Briefing on the situation in the Sudan

Sudan

Date | 16 March, 2021

Tomorrow (16 March) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 985th session on the transitional situation in Sudan. The session is also expected to serve as a preparation for Council’s upcoming field visit to Sudan scheduled to take place from 30 March to 1 April. Apart from the opening statement of the Chairperson of the PSC, Bankole Adeoye, the new Commissioner for Political Affairs and Peace and Security will deliver his maiden remarks. It is also expected that the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Sudan, Mohamed Belaichi will give a briefing to the PSC. The representative of Sudan is also expected to make statements both as representative of Sudan and as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The new Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, is also scheduled to make statement.

It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to regularly brief the Council on the situation in the Sudan, in particular, on the implementation of the Political Agreement and the Constitutional Document. Tomorrow’s briefing is expected to provide an update on the overall political situation, the evolution of the transition including the implementation of the Juba peace agreement since PSC’s last session on Sudan held during its 952nd meeting.

The country marked the second anniversary of the revolution in December 2020. Since the PSC’s last session, significant progress has been observed, although the transition continues to face serious challenges, thus remaining fragile. On 14 December 2020, Sudan has been removed from the US List of State Sponsors of Terrorism. This has paved the way for the transitional government to receive much- needed financial and economic assistance to revive the country’s ailing economy and for the country to engage in negotiations to secure debt relief. It also boosts the position of the civilian component of the transitional government.

An important milestone has also been achieved in the implementation of the Juba peace agreement. The Announcement on 8 February by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of the formation of the expanded new Cabinet resulted in the inclusion in the transitional government of the representatives of the various opposition group formations in the structures of the transitional government. The new cabinet includes, among others, the Darfuri rebel leader Gibril Ibrahim as Finance Minister and, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, a leader of the Umma Party, as Foreign Minister. Some are also represented in the Sovereign Council, the other major component of the transitional government.

Following these changes in the composition of the transitional government, the expanded transitional government adopted a new political agenda committing to addressing the serious economic challenges affecting the public, security sector reform, transitional justice, gender and youth empowerment.

Despite such progress, the transitional process continues to face major challenges. In terms of the implementation of the transitional timelines including in the Constitutional Document, the call of the PSC for the establishment of the transitional legislative council, an important milestone envisaged in the Constitutional Document and the Juba Peace Agreement, remains unmet as various deadlines, including that of 25 February have been missed. The delay is said to be because of ongoing consultations on the distribution of seats among Sudanese political forces, including the signatories of the Agreement. The appointment of substantive state governments expected to take place on 15 February was not met. Despite the provision in the transitional agreement for the Military to handover the chairship of the Sovereign Council, there remain uncertainties.

In the political front, one of the major priorities for the transitional government is to advance the peace process by bringing on board non-signatory armed opposition movements, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North-Abdel Aziz al-Hilu faction and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdul Wahid al-Nur faction. The recent meeting between the Sovereign Council Chairman, Lieutenant General Abdelfattah Burhan, with Mr. Al-Hilu, and the latter’s declaration to unilaterally extend the cessation of hostilities for five months is encouraging in this regard. There is also the issue of addressing challenges affecting the relationship of the civilian and military arms of the transitional government.

The dire economic challenges facing the country is another major area of concern for the transitional process. the Transitional Government of Sudan rolled out its economic recovery plan, ‘Sudan Economic Revival Plan 2019-2030’ to address the economic challenges facing the country. With the withdrawal of subsidies leading to spike in cost of living, thousands of Sudanese took to the streets to protest in Khartoum and other major cities to express their frustration over the deteriorating socioeconomic condition and criticized the performance of the transitional Government. Following the formation of the new cabinet, the transitional government took the most difficult decision to float the currency exchange rate in line with a reform programme agreed last year with the International Monetary Fund. Despite the adoption of mitigating economic measures including safety net programs, the economic situation remains an area that requires major effort, including via international support.

In terms of the security situation, intercommunal violence in Darfur continues to threaten the lives of civilians, while UNAMID continues its drawdown and exit. Recent incidents resulted in the death, injury, and displacement of civilians. These incidents have raised questions over the withdrawal of UNAMID. Displaced people who protested against these incidents have in fact called for the mission to stay. UNAMID is expected to complete its withdrawal by the end of June this year and UNITAMS that took over from UNAMID with a mandate to assist Sudan in its transition and peacebuilding process is already operational. Highlighting the precarious security situation and fragility of the transitional process, on 9 March Prime Minister Hamdok survived an assassination attempt, second time in a year.

The other major challenge with not-insignificant implications for the transitional process is the broader regional geo-political dynamics. Tensions between the Sudan and Ethiopia along their common border has been a matter of serious concern. There has been calls for the two countries to ensure a peaceful resolution of their differences regarding the demarcation of their common border. Countries in the neighborhood and beyond have also offered to mediate. On his part, Chairperson Moussa Faki had sent his Principal Advisor Professor Mohamed el Hacen Ould Lebatt to Khartoum to undertake consultation with the transition authorities. But there has been calls for the AU to be engaged in assisting Ethiopia and Sudan, including through its border programme. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his recent report to the UNSC on the Sudan, also urged the leaders of Ethiopia and the Sudan to de- escalate the situation, ensure the safety of those living in the area and work towards a common solution. Other regional dynamics include the negotiations over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The expected outcome of the meeting is a communique. The PSC is expected to welcome the progress made in the implementation of the transitional process including, the formation of the new transitional cabinet and the expanded Sovereign Council in implementing the Juba agreement. It would also welcome the removal of Sudan from the US List of State Sponsors of Terrorism and call on the international community to extend the much needed financial and economic support to Sudan to ensure the success of the transition. The PSC may also urge the various components of the transitional government to overcome their differences and enhance working together in the implementation of the transitional process. It may also reiterate its earlier call for the formation of the Transitional Legislative Council in line with the Constitutional Document.

