UN peacekeeping chief visits Sudan

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)

KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, accompanied by the Joint Special Representative and head of the African Union - United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, today wrapped up a visit to Sudan.

During the visit, which began on 3 July, Mr. Ladsous travelled to El Daein, East Darfur State, where he met with the Wali (Governor) and other members of local government, leaders of Native Administration and civil society, as well as internally displaced people at Neem camp. He also had extensive discussions with UNAMID personnel. In Khartoum, Mr. Ladsous met with President Omar Al-Bashir and other senior officials of the Government of Sudan.

Speaking to the press in Khartoum on 4 July, the USG expressed concern over the recent intensification of conflict in Darfur and its impact on the civilian population. “We have witnessed a deterioration in the security situation. More people have been displaced—over 300,000 since the beginning of this year—due mostly to tribal clashes,” the head of UN peacekeeping said.

Mr. Ladsous called on all parties to cease hostilities and praised the efforts of UNAMID peacekeepers, who serve in very difficult circumstances, to protect civilians, secure the delivery of aid and support the peace process. He further stated that on 3 July, three peacekeepers were injured in an ambush on a UNAMID convoy near Labado, East Darfur. “Attacks on peacekeepers are a crime,” he said, adding that in violation of international humanitarian law a UNAMID ambulance was fired upon by the unidentified armed group that had mounted the ambush. Condemning the incident and noting the peacekeepers' robust response to the attack, the USG stressed that the perpetrators must be apprehended and prosecuted.

The USG reiterated the UN's support for the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and urged the Government of Sudan and the non-signatory movements to cease hostilities and enter into negotiations immediately.

Regarding relations between Sudan and South Sudan, Mr. Ladsous called on the governments of both countries to fully implement the 27 September agreements and resolve all disputes through the bilateral mechanisms provided for in these accords.

Mr. Ladsous expressed concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. He noted that a disagreement between the parties over modalities for humanitarian access was preventing the conduct of a campaign to vaccinate 150,000 children. He urged the parties to that conflict to allow unhindered humanitarian access to people in need.

The USG's visit to Sudan is part of a wider tour including South Sudan and Mali.