Welcoming the formation of the Government of National Unity as a significant and historic step towards lasting peace in the Sudan, the Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) until 24 March 2006, with the intention to renew it for further periods.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1627 (2005), the Council welcomed implementation by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 9 January 2005, urging the parties to meet their obligation commitments to the Agreement, including, as a priority, the establishment of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission.
The Council established the UNMIS by resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005 for an initial period of six months with the mandate of supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It also decided by that resolution that the Mission would consist of up to 10,000 military personnel and an appropriate civilian component, including up to 715 civilian police personnel.
Stressing the "daunting challenges" involved in implementing the CPA, the Secretary-General, in his latest report on the Sudan (document S/2005/579), recommended that the Council renew the Mission's mandate for one year, to 24 September 2006.
Also by terms of the resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report every three months on the implementation of UNMIS mandate, including its work to reinforce the efforts of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to foster peace in Darfur.
Acknowledging the commitment by troop-contributing countries in support of the United Nations Mission, the Council encouraged deployment in order for UNMIS to support timely implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Further, the Council urged troop-contributing countries to take appropriate action to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel in UNMIS and to take disciplinary action to ensure full accountability in cases of such misconduct involving their personnel.
The meeting began at 10:13 and was adjourned at 10:15.
The complete text of resolution 1627 (2005) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council
"Recalling its previous resolutions, in particular resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005, and statements of its President concerning the Sudan,
"Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of the Sudan,
"Reiterating its expression of sympathy and condolences on the death of First Vice President Dr. John Garang de Mabior on 30 July 2005; commending the Government of the Sudan and First Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit for continued efforts for consolidation of peace in the Sudan,
"Welcoming implementation by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 9 January 2005, and in particular welcoming the formation of the Government of National Unity as a significant and historic step towards lasting peace in the Sudan,
"Urging the parties to meet their obligation commitments to the CPA, including, as a priority, the establishment of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission,
"Determining that the situation in the Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
"Acknowledging the commitments by troop-contributing countries in support of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and encouraging deployment in order for UNMIS to support timely implementation of the CPA,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMIS until 24 March 2006, with the intention to renew it for further periods;
"2. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the mandate of UNMIS, including its work to reinforce the efforts of the African Union Mission in the Sudan to foster peace in Darfur;
"3. Urges troop-contributing countries carefully to review the Secretary-General's letter of 24 March 2005 (A/59/710) and to take appropriate action to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel in UNMIS, including pre-deployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such misconduct involving their personnel;
"4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General's report on the Sudan (document S/2005/579), which provides an assessment of the overall situation in the country since his last report in June, including progress made in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as well as progress achieved towards the mandated objectives of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). As UNMIS completes its first six months, the challenges to the Peace Agreement are proving as difficult as expected, the Secretary-General notes, recommending that the Council renew the Mission's mandate for 12 months, until 24 September 2006.
The Secretary-General notes that the death of First Vice-President Garang on 30 July dealt a cruel blow to all the people of the Sudan, in particular the southern Sudanese people. The Secretary-General deeply regrets his death, as well as the deaths of those accompanying him on the helicopter. The parties' reaction to the loss of Mr. Garang, however, revealed a remarkable determination to stay the course of the peace process. The words and actions of both President Bashir and the new Chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, Salva Kiir, in the days following Mr.
Garang's death, proved that the peace process is strong and can survive the passing of one of its key architects.
The report notes that delays in the deployment of UNMIS are due to a combination of daunting administrative and logistical problems, both on the ground in the Sudan and for the troop-contributing countries as they make preparations to deploy. The lack of a status-of-forces agreement is also negatively affecting deployment. Regarding the future of the peace process, there has been both positive momentum and some concerns during the reporting period. While much progress has been made towards the creation of institutions, the formation of the Government of National Unity has encountered problems.
It is essential that Government positions be swiftly agreed upon and that the remaining commissions under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement be established as soon as possible so as to allow the parties to focus on the priorities they have set for the interim period.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement anticipated two fundamental transitional institutions that offer the best opportunity for the international community to provide its full support to the peace process, the report adds. One of these critical institutions, namely, the Ceasefire Political Commission, has now been established. The Assessment and Evaluation Commission, however, has yet to be created. These institutions would provide the international community the best opportunity to assist the parties and help to overcome implementation gaps before they threaten the process as a whole.
It is heartening, the Secretary-General notes, that the ceasefire is holding and that the parties are moving ahead with those activities mandated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement involving their military forces and "other armed groups". He calls on the parties to submit to the Ceasefire Joint Military Committee detailed lists of the size and location of all their forces, and to ensure that timely notification of troop dispositions and redeployments is submitted through the appropriate mechanisms. Separately, the parties must now commit liaison officers to the area joint military committees as an urgent priority, so that the Mission's monitoring activities can move forward. Equally important, the formation of joint integrated units must begin in earnest, a process that can progress only after the Joint Defence Board is in place.
Recent violence in Khartoum and Juba undoubtedly strained intercommunal relations in those two cities, the report states. The mainly southern internally displaced persons living in squatter areas and camps around Khartoum are still subject to forced relocations by the authorities, who often conduct violent search operations. This uneasy situation threatens the peace. All relocations must take place in accordance with international humanitarian standards.
Community, civic and religious leaders also have an important role to play in that regard, and in a broader context, the Secretary-General urges them to engage in a process of reconciliation.
The situation in Abyei remains unsettled following the Abyei Boundaries Commission's report, the report states. There are indications that the parties disagree on the scope of the Commission's mandate and its conclusions and recommendations.
While the communities directly affected by the report's conclusions have done their best to contain a difficult situation, national politics seem to have intruded and contributed to a hardening of positions, as well as heightened tension. The UNMIS remains in contact with the parties involved, and is taking steps to defuse the situation. He urges the new collective presidency to take the necessary decisions to help bring stability and peace to the area.
In the east, the Government and the Eastern Front should be credited for their willingness to engage in direct talks with each other, the report notes. It is taking them longer, however, to begin face-to-face talks, and UNMIS is consulting with the two parties to help expedite the process. Since the humanitarian situation in the area is deteriorating day by day, it is imperative that the Eastern Front follow through and allow the United Nations to conduct a humanitarian assessment of the area.
The security situation in Darfur has improved somewhat, as has humanitarian access, the report adds. However, continuing threats to humanitarian operations, violence against civilians, violations of human rights and little progress at the political level demand action by the parties and the international community. He appeals to all parties and partners involved in talks in Abuja and on the ground in Darfur to radically improve the prevailing conditions, including unequivocal support to the African Union Mission in the Sudan.
The SPLM/A is facing tremendous challenges in establishing the Government of southern Sudan, the report adds. The UNMIS has responded to requests for logistic and material assistance to the maximum extent possible within existing capacities. The Mission will find it increasingly difficult, however, to continue rendering assistance without compromising on the support needs of other logistically demanding, mandated tasks. The Secretary-General calls on the international community to acknowledge the scale of the immense challenge faced by the Government of southern Sudan and to provide support commensurate with the importance of its emerging institutions, which are essential to the consolidation of peace in the Sudan.
The role of international partners and donors will remain critical for peace implementation throughout the long interim period, the report states. That role will never be more important than at the present time, given the challenges faced by the embryonic administration in southern Sudan, as well as the wider need to address key areas of countrywide security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants; and assistance to the huge number of returnees who have started their difficult journeys home.