In terms of the peace process, the PSC is expected to urge those armed movements that remain outside the peace process to commit to negotiations that will lead to a fully inclusive and sustainable peace in the Sudan. The PSC may express concern over spike in violence in Drafur with dire consequences to civilians. The PSC may also urge express concern about the escalation in border tensions between the Sudan and Ethiopia and call on the leaders of Ethiopia and the Sudan to de-escalate the situation and work towards finding an amicable solution to the border issue through dialogue and negotiation. In order to enhance AU’s support for the transitional process, the PSC may call on the deployment of needs assessment process for identifying areas of post-conflict reconstruction and development support by the AU and the need for close working arrangement between the AU and UNITAMS.


Consideration of the Special Report of the AUC Chairperson and the UN Secretary-General on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence

Sudan

Date | 30 November, 2020

Tomorrow (30 November) the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) is scheduled to consider the Special Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) on the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and a follow-on presence. The session is expected to take place through VTC.

Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is expected to deliver a statement. The Joint Special Representative and Head of UNAMID, Kingsley Mamabolo, is also scheduled to make a presentation. Representative of Sudan as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and country concerned, IGAD secretariat, UN Office to the AU (UNOAU) are also expected to make statements.

In the last session on UNAMID held in May 2020, the PSC in its 927th communiqué reiterated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s request to the UNSC in deploying a mission with a Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandate. It further underlined the importance of respecting national ownership of the transition process and need for continued coordination and complementarity between the AU and UN in peacebuilding activities. Moreover, the PSC further stated that UNAMID’s mandate should be extended up to 31 December 2020 in line with its protection mandate and implementation of the exit strategy.

On 3 June 2020, the UNSC has adopted two resolutions: 2525 (2020) and 2524 (2020). Resolution 2524 (2020) established the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for an initial period of 12 months. The UNSC requested the Secretary General to rapidly appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of Mission of UNITAMS and ‘ to swiftly initiate the planning for and establishment of UNITAMS, with a view to reaching full operational capacity as soon as possible and in order to ensure the mission is able to start delivering against all its strategic objectives no later than 1 January 2021.’

Pending the establishment of UNITAMS, resolution 2025 (2020) extended the mandate of UNAMID until 31 December 2020 with the current troop and police ceiling. The resolution also requested the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of theAUC to provide the Security Council with a Special Report no later than 31 October 2020, assessing ‘the situation on the ground… the capacity of the Government of Sudan… to protect civilians… and recommendations on the appropriate course of action regarding the drawdown of UNAMID, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.’ The UNSC is expected to deliberate on the drawdown and exist of UNAMID based on the guidance provided in the report.

In line with this resolution, the joint AUC Chair and UNSG report is expected to provide an analysis of the security situation in Darfur, outcome of the Juba peace agreement, ongoing efforts for protection of civilians and key recommendations for the transition from UNAMID to UNITAMS.

Moreover, in light of the joint October 2020 visit to Sudan by Commissioner Smail Chergui and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, it would be of interest for PSC members to be briefed about the political and security situation in Darfur. In this respect, it is worth noting that despite very encouraging political developments in Sudan, the situation in Darfur remains concerning. Apart from the presence of armed opposition groups, the sources of insecurity include notably inter- communal clashes, land related clashes and attacks on civilians which have increased from the third quarter of 2020. Between June and October 2020, UNAMID recorded a total of 146 fatalities including 111 fatalities in July alone as a result of 31 clashes and disputes, marking a more than four-fold increase of casualties compared to the same period in 2019 and a more than eight-fold increase from that of in 2018.

With regards to the ongoing security risks, another key issue that is expected to be discussed in tomorrow’s briefing is the National Plan for Protection of Civilians that was officially submitted to the UNSC and its implementation. The Juba peace agreement itself has created a framework to address the protection of civilians through comprehensive measures covering security, justice and reconciliation, protection of refugees and internally displaced persons.

In terms of the peace process, tomorrow’s session will discuss the developments that followed the Juba peace agreement signed between the Transitional Government of Sudan, the Sudan Revolutionary Front coalition of armed opposition groups, and the Sudan Liberation Front led by Minni Minawi on 3 October 2020 and the Declaration of Principles signed between Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the SPLM-N faction led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu on 3 September 2020.

The briefing, in line with the recommendations of the report, will also present the action points leading to UNAMID’s drawdown and UNITAMS’s deployment. The transition will be marked by the shift from the physical protection provided by UNAMID to UNITAMS’s role in supporting the implementation of the National Plan for Protection of Civilians, peacebuilding activities, economic recovery and development. Moreover, the key recommendations outlined in the report include the termination of UNAMID’s mandate by 31 December 2020 and the full operationalization of the UNITAMS as per the Security Council resolution 2524 (2020); UN, the AU and IGAD in close collaboration with the government of Sudan to provide support in sustaining peace in Darfur and the need to conduct a lessons learnt exercise to document UNAMID’s experience.

