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Joint African Union-UN envoy speaks out amid renewed Sudanese-Chadian tensions

17 July 2009 – The head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur today called on Sudan and Chad to end any hostile activities along their border amid fresh accusations of air strikes in the troubled region.

Rodolphe Adada, the Joint AU-UN Special Representative, warned that the continuing tensions between the neighbouring countries remain “one of the major obstacles to the peace and security of Darfur.”

Mr. Adada, who heads the joint peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID, issued a press statement after Sudan accused Chad of carrying out air strikes in Umm Dukhum, a West Darfur village on its border with Chad.

“We are deeply concerned at such reports, which are being investigated by UNAMID, and I once again urge all parties to refrain from such escalation,” he said.

Mr. Adada stressed that dialogue is the only solution for the tensions between Chad and Sudan.

“I encourage you [the two Governments] to desist from conflict even as diplomatic efforts are being undertaken to bring an end to the ongoing tensions, which could exacerbate conditions for Darfur’s civilians. Good relations between Chad and Sudan are a key to ensuring lasting peace in the area.”

In Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report to the Security Council on the work of UNAMID, released today, he said he is deeply concerned by the ongoing instability along the border and the “inflammatory rhetoric” of both sides.

Mr. Ban called on Khartoum and N’Djamena to end their support for one another’s rebel groups and to normalize their bilateral relations.

The Secretary-General has recommended that UNAMID’s mandate be extended at least through the end of July 2010, citing the numerous challenges in Darfur, despite the decrease in large-scale conflict.

An estimated 2.6 million Darfurians remain displaced from their homes and as many as 4.7 million people in total depend on humanitarian assistance, while sexual violence and banditry are also prevalent.

But Mr. Ban noted that more than 90 per cent of the authorized strength of UNAMID should be in place and fully operating by the end of the year, while mechanisms for cooperation with the Sudanese Government are functioning more effectively.

“Both developments will put UNAMID in a position to dedicate more time to the implementation of its mandate and less time to deployment-related issues.”

In its first 18 months the mission has struggled with numerous logistical and operational problems, which has made it difficult to effectively deploy troops and police officers across an arid and remote region that is larger than Iraq.



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