The United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday extended the mandate for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur for another twelve months, officials said on Wednesday.
With the decision, the UN Security Council demanded that all parties to the conflict in the Sudanese region immediately end violence and work towards a comprehensive peace settlement. The Mission, known by the acronym UNAMID, received 14 votes in favor, with one abstention, from the 15-member body, which said the mission will be reconfigured to "focus on the areas of Darfur with the highest security threats."
Over a period of 12 to 18 months, UNAMID will be reconfigured in order to consist of up to 16,200 military personnel, 2,310 police personnel and 17 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each, the council said. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his recent report, stated that "the reconfigured force, although smaller in number, would be better equipped and more rapidly deployable than at present to address emerging threats to civilians."
The Council also demanded that all parties to the conflict – which has pitted Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups since 2003 and led to the displacement of millions of civilians – immediately end violence, attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel.
In addition, it demanded that all parties to the conflict, including in particular all the non-signatory armed groups, engage immediately and without preconditions to make every effort to reach a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.
The Doha Document is an agreement signed in Qatar last year between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement, which the UN has said can form the basis for a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace accord to end the fighting in Darfur.