“Important developments” under way in Sudan since midsummer, including a pledge to end the country’s outstanding conflicts, and the establishment of a new transitional government, could serve to edge the country’s people closer to stability, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said Monday at a briefing to the UN Security Council.
Mr. Lacroix, speaking by video teleconference from Paris, said these improvements could bring long-term stability to Darfur and other marginalized areas.
He surveyed the process that led to the new power-sharing deal for a three-year period of transitional government leading up to democratic elections, the setting up of the Sovereign Council and the appointment of economist and UN veteran, Abdallah Hamdouk, as Prime Minister. The cabinet is expected to be sworn in by 1 September.
The security situation in the western Sudanese region of Darfur remains largely unchanged, Mr. LaCroix said, adding that sporadic clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces/Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) faction are ongoing in Jebel Marra mountains.
Talks are expected to take place between the new Government and various armed groups, he added.
He stressed that the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Country Team continue to provide transition support through state liaison functions, namely in the areas of rule of law, livelihoods, immediate service delivery, and human rights.
The Mission’s interim transition team, which relocated from Khartoum to Darfur following the change of Government in April, is expected to become a fully functional joint transition cell in September, he explained.
As far as next steps, Mr. Lacroix reported the UN Department of Peace Operations has initiated discussions with the African Union to develop a joint political strategy for post-UNAMID engagement. Discussions on peacebuilding and the future of the Darfur peace process will take place once the new cabinet is established.
“This is an opportunity to put a definitive end to the conflict in Darfur,” Mr. Lacroix stressed, calling on engagements by groups that have not been part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and highlighting the importance of donor support in facilitating transitions across the country.
Seeing and end to the conflict, however, will require an irreversible transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding,” he concluded.