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400th meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), on the situation in Darfur, Sudan

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 18, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 400th meeting held on 17 October 2013, adopted the following decision on the situation in Darfur, Sudan:

Council,

1. Takes note of the briefing provided by the Joint Special Representative for the AU-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Joint Chief Mediator (JCM), Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on the activities of UNAMID and his mediation efforts. Council further takes note of the statements made by the representative of the Republic of Sudan, as well as by the representatives of France, United Kingdom, United States and Rwanda, as members of the UN Security Council;

2. Expresses its deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, marked by an upsurge of inter-tribal clashes and repeated attacks against UNAMID and killings of peacekeepers in Darfur, which to date stand at 13 for the year 2013. Council stresses that this unacceptable situation and its attendant humanitarian consequences have the potential to seriously undermine the search for a lasting solution to the conflict in Darfur, including the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD);

3. Condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the attacks perpetrated against UNAMID personnel, including those that led to the killing of a Zambian Military Observer, in North Darfur, and three Senegalese police personnel, in West Darfur, on 11 and 13 October 2013, respectively. Council underscores that the killing of peacekeepers constitutes a war crime;

4. Strongly calls on the Government of Sudan to demonstrate good faith by taking all necessary measures in order to urgently identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of those cowardly and criminal attacks against UNAMID personnel and earlier attacks against the Mission. Council underlines that the decision to deploy UNAMID constitutes an act of solidarity with the people of Sudan and support to the search for peace. Council looks forward to an update by the Government of Sudan on the steps taken to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of these grave crimes, as well as to ensure the protection of UNAMID personnel, bearing in mind its obligations;

5. Reiterates its strong support to UNAMID, emphasizes the critical importance of the efforts of the Mission in support of the search for a lasting solution to the situation in Darfur and the protection of the civilian population, and encourages UNAMID to take all necessary steps to protect its personnel;

6. Requests the AU Commission and the UN Secretariat to take advantage of the upcoming UNAMID review, as mandated by UN Security Council resolution 2113 (2013), to consider in-depth the challenges facing the Mission and the ways in which these could be overcome, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of UNAMID, including the steps to be taken by all stakeholders to ensure the safety of its personnel and support to early recovery and development;

7. Welcomes the outcome of the 16th meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism for UNAMID, held in New York, on 28 September 2013. Council stresses the need to ensure the effective implementation of the conclusions reached, and underscores the critical importance of unfettered access and freedom of movement for UNAMID and timely issuance of visas to its personnel, to enable it to fulfill its mandate effectively;

8. Notes with satisfaction the steps taken towards the implementation of the DDPD, notably the launching of a matrix for reconstruction and development projects in Darfur, following the Doha Donors' Conference of April 2013. Council calls on the parties to redouble their efforts and work towards the provision of peace dividends, so as to meet the expectations raised by the signature of the Agreement among the local population;

9. Notes with appreciation the efforts undertaken by the JCM to facilitate an inclusive peace process in Darfur, notably the consultations with the leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement – Gibril (JEM – Gibril) and the Sudan Liberation Army – Minni Minawi (SLA/Minni Minawi), held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 22 to 27 August, 2013. Council notes with concern that some of the armed groups have consistently rejected peace efforts and agreements with impunity and total disregard for the fate of the people they claim to be representing and the efforts of the international community;

10. Reiterates its call to the holdout groups to join the peace process without any further delay and without preconditions. Council stresses that the negotiation process cannot remain open-ended, and expresses its intention to take measures and recommend to the UN Security Council to do the same against those impeding the search for peace in Darfur. Council encourages the JCM to pursue his efforts to promote an inclusive peace process in Darfur, in close consultation with the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and within the framework of the comprehensive approach to the challenges facing Sudan Council had consistently advocated for;

11. Agrees to review the situation within a month, with the view specifically to receiving an update on steps taken to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks against UNAMID personnel and the efforts to bring on board the holdout armed groups, in order to take the decisions that may be required;

12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.