Commissioner Chergui’s briefing may further provide overview on the outcome of the Tripartite (AU – UN – Government of Sudan) Coordination Mechanism (TCM) on UNAMID that was held in October 2020. His briefing may also touch on the possible follow up technical meeting between the National Committee and UNAMID that is expected to deliberate and rollout actions in the period after December 31.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to endorse the recommendations of the report including the termination of UNAMID’s mandate in December 2020 and the subsequent deployment of UNITAMS. It may welcome the signing of the Juba agreement and express its wish for the effective implementation of the agreement to ensure peace and stability in Darfur and more broadly in Sudan. It may also commend the Government of Sudan for the development of a National Plan for Protection of Civilians. It may express concern over the recent rise in violence and insecurity in Darfur and may urge for a smooth transition that pays particular attention to the protection of civilians and to prevent any security vacuum in the area. It may stress the importance of continued and strengthened engagement of the AU in the aftermath of UNAMID and more particularly for the AU to play an active role in the peacebuilding and development process of the country. In this respect, the PSC may request that the presence of the AU in Sudan is strengthened for supporting both the transitional process and the implementation of peace agreements and post-conflict reconstruction and development measures.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

Sudan

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


Briefing on the Situation in Sudan

Sudan

Date | 6 October, 2020

Tomorrow (6 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to discuss on the situation in the Sudan, which is the only country situation in the program work of the PSC for the month. Although it was initially envisaged that the PSC will consider the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, the session has since been changed into a briefing session. This session is envisaged to take place virtually through VCT.

It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing from the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson and Head of the AU Liaison Office in Sudan, Mohamed Belaichi. The representative of Sudan is also expected to make a statement both as representative of Sudan and in Sudan’s capacity as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to regularly brief the Council on the situation in the Sudan, in particular, on the implementation of the Political Agreement and the Constitutional Document. Tomorrow’s briefing is expected to provide an update on the overall political situation, the evolution of the transition including the peace process launched following the establishment of the transitional government. Other issues of major concern include the economic situation and the progress towards removing Sudan from the US list of states sponsoring terrorism.

The major development in the transition process in Sudan is the significant progress registered in the peace process that has been launched following the establishment of the transitional government. On 3 October, a landmark peace deal was signed in South Sudan’s capital Juba by the transitional government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front – a coalition of armed opposition groups. The regional body IGAD, the AU and the UN have all welcomed the signing of the peace deal as a significant step forward towards bringing lasting peace and stability in the Sudan, although not all armed groups are part of this deal.

The other major armed opposition groups, which are not part of this peace deal are the Al-Hilu faction of SPLM/N and the Abdul Wahid faction of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). Al-Hilu has already signed an agreement of principles with Sudan’s Prime Minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 3 September. This is considered encouraging. Al-Hilu is said to have attended the signing ceremony in Juba and met with Prime Minister Hamdok and President Salva Kiir to discuss about the ongoing talks between his movement and the transitional government. However, Abdul-Wahid’s faction continues to reject talks with the transitional government and downplayed the significance of the peace deal signed in Juba.

The signing of the peace deal is only the first step, but challenges lie ahead in terms of its implementation. The need for the parties to translate their commitment into action will be critical to move the country forward. Apart from the challenges of implementation that arise from the internal power dynamics of the transitional government and the influence of various security entities in Sudan, a major formidable test for the peace process is the economic situation in Sudan. This will also pose a major challenge in financing the implementation of the peace deal. It is feared that this will test the resolve of the parties for honoring their commitments under the deal signed in Juba.

Belaichi’s briefing may shed lights on the scale of the economic pressure facing Sudan. There is already growing frustration within the society with protesters resurfacing again on the streets. The country has already declared a state of economic emergency because of the drastic fall of the Sudanese Pound. That is why it needs international support, but it may not be easy to come by given the current realities in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic even though there was generous pledge made by partners to support the transition during the Berlin Conference.

One of the major stumbling blocks for the country in rehabilitating its economy and attracting much needed investment from outside has been the fact that Sudan remains in the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This is one of the issues that the representative of Sudan may provide update on. Progress has been made in the discussion with the US on removing Sudan from the list and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his letter to the Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell, has urged US lawmakers to support the removal explaining the progress made in the discussion on compensation to the victims of the 1998 terrorist attack on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and underscoring the need to support the transition process in the Sudan. However, this is now overshadowed by new demands that the country should take cues from other Gulf countries in normalizing its ties with Israel. This appears to be creating obstacles to the delisting process, which was expected to happen this month.

Sudan has also declared another emergency because of the worst flooding which overflooded the Nile river banks. More than half a million Sudanese are said to have been affected by this disaster and 99 people lost their lives. This disaster has further compounded already existing challenges and left many Sudanese in need of humanitarian assistance. This is another issue in respect of which both Belaichi and the representative of Sudan are expected to provide analysis on how this emergency would affect Sudan’s transition.

The transition in Sudan would certainly benefit from strong and sustained regional and international backing. It is to be recalled that, in January, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock had requested the United Nations “to seek a Security Council mandate to establish, as soon as possible, a Chapter VI peace support operation in the form of a special political mission with a strong peacebuilding component”. He further requested that the mission’s mandate should cover the entire territory of Sudan. Although there were some complications in the ensuing discussion on the deployment of the mission with regard to the mandate of the mission and its composition, the United Nations Security Council eventually adopted resolution 2524 (2020) establishing an integrated transition assistance mission in the Sudan. The mandate of the mission includes, among others, to support the transition process, provide good offices for peace negotiations, assist in peacebuilding, civilian protection, and rule of law, and support the state’s capacity to extend its presence.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC is expected to welcome the signing of the peace deal between the Sudan government and armed groups in Juba and express its full support for the deal. The PSC may also encourage those groups which are not part of the peace deal to join the peace deal which promises lasting peace and stability to the whole of Sudan. The PSC may recognize the enormous challenges that the country continues to face and reiterate its call to bilateral and international partners to mobilize assistance in support of the Sudan. In this regard, it may urge partners to redeem the pledge made in the Berlin Conference. The PSC may also once again reiterate its call for the lifting of all economic and financial sanctions on Sudan, most notably the removing Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, more so considering the commitment that Sudan’s transitional government demonstrated by fulfilling the demands of the US government relating to compensation for bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The PSC may also encourage countries in the region and the AU as well as partners to enhance their support to the transitional process in Sudan and commend the support that various countries extended in support of the transitional government.


