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January 16, 2023

SA wants faster AU/UN movement in Darfur

South Africa wants countries who have promised troops for the African Union/United Nations peace-keeping operation in Sudan's Darfur region to speed up their deployment.
"If we don't get fast movement of the UNAMID forces, their full deployment and the technical assistance, then the whole comprehensive agreement in Sudan could be endangered," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said at a press briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday.

This comes as the UN Security Council, of whom South Africa is a non-permanent member, was told that negotiations with troop-contributing countries were not moving fast enough.

Some set conditions for their participation, including limiting operations to daytime hours and restriction of movement to the immediate vicinity of UNAMID bases."We believe this is unrealistic because it would result in the mission losing its ability to carry out its mandate," Pahad said.

UNAMID is the acronym for the joint AU/UN operation in Darfur which took over peacekeeping duties from the AU Amis peacekeeping force at the beginning of the year.

The mission, the UN's largest, will eventually consist of 20 000 troops and 6000 police and civilian personnel, but only around 9000 troops and police are currently in place.
South Africa has already deployed about 900 troops and around 100 police officers as part of the UNAMID force and Pahad said the country was willing to contribute even more personnel.

International efforts to bring peace to Darfur have been slow.

Over 200 000 people have been killed and 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes since fighting began in 2003 between government forces and the rebel groups.

"The remaining UNAMID force must deployed as swiftly as possible, otherwise we don't believe they will be making the impact that is needed in that region.

"Violence is increasing, the situation is very, very serious," Pahad said. - Sapa

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