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UNSC To Pull Peacekeepers From Sudan’s Darfur: Diplomat

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United Nations and Africa Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been deployed in troubled region since 2007

The UN Security Council plans to pull more than 8,000 peacekeepers out of Darfur following a ten-year presence in the troubled region, a Sudanese diplomat said Thursday.

According to the diplomat, who spoke anonymously as he was not authorized to talk to media, the UN’s peacekeeping department has submitted a proposal to the UNSC to reduce the number of peacekeepers deployed in Darfur and to modify the terms of the peacekeeping mission’s mandate.

The UNSC is expected to put the proposal to a vote on June 18.

The same diplomat told Anadolu Agency that the UNSC’s 15 members, including the U.S., were in agreement regarding the need to reduce the number of peacekeepers deployed in the region.

“We have received assurances that the decision will be made, as agreed upon earlier between Khartoum, the UN and the African Union as part of a gradual exit strategy,” he said.

The proposal calls for the gradual withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from Darfur over a one-year period and changing the objective of the mission’s mandate from peacekeeping to “peace building”.

In a report presented to the UNSC on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El-Ghassim Wane urged the council to endorse the proposal.

The United Nations and Africa Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has been deployed in the region since 2007, when Khartoum signed several agreements with various Darfurian rebel groups.

“The African Union and the UN are proposing 44-percent and 30-percent reductions in their troop and police presence in Sudan's Darfur region as a step towards an eventual exit,” Wane told the council.

“This reconfiguration would bring the troop ceiling down to eight battalions from a current 16 -- or 8,736 troops -- and the police ceiling down to 2,360 from 3,403,” he added.

The Sudanese government, the UN and the AU agreed earlier to formulate an “exit strategy” for the UNAMID, which was established by the UNSC in 2007 following the adoption of Resolution 1769.

Since 2003, two main rebel movements -- the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement -- have fought the Sudanese government in Darfur.

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