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Annan recommends renewing mandate of UN mission in Sudan for a year

15 September 2005 Secretary-General Kofi Annan, underlining the daunting challenges faced by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), has recommended that the Security Council renew the mission's mandate for another 12 months, until September 2006.

In his latest report to the Council on Sudan, Mr. Annan said the role of international partners and donors would never be more important than at the present time, given the challenges in the south and the wider need to address countrywide security sector reform and the resettling of returnees.

UNMIS has been engaged in active consultations on a status-of-forces agreement for the south, but despite earlier optimism and pledges of cooperation, consultations with a joint committee of the Government and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) have not yet led to an agreement.

While the discussions have addressed a number of important questions, those remaining to be resolved include the key issue of full and unrestricted freedom of movement for UNMIS, which is imperative for the fulfilment of its mandate and was previously agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government and the SPLM/A, he said.

As of 5 September, 2,309 military personnel were deployed in the mission area, including 153 military staff officers, 145 military observers and 2,011 troops. The factors that have delayed deployment, however, include the rainy season and the inability of some contractors to meet their deadlines for the delivery of goods and services, including construction materials and the preparation of tented camps.

Meanwhile, the parties in Darfur region of western Sudan, especially the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) were to meet Government representatives for talks in Abuja, Nigeria, this week, but grave human rights violations have continued, along with threats to humanitarian operations and little progress at the political level.

"Divisions within the rebel movements, particularly SLM/A, are likely to be a challenge during the talks. I strongly urge SLM/A to resolve its internal differences and to attend the sixth round of talks prepared to negotiate and reach agreement on the relevant substantive issues," he added.

Meanwhile, the progress towards holding a face-to-face meeting between the Government in Khartoum and the rebels of the Eastern Front has been slow. UNMIS has been consulting with both parties, Mr. Annan said.


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