Briefing on the Situation in Sudan

Sudan

Date | 30 January, 2020

Tomorrow (30 January) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to receive a briefing on the situation in the Sudan. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (SRCC) and Head of the AU Liaison Office to Sudan Mohamed Belaiche is expected to brief the Council. Also invited for addressing the Council are Sudan, expected to be represented at the level of State Minister for Foreign Affairs and the US Special Envoy to Sudan, Donald Booth.

The main focus of the session is on how to address the economic challenges facing Sudan and guarantee the success of the transitional process in Sudan. Since 1993, the United States has kept Sudan and its former leader, Omar al-Bashir on its state sponsors of terrorism list. This has serious consequences for the transition in Sudan. Most notably, it directly affects the economy that is in desperate need of revitalization based principally on international support and economic cooperation.

The transitional government has inherited a very weak economy suffering from the nearly $60 billion debt burden, widespread unemployment and rising inflation and cost of living. With very little tools at its disposal for addressing the plethora of economic woes facing the country, Sudan needs major external economic support. Prime Minister Abdela Hamdok says the country requires up to $10 billion to stabilise the currency and help the administration tackle key challenges over the next two years.

Sudan however cannot mobilize international economic support while it is still on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. In December, Hamdok was on an official visit to the US aiming at engaging US authorities on the normalization of relations between the two countries and the removal of Sudan from the state sponsor of terrorism list. In a speech that he delivered during his stay in the US, he stated that Sudan’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism ‘has a lot of bearing on so many processes, not to mention debt and investment but also opening the country at large,’ and ‘unless it is addressed, all these other processes will not take place’. Many agree that removing Sudan from the list will open the door for access to essential financial support and address the economic stress facing Sudan.

During tomorrow’s session the representative of Sudan is expected to provide further details on the challenges facing Sudan and how keeping Sudan in the US state sponsors of terrorism affects the transitional process in Sudan. Also, of importance for the PSC is update by the Sudanese representative about the outcome of Hambdok’s visit to the US that took place last December and measures Sudan is taking for getting its removal from the list.

The two countries have agreed to exchange Ambassadors for the first time in 23 years. Hamdok said some progress has been made during his visit to the U.S., but he admitted that the process of removing Sudan from the U.S. terrorism list could take time. During a visit to Sudan, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy who visited Sudan recently was asked about this issue and he said, “we see a very positive partner with whom we can do business. We have active negotiations going on in a number of areas. We are optimistic”.

During tomorrow’s meeting, the PSC is expected to hear from Booth on US’s assessment of the support required for forestalling the collapse of the transitional process in Sudan and the role of the removal of Sudan from US state sponsors of terrorism list. Most specifically, PSC member states would be keen to know the conditions that are required for getting the removal of Sudan from the list and the plan of the US for helping Sudan meet those conditions. Some of the conditions that senior officials of the US State Department indicated for removing Sudan from the list include: more cooperation on counterterrorism; improved human rights protections, including freedom of religion and the press; increased humanitarian access; ending fighting and conflicts with rebels within Sudan; showing that Sudan has ceased supporting terrorism, ensuring that no Sudanese weapons in terrorist hands; and compensating those affected by the terrorist incidents for which responsibility is attributed to Sudan. Hamdok is reported to have said that the two points still under discussion are the cooperation of Sudan regarding the war on terrorism and compensations to U.S. victims of the terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies.

The last time the PSC met was in September when it decided to lift the suspension of the participation of Sudan in the AU’s activities following the establishment of the transitional government and the appointment of the new prime minister. The PSC had called for the lifting of all economic and financial sanctions on Sudan, including removing Sudan from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, with a view to enhancing the economic activities of the country and encouraging foreign
investments. In the same meeting, the PSC agreed to continue to closely monitor the development of the situation in Sudan and requested the Chairperson of the AU Commission to regularly brief the Council on the situation in Sudan, in particular, on the implementation of the Political Agreement and the Constitutional Document. During tomorrow’s meeting, the SRCC Belaiche is expected to provide the PSC update on the progress and challenges in the Sudanese transitional process. It has been more than five months since the Sudanese transitional government was formed, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock, it has taken series of measures aimed at addressing the country’s multiple and complex challenges. The transitional government has recently adopted a general framework that guides its work and sets out its key priorities. In this regard, it has been working to put an end to war as a matter of priority with a view to building a comprehensive and sustainable peace in the country.

Some encouraging progress is registered. Prime Minister Hamdock has visited rebel held areas in a gesture of peace, which was widely welcomed. Most recently, the transitional government signed a peace deal with the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) for bringing an end to the conflict affecting the two areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

It is expected that SRCC Belaiche will also address the issue of how the economic situation affects the transitional process. Sudan continues to face enormous socio-economic difficulties; addressing the grievances of the people and giving the Sudanese youth a sense of hope and future is a herculean task for the transitional government. In this regard, it has been taking series of steps to revive the moribund economy by undertaking reform measures to address macro-economic and structural imbalances.

