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Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Security Council VTC meeting on UNITAMS, December 8

10.12.2020 - Speech

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Let me start my intervention by picking up where Rosemary DiCarlo [USG DPPA] left off. We are at a critical juncture with regard to Sudan. The transition process could still derail. I think this alone makes it necessary that we look seriously at the situation. There are enormous challenges for the Government of Prime Minister Hamdok. At this stage, I would like to again underline Germany's full support to the Government. We want this Government to succeed and we will do everything from our side to make that possible.

The difficulties regarding the transitional institutions meeting their deadlines are depressing to hear again. With regard to gender equality and women's representation the transitional bodies don't meet expectations that we again and again voice here in the Council. This is really frustrating. We know that peace processes only work when there are more women involved. Again and again, we are let down. But more importantly, civil society and women are let down. The situation is very difficult in Sudan: the floods, the harvest, COVID-19, additional illnesses due to the floods, and fifty thousand refugees from the Tigray area. I commend the Government of Sudan for what they have been doing to accommodate these refugees under difficult circumstances.

As if that was not enough, I read the UNSG Spokesperson's morning headlines today about the report of internal fights over the control of gold mines, attacks against government forces, and twenty-seven thousand people displaced. So the situation is very difficult. Therefore, we have been a driving force together with our British friends in supplying UN help and seeing to it that UNITAMS actually takes up its work.

I am very encouraged by what I heard both from Rosemary DiCarlo [USG DPPA] and from Jean-Pierre Lacroix [USG DPO] with regard to the buildup of UNITAMS. I think it is very important that from the very first day on, UNITAMS is able to do the work that we have designed here and supports the Government. It is very good that it is a fully integrated team. Germany will support it with additional voluntary contributions and personnel.

On the UNAMID drawdown, Mr. President, you remember that I raised recently the issue that it is very important that this Council makes a decision on the drawdown of UNAMID. We heard this  from the three briefers, in particular from USG for Operational Support Atul Khare. I would like to thank him again for outlining all the challenges that we face in the immediate drawdown. So we have to coordinate with the Sudanese authorities who take over the protection of civilians.

We might see a situation where security incidents might occur, and our blue helmets would not able to intervene if we do not provide them with a legal basis to complete their drawdown. What kind of an impression would we leave on the population if we had blue helmets sitting there and not doing anything? Also, we heard that there is resistance from the local authorities to allow for the drawdown. Some months ago, we heard reports about looting of UN premises that were supposed to go to Sudanese educational institutions. We cannot allow this again because this would tarnish the image of the government, the UN and our own image.

Therefore, my plea again to you, Mr. President, is to have a serious look at our obligation as the Security Council. We have to make a decision on the drawdown and we have to decide how to cooperate with the Sudanese Government in the most effective way possible in order to cope with all the challenges we face. I like the proposal of Atul Khare to have a coordination mechanism that looks at all these questions. But we have to mandate this. We have to assume our responsibility and cannot just let UNAMID go.

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