Thank you, Madam President. Let me begin by thanking Under-Secretary General Khare for his briefing. I will focus my remarks on three areas: UNAMID’s contribution to Darfur; the Mission’s drawdown and liquidation; and the future of Darfur.
Almost fourteen years ago to this day, the Security Council authorised the deployment of African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) – the first and only hybrid African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission – in response to the conflict in Darfur.
The United Kingdom expresses its deep appreciation to all personnel who served throughout UNAMID’s deployment. In particular, we pay tribute to UNAMID personnel who gave their lives to bring stability to Darfur.
We also acknowledge the unique partnership between the United Nations and the African Union throughout this deployment, a partnership that we hope will continue as both organisations continue to support Sudan.
Madam President, throughout its deployment and during its drawdown, UNAMID has operated in challenging conditions and had to navigate numerous obstacles in order to implement the resolutions of this Council. Whilst there are many lessons to be learned, it is undeniable that the Darfur we see today is more peaceful and stable because of UNAMID’s contribution.
It is our hope that the lessons learned from UNAMID’s deployment and drawdown will help to inform future peacekeeping operations and transitions, to consolidate peacebuilding gains and support lasting, sustainable peace wherever the UN is deployed.
The United Kingdom welcomes the Government of Sudan’s cooperation during UNAMID’s drawdown and urges their full cooperation with the remaining liquidation phase, in line with resolution 2559.
In particular, we stress the need for federal and state level cooperation, including the safety and freedom of movement of personnel and assets. The close coordination of all stakeholders is essential to ensure the liquidation of UNAMID’s assets is responsible and transparent, in line with UN regulations and best practice.
The destruction of many former UNAMID sites following their handover to local authorities is deeply regrettable. We therefore reiterate the expectation for remaining sites to be used for civilian purposes, so that they can continue to benefit local communities in new ways.
Madam President, Darfur, and Sudan more widely, has seen a significant period of change in recent years and we welcome the commitments made to peace and the transition to democracy. Now that peacekeeping forces have drawn down, it is crucial to continue to build upon and consolidate peacebuilding gains.
For this reason, the United Kingdom repeats its call for the full and sustained implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement.
We welcome the recent decrees establishing the Darfur ceasefire monitoring mechanisms and urge the swift deployment of the Field Teams, as well as the operationalisation of the Peace Commission, the swift deployment of joint security forces, and the full implementation of the National Plan for Civilian Protection.
Whilst peacekeeping may have come to an end in Darfur, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and its integrated Country Team will continue to play a crucial role in supporting the Government of Sudan’s efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability in Darfur.
In conclusion, the United Kingdom reiterates the need for continued cooperation between all stakeholders, across the UN system and beyond, during the remaining liquidation phase of UNAMID and through the deployment of UNITAMS, in order to consolidate the progress in peace and security that have been made in Darfur.