Prime Minister Hamdock has been visiting countries of the region and beyond in a renewed diplomatic engagement. At the 13th Ordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa in November last year, Sudan was elected to the Chairmanship of IGAD replacing Ethiopia. At this important juncture, Sudan certainly needs all the support from the international community to surmount its current political, security and socio-economic challenges and meet the needs and aspirations of its people. Kuwait is said to be planning to host an international donors Conference in support of Sudan in April/May. The Conference is expected to mobilize financial contributions to assist the country’s economic reform efforts.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC is expected to review the progress in the implementation of the political agreement in the Sudan and welcome the positive steps taken by the transitional government over the past several months. Given the key role that the AU together with Ethiopia played in facilitating the signing of this agreement, the PSC is expected to urge the US to play its key role of preventing the derailment of the transitional process in Sudan and the peace and security risks that it entails by removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The PSC may in particular call for a plan with specific timeline and agreed parameters underpinned by firm commitments to be jointly drawn up by the US and Sudan towards achieving this objective of removal from the list and facilitating access by Sudan to economic support including for addressing its debt burden. On its part, the PSC may express its commitment to support Sudan towards realizing the assurances that it gives for meeting the conditions for its removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The PSC may also welcome the peace process including the signing in Juba, South Sudan of the peace agreement with the SPLM-N. The PSC may recognize the enormous challenges that the country
continues to face and reiterate its call to bilateral and international partners to mobilize assistance in support of the Sudan. In this context, it may welcome the plan by Kuwait to hold an international donors conference.


Briefing on Darfur and UNAMID

Sudan

Date | 26 February, 2019

Tomorrow (26 February) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to hold its first briefing of the year on the situation in Darfur and on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operations in Darfur (UNAMID). The Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of UNAMID Jeremiah Mamabolo is scheduled to brief the PSC. Ademore Kambudzi, Acting Head of the Peace and Security Department is also expected to deliver a statement on behalf of Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security. The PSC also expects to hear update statement from the Government of Sudan. The agenda for the session anticipates the participation of the UN office to the AU (UNOAU) and representatives of the African members (A3) of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

In terms of the situation in Darfur, Mamabolo is expected to update the PSC on the developments in the security situation in Darfur since the PSC’s last meeting of 19 September 2018. Like the October 2018 report of the Secretary-General, his latest report covering 4 October 2018 to 3 January, noted that the security situation in Darfur remains relatively stable except for intermittent clashes between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid in the Jebel Marra area. It also indicates improvements noting in particular the decline in inter-communal violence and human rights violations, enabling some internally displaced persons to return to their place of origin.

It is to be recalled that one area of concern highlighted in the PSC field visit to Darfur and the communiqué on its field mission report has been the treatment of internally displaced persons and the challenges surrounding clashes over land including for IDPs seeking to return to their place of origin.

In this regard, its communiqué of the 773rd meeting highlighted the ‘need to urgently and equitably address the land tenure issues as it relates to the returnees’. The Secretary-General’s latest report also observed that the underlying causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. This is one area on which the briefing from Mamabolo is expected to provide some update to the PSC.

It is to be recalled that the various communiqués of the PSC (communiqués of its 778th and 794th sessions) and notably its communiqué of the 773rd session urged ‘the Government of Sudan to intensify efforts towards addressing the root causes of conflict in Darfur, including the return of the IDPs.’ PSC members may wish to learn about the government’s specific plans and concrete measures in these respects.

Members of the PSC would wish to follow up on the effort for achieving political settlement, particularly with groups that are not signatories to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) as highlighted in its 794th session. In this respect, some progress has been observed. The African Union High-level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 22-23 November 2018 with the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Gibril Ibrahim faction of the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM-Gibril), focusing on achieving a pre-negotiation framework that would facilitate the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement and the resumption of political negotiations. On 6 December 2018, at a meeting in Berlin, Germany the government of Sudan and the SLA-MM and JEMGibril signed a pre-negotiation agreement, providing for the resumption of negotiations within the framework of the DDPD, under the auspices of the AUHIP.

Despite this slow progress and the renewal by these groups of their cessation of hostilities until February, fighting has not completely stopped. With respect to UNAMID, developments relating to
the benchmarks in the exit process of UNAMID are of particular interest. It is to be recalled that its communiqué of the 778th session ‘while welcoming the proposal by the Special Report of the Secretary General and the AU Commission Chairperson that the UNAMID would exit on 30 June 2020 and its liquidation be completed by December 2020,’ the PSC noted that consideration should be given to ‘[e]nsuring a gradual drawdown that would allow the Mission’s exit to be guided by the political and security situation on the ground so as not to create a security vacuum and expose civilian populations’.

As expected to be highlighted in Mamabolo’s briefing, it is of interest for the PSC that the October 2018 report of the Secretary General contained proposed ‘benchmarks and indicators of achievement’ for the eventual exit of UNAMID with a view towards this exit taking place in 2020, ‘provided that there is no significant change in the security situation in Darfur and key indicators are fulfilled’. Also of significance for the PSC to note is the UNSC presidential statement of Cote d’Ivoire of 10 December that requested the Secretary-General, and invited the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to provide detailed reporting on the progress made towards achieving the benchmarks and indicators attaching ‘particular priority to progress against the benchmarks and indicators focused on protection of civilians, particularly relating to internally displaced persons and returning refugees, human rights, rule of law, the humanitarian situation, and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the regular 90-day reports’.

A key issue that may be raised during the briefing is the challenge around resource and financial mobilization to support the implementation of the transition to plan. The UNSC presidential statement makes reference to the need for resources not only to the successful attainment of the benchmarks and indicators but also to the long-term transition to peacebuilding and development.

