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World

UN Security Council fails to find common ground on Darfur

  • The Darfur conflict that erupted in 2003 killed some 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to the UN.
22 Jan 2021

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Thursday on recent deadly clashes in the Darfur region of Sudan, without agreeing on a joint declaration or a possible change of stance, diplomats said.

The meeting was held behind closed doors and had been requested by European members and the United States after inter-ethnic fighting earlier this week left more than 200 people dead.

European members, the US and Mexico proposed a declaration urging the Sudanese government to accelerate the implementation of its plan to protect the population. But they met with refusal from the Council's African members, as well as India, Russia and China, who called for respect for Sudan's sovereignty, diplomats told AFP.

During the meeting, a majority of council members condemned the violence, one diplomat said, but some stressed it is the government's responsibility to fill the hole caused on December 31 when the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, ended its 13 years of operations in Darfur.

UNAMID plans a phased withdrawal of its 8,000 or so armed and civilian personnel within six months.

Though a precarious calm appears to have returned to Darfur following the deployment of Sudanese troops, fears of fresh violence persist in the region, which has been battered by years of conflict.

At the end of last year, the UN reported that Sudanese authorities had pledged to deploy 12,000 troops to Darfur to take over from UNAMID in January.

Even after the end of the peacekeeping mission, the UN plans to remain in Sudan through a political mission based in Khartoum to help support the country's political transition.

The Darfur conflict that erupted in 2003 killed some 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, according to the UN.

It flared when ethnic minority rebels rose up against dictator Omar al-Bashir's Arab-dominated government. Khartoum responded by unleashing a notorious Arab-dominated militia known as the Janjaweed from among the region's nomadic tribes.

Bashir was ousted by huge pro-democracy protests in April 2019, and the country has been in a rocky transition ever since, with a stand-in government trying to stabilize Sudan's conflict-torn south and west.