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Sudan asks Security Council to terminate UNITAM

By William Madouk


The government of Sudan has asked the UN Security Council (UNSC) to terminate the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) immediately.

A leaked letter addressed to the Security Council seen by this outlet said Khartoum has decided to end its political mission, UNITAMS.

The Sudanese Permanent Representative to the UN, Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith, said in a letter dated November 16 that he had received instructions from his Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq to halt mission activities.

“I have the honor to attach herewith a letter from Ali-Sadiq on the decision of the government of Sudan to terminate the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan with immediate effect,” Al-Harith to Antonio Guterres.

This now puts the UNSC in a tight position to decide on the fate of the mission, which replaced the United Nations-Africa Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid) in 2020.

The objective was to help the country’s transition to civilian rule, something that has sort of stalled for the last three years.

The relationship between the Sudanese government and the UN has been tense since a war erupted in the country on April 15.

Sudan has been reeling after an armed conflict between the army and Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces erupted over control of the country. Since then, at least 9,500 people have died and more than 5.3 million have been displaced.

Ex-unitams boss quits job

But if the council’s mandate is terminated, it could put to rest a simmering dispute with Khartoum that saw the head of UNITAMS, Volker Perthes, resign in September after Sudan accused him of bias.

“I have had the privilege to serve as the United Nations Secretary General’s special representative for Sudan for more than two and a half years,” Perthes told an open briefing on Sudan at the council in New York in September.

“I am grateful to the secretary general for that opportunity and for his confidence in me, but I have asked him to relieve me of this duty.”

Sudan had warned that it could cut ties with the United States if Perthes addressed the council session that September but held back after he quit.

In September, Perthes had turned to the council, the UN’s most powerful organ, “to impress on the warring parties that they cannot operate with impunity, and there will be accountability for the crimes committed.”

“Both sides are arbitrarily arresting, detaining, and even torturing civilians, and there are reports of extrajudicial killings,” he said.

“Let me be clear, for the benefit of history, that regardless of who fired the first shot, both sides were clearly setting the stage for war. The warring parties chose to settle their conflict through fighting, and it is their duty to the Sudanese people to end it.”

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