In line with the timetable adopted by the UNSC, the UNAMID troops have been reduced from 8,735 to 5,470 and the number of police officers has also been lowered from 800 to 760 by the end of December 2018. The upcoming joint UN and AU assessment mission in March will review the reconfiguration of UNAMID in light of the set benchmarks and present report both to the PSC and UNSC.

Beyond troop reduction, the transition plan includes the transfer of various locations to the control of the Government of Sudan. In a press statement that UNAMID issued on 20 December 2018, it reported that it concluded the closure and handing over of 10 team sites to the Government of Sudan. In the
statement UNAMID urged the Government of Sudan to use the facilities for non-military civilian purposes, including to ‘contribute towards institutions such as universities, hospitals and schools, that meet critical needs of health and education, while benefiting large parts of communities.’

It is of interest for the PSC to inquire from Mamabolo if there are aspects of the situation in Darfur and UNAMID’s exit processes that, in the assessment of UNAMID, could be affected by these ongoing political instability in Sudan, most notably the most recent declaration of state of emergency
and the removal of state governors. The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. On the situation in Darfur, the PSC could reiterate its earlier concerns on the challenges facing IDPs and returnees and the need for addressing the underlying conflict drivers in Darfur such as those leading to inter-communal clashes, including land issues and resource distribution. The communiqué could also welcome the progress towards inclusive political settlement and the need for not losing momentum. With respect to UNAMID’s exit process, the communiqué could take note of the benchmarks and indicators of progress contained in the UN Secretary-General and the UNSC’s Presidential statement calling for periodic reports using the benchmarks and indicators for assessing progress, which is in line with the PSC’s communiqué of the 778th session. The PSC may also wish to request that UNAMID monitors and provides feedback on the impact of the overall situation in Sudan on Darfur and the mission.


Briefing session on the situation in Sudan

Sudan

Date | 15 April, 2019

Tomorrow (15 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene on an emergency meeting on the situation unfolding in Sudan. It is expected that the AU Peace and Security Department, will brief the PSC. Sudan’s Ambassador and representative of IGAD are also expected to make statements. It is anticipated that the session will focus on the conditions of the ouster of long time President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir the precious day on 11 April and the nature of the transition that the army leadership announced after removing Bashir.

The move of the Sudanese army ousting Bashir came after months of peaceful popular protests that covered many parts of Sudan. The protests began on 19 December in the northern town of Atbara after a major spike in the price of bread. As the protests spread to many other parts of Sudan including notably the capital Khartoum, the demand of the protesters shifted into broader political change with a particular focus on the departure of Bashir from power.

The army ousted Bashir after the protesters mobilized major demonstrations running for a number of days since April 6 outside of the military headquarters in Khartoum. When announcing the removal of Bashir, the First Vice President and Minister of Defence Awad Ibn Auf declared the suspension of the Constitution, the dissolution of the National Assembly, the formation of a military-led transitional government which will rule for two years, and the arrest of President Omar al Bashir, as well as the imposition of a state of emergency for three months. Since then the military Awad IbnAuf himself resigned and Lt-General Abdel Fattah Burhan assumed the region of power. Despite reconciliatory tone of the new head of the Military Council, protesters continue to demand the establishment of a civilian administration.

These turn of events, particularly the abrogation of transitional government power by the military and the suspension of the Constitution, raised the question of the application of the AU norm on unconstitutional changes of government. Unsurprisingly, the AU Commission Chairperson issued a press
statement on the situation. In the statement the Chairperson expressed ‘the African Union conviction that the military take-over is not the appropriate response to the challenges facing Sudan and the aspirations of its people.’ While appealing to all stakeholders to engage in an inclusive dialogue to create the conditions that will make it possible to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people to democracy, good governance and well-being and restore constitutional order as soon as possible, the Chairperson reiterated the strong condemnation, under the Lome Declaration of 2000 and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (African Democracy
Charter), ‘of any unconstitutional change of Government and commit member states to the respect of the rule of law, democratic principles and human rights.’

Tomorrow’s session was also anticipated in the Chairperson’s statement. It is expected that the PSC will make a determination on whether the transition in Sudan constitutes a military coup
warranting the application of the measures envisaged under the Lome Declaration and the African Democracy Charter. The military takeover of transitional authority under a Military Council, the suspension of the
constitution and the declaration of state of emergency are all the constituent elements of a military coup. As such, it is expected that the PSC will designate the situation in Sudan as an unconstitutional change of government. What is not clear is whether the PSC will proceed to institute the consequences that flow from the occurrence in a member state of an unconstitutional change of government. While the reading of the Lome Declaration and other relevant instruments of the AU including the AU Constitutive Act and the dominant practice of the AU suggests that the application of suspension of the country in which unconstitutional change happened to be automatic, there have been instances in which the PSC opted for holding back the automatic application of the legal consequences. This is done to use the threat of sanction as leverage for pushing democratic change and deploy an incremental application of sanctions.

It may be recalled that in a similar situation in Burkina Faso in 2014 the PSC opted for the suspension of the automatic application of the consequences of the occurrence of a military
seizure of power. After widespread protests against the change of constitutional term limit he was pushing through Parliament for seeking a third term, Burkina Faso’s then President Blaise Compaore fled out of the country at the end of October 2014. On his departure, the army took over the reign of power. The AU through the statement of the Chairperson of the AU commission announced its rejection of unconstitutional changes. At its meeting on 3 November 2014, the PSC informed the army that the seizure by the army of power was contrary to the AU norm on unconstitutional changes. But as opposed to the usual practice of suspending Burkina Faso immediately, the PSC, on the advise of the then Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, used
the threat of suspension as a leverage for quick transfer of power by the military to a transitional civilian authority. Accordingly, the PSC gave Burkina Faso’s army a period of two weeks for handing over power to such civilian authority.

