UN Security Council votes to withdraw peacekeeping force in Sudan

10:04, July 12, 2011      

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The UN Security Council Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to withdraw the UN peacekeeping force in Sudan (UNMIS) effective July 11 and complete the withdrawal by August 31, 2011, just two days after South Sudan became the world's newest state.

The Security Council "calls upon the secretary-general to complete withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian UNMIS personnel, other than those required for the mission's liquidation, by 31 August 2011," said the resolution.

The resolution called on the "need for the orderly withdrawal of UNMIS following the termination of the mission's mandate on July 9, 2011."

The 15-member Council underscored "the need for a smooth transition from UNMIS to UN Interim Security Force for Abyei ( UNISFA) and to UN Mission for the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). "

The resolution also requested the secretary-general transfer appropriate staff, equipment, supplies and other assets from UNMIS to UNMISS and to UNISFA, "together with appropriate staff and logistics necessary for achieving the new scope of functions to be performed."

With the declaration of South Sudan's independence on July 9, the work with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) inked between north and south Sudan in 2005 and the mandate of UNMIS would terminate at the same time.

UNMIS, with a 10,400-strong peacekeeping force in Sudan, was established in March 2005 according to the UN Security Council resolution 1590 to monitor the CPA implementation, facilitate and coordinate the voluntary return of the refugees and internally displaced persons, and provide them with humanitarian assistance.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a three-month extension to UNMIS, which was rejected by Khartoum.

Ban, who stopped in Khartoum last Friday en route to Juba for the independence celebration, again urged the Sudanese government to extend the UNMIS mandate "at least until the situation calms down," and to end the confrontation in border area of South Kordofan.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said at the Security Council after the vote that the United States "deeply regrets the necessity" to vote on this resolution to end the UNMIS mandate, calling on the government of Sudan "yet again to reconsider its demand that UNMIS cease its activities in the republic of Sudan effective July 9."

Prior to the independence of South Sudan on July 9, the Security Council approved last Friday to create a new UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, "to consolidate peace and security and to help establish the conditions for development in South Sudan."

A timetable, recently presented by the president of the Security Council indicated that South Sudan could be a member state in the international organization shortly after its independence.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig, the UNSC president for this month, recently told reporters that the Council would likely adopt a resolution on July 13 to recommend membership of south Sudan, adding that the recommendation would likely be presented to the United Nations General Assembly to vote upon the following day, which needs approving by a majority of two thirds of the UN members.

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