true that there was some difficulty in getting smooth administrative support from the Government of Sudan. That has been the subject of continuous consultation with the Sudanese Government," Ban said at a press conference in New York today.

"There is a Status of [Forces] Agreement, of course. They [Sudanese government] should be faithful to provide the necessary support and cooperation. In reality, when we are not able to get such support, it really constrains the movement of our people and peacekeepers," he added.

The UN chief revealed that he summoned the head of UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari while he was in Austria and was briefed on the situation there " and how we can ensure a smoother and more effective coordination and support from the Sudanese Government".

"We are aware of such problems and we will continue to improve the situation" Ban added.
The peacekeeping force in Darfur have came under fire lately from the Sudanese government as well as the rebel groups. UNAMID has refused to hand over six people accused by Khartoum of inciting violence at the Kalma IDP camp unless it receives guarantees that they will be afforded due process and that their rights will be preserved in accordance with international law.

Last week the West Darfur state slammed UNAMID’s non-cooperation adding that they are turning a blind eye to lawlessness inside the IDP camp.

On Monday, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) called on Gambari to resign saying that the peacekeeping force is failing in its mandate of protecting civilians and is instead only writing reports on incidents that occur.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) extended the mandate of UNAMID in July, but said that the latter should focus on its security role with some Western diplomats saying that they are unhappy with the mission straying into reconstruction projects or seeking a direct role in attempts to negotiate a political settlement.

This month, Rwanda has threatened to pull out its forces from Sudan if the UN goes ahead and publishes a report accusing it of committing genocide during its operations in the Congo.

The UN Secretary General paid an unannounced visit to Kigali on Wednesday and met with president Paul Kagame urging him to continue to contribute his troops to the "nobel cause" of peacekeeping, praising Rwanda’s "excellent, indeed exemplary work in support of peace and security in the region".



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