From the perspective of applying the AU norm banning unconstitutional change of government to support peaceful transition in Sudan, this approach used in Burkina Faso could as well be
the option that the PSC could opt for. The result of this could be the rejection and condemnation of the seizure of power by the army as unconstitutional and the provision of a timeline for the army to negotiate with various stakeholders on the streets protesting for handing over power to an inclusive civilian transitional authority.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. In accordance with Lome Declaration of 2000 and the Addis Ababa Democracy Charter, it is expected to condemn the military seizure of power and urge the transfer of power to a civilian transitional administration, failing which the PSC would take the relevant measures including suspension of Sudan from the AU and targeted sanctions as applicable. As in Burkina Faso, the PSC could request the AU High Level Panel to support the Sudanese actors in handing over power to an inclusive civilian authority and elaborate a road map for addressing outstanding issues of the various peace processes in Sudan and for instituting reforms for achieving democratic change.


PSC Session on the Situation in Sudan

Sudan

Date | 30 April, 2019

Tomorrow (30 April) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene a session on the follow up to the 840th meeting on the situation in Sudan. The session will be held in Tunis, Tunisia. It is to be recalled that the communiqué of the 840th session of the PSC requested the ‘Chairperson of the Commission to report to Council by 30th April 2019, on the evolution of the situation and the implementation of the present Communiqué’. It is expected that the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, will present this report. Sudan’s representative and that of IGAD are also expected to make statements.

In its communiqué that rejected the seizure of power by the military as unconstitutional and contrary to established AU norms, the PSC demanded the army to cede authority in favor of such civilian-led authority within 15 days from the date of adoption of the decision. In the language of the communiqué, in the event of the non-transfer of authority to a transitional civilian-led authority at the end of the set time, the provisions of Article 7 (g) of the PSC Protocol involving the suspension of Sudan from the AU would apply. The communiqué stipulated that this application of the measures under Article 7(g) suspension will be automatic.

In his report, Mahamat is expected to update the PSC on what steps he has taken to follow up on the implementation of the communiqué. His report is also expected to update the PSC on the situation in Sudan in general and the state of the transition in particular including most notably the process towards the establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority.

On 16 April Mahamat received a delegation of the Transitional Military Council (TMC). In a statement issued following the meeting, recalling the communiqué adopted by the PSC at its meeting held on 15 April and his own earlier communiqué, he reiterated the AU’s commitment to work with all the Sudanese stakeholders towards a consensual and inclusive transition that meets the aspirations of the people and ensures the stability of the country. Following the meeting, he issued a statement. As a follow up to the PSC communiqué of 15 April, the AUC Chair also undertook a visit to Sudan on 21 April. After the consultations he held with various stakeholders, he issued a statement urging ‘all concerned stakeholders to agree on earnest on a civilian-led and consensual transition’. In the statement, he also expressed his hope ‘to a successful outcome of their ongoing consultations, as he prepares his report to the Peace and Security Council on the evolution of the situation in Sudan, to be submitted by the end of this month, as per the Council’s communiqué of 15 April 2019.’

It is expected that Mahamat’s report would inform the PSC on the views and expectations of the various stakeholders with whom he held consultations during his visit. With respect to the process for the establishment of the civilian-led transitional authority required by the AU norm banning unconstitutional changes of government as provided for in Article 30 of the Constitutive Act and Article 7 of the PSC Protocol, Mahamat is also expected to update the PSC on the state of the negotiations for transferring authority from the army to a civilian-led authority. PSC member states would also be interested to hear Mahamat’s assessment of the challenges and the prospects for the establishment of a civilian-led authority.

Also to feature in Mahamat’s report to the PSC is the consultative summit on the situation in Sudan that was held in Cairo, Egypt. On 23 April, the AU Assembly Chairperson, President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, convened a consultative summit of the regional partners of Sudan, which brought together the neighbors of Sudan and the members of the AU Troika, namely Rwanda (outgoing Chair of the AU) and South Africa (the designated chair of the AU for 2020). The consultative meeting having no decision-making power, it did not take a decision, it however made a key recommendation pertaining to the 15 April decision of the PSC. Following the briefing from the representative of the Sudan and AUC Chair following his visit of 21 April, the Consultative meeting recommended that the PSC extends the timeline provided for the Sudanese authorities by three month.

While negotiations between the coalition of protesters and opposition forces, under the umbrella of the Freedom and Change Forces, and the TMC have been underway with intermittent suspension by the Freedom and Change Forces, it has been reported that the negotiations held on 27 April culminated in agreement for joint establishment of a transitional authority. However, major differences have emerged over the composition and form of the transitional authority and the duration of the transitional period. In terms of the composition of the transitional authority to be established consensually, the Freedom and Change Forces demand an authority whose majority members would be composed of civilians while the military sought to have dominant role with limited civilian participation.

In the light of the clear terms of the AU norm banning unconstitutional changes of government, it is expected that the PSC would ensure that this norm and its established practice of upholding this norm are unequivocally respected. Also given the declared unconstitutionality of the military’s seizure of
power and AU’s democratic norms demand to limit the role of the army in politics as the PSC made clear in its intervention in the army’s seizure of power in Burkina Faso in November 2014. One of the issues for Mahamat to advice and for the PSC to clarify is how to define the scope of the role of the military and limit its influence on transitional politics in Sudan as part of the process of the restoration of constitutional order.

As to the duration of the transitional period, the military council proposes two years while the Freedom and Change Forces called for a four years transitional period. The negotiating parties have also to agree on the role or scope of authority of the transitional authority being negotiated. Another, perhaps more important aspect of the issue for PSC decision relates to the proposed extension of the 15 days timeline. According to the terms of the PSC communiqué quoted above, if, at the expiry of the 15 days period, the TMC fails to transfer power to a civilian-led transitional authority, the PSC would apply provisions of Article 7(g) of the PSC Protocol particularly the suspension of Sudan from the AU. This would be automatic. Given
the recommendations of the Consultative Summit held in Cairo to extend the timeline for a period of three months, it is expected that Mahamat would propose extension.

In making a determination on the recommendation of the Consultative Summit for extension of the timeline, there are few issues for the PSC to consider. The first is in the light of the progress being made for the formation of a consensual transitional authority whether it is necessary for the PSC to extend the timeline for as long as the three month period that the Consultative Summit proposed. There is a risk that such prolongation may create conditions that militate against civilian-led transition and lead instead to consolidation by the military of its transitional authority. The other issue is the parameters that the PSC may need to set, when extending the timeline, in terms of the form that the civilian-led transitional authority should take to meet ‘the aspirations of the people of Sudan, as well as to the relevant AU instruments’, in the words of its 15 April communiqué. Finally, the PSC may also need to consider the tasking of the AU High level Panel on Sudan, otherwise known as the Mbeki Panel, or a new envoy of the AUC Chair, to ensure that the negotiations between the Sudanese parties produce the expected outcome before the end of the extended period and help them bridge their differences on such other issues as the duration of the transitional period and the scope of authority/mandate of the transitional authority.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué that would outline the period of extension and the conditions to be met for effecting transfer of authority to a civilian-led authority consistent with the applicable norms of the AU.


Emergency session on the Situation in Sudan

Sudan

Date | 6 June, 2019

Tomorrow (6 June) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold an emergency session on the situation in Sudan. As this was not initially planned in the provisional program of work of the PSC for June, the session was agreed on following an informal consultation that the PSC had on Monday morning 3 June 2019.

It is expected that the Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the Commission, who has been tasked to follow the situation in Sudan and brief the PSC, will brief the PSC on the most recent developments. Sierra Leone’s Permanente Representative to the AU, Ambassador Brima Patrick Kapuwa, the PSC Chairperson of the month, will also make an opening remark. As per established PSC practice, the representatives of Sudan, and Ethiopia, as Chair of the regional body the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), are also expected to make statements.

Tomorrow’s session follows the latest developments indicating the deterioration of the situation in Sudan. According to various reports, on 3 June a group from the security forces initiated an operation for dispersing the sit-in camp near the military headquarters that has been the epicentre of the protest movement in the days before and since the removal of the country’s long-time President Omer Hassen al Bashir. The accounts of various reports and media footage show that the security forces used live ammunitions and tear gas. While initial reports put the death toll from the violent crackdown at over 30 people, the most recent
reports indicate that it has reached over 60 people. Hundreds of other people have also reportedly been injured.

There were also reports of hospitals and clinics, where the wounded were receiving emergency treatment, being besieged and attacked. Following this incident, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), coordinating body of the protest movement, announced its suspension of all communication with the TMC and called for sweeping civil disobedience against the military council. The Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC), which represented the protesters and various opposition forces, also called for the end of military rule. The head of the TMC Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan announced plans for holding elections in a period of nine months. He also declared that the agreements reached with the civilian stakeholders have also been scrapped.

There are concerns that these developments affect the negotiations for the formation of a civilian-led transition in at least two ways. First, the events of 3 June and the subsequent
announcement from both sides has brought the negotiation to a halt. Second, these developments have also reversed the progress made in the negotiations. It is to be recalled that the PSC in its communique of the 852nd session noted the progress made including in particular ‘with regard to the agreement reached on duration of the Transition, the Transitional Institutions and the priorities of the transition’. Another issue for the PSC in the light of these difficult set of situations is whether there is a realistic prospect for an agreement to form a
civilian-led transitional authority after the 3 June tragic events and the rescinding of the agreements reached between the TMC and the FDFC. Central to this question is the implication of the language civilian-led transition vis-à-vis the leadership of the sovereign council.

The AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has released a statement on 3 June. In the statement, he expressed his strong condemnation of the violence and called for ‘an immediate and transparent investigation in order to hold those all responsible accountable’. The statement further stated the demand that
the Sudanese stakeholders return to the negotiations urgently in order to arrive at an inclusive accord, which paves the way for a civilian-led Transitional Authority.

On 4 June, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting called by the United
Kingdom and Germany. While the Council members did not agree on an outcome document, many have expressed concern over the violence against protesters. The UK condemning the violent crackdown killing so many protesters called for agreed transfer of power to civilian-led government. Germany on its part, noting that legitimacy cannot come from the barrel of a gun, stressed ‘the urgent need for a return to the negotiation table to bring about an inclusive, civilian-led transitional government.’ It was reported that Russia during the emergency session of the Council insisted that the Council should await the response of the AU.

For members of the PSC, there are at least two issues that the current situation presents. The first of this is whether under the current circumstances the PSC can continue to wait until the end of the two-month period it set at its 846th session before determining the application of the measures envisaged under the Lome Decalration of 2000 after a military seized power. At the heart of this question is if these are not the kind of situations envisaged in the PSC’s affirmation at its 852nd session that ‘it shall, at any time deemed appropriate in view of the prevailing circumstances in the country, take the necessary measures, including imposition of sanctions, in line with article 7(g) of its Protocol’.

The other issue on which PSC members may wish to get Mahamat’s view is what the
prospects are for the parties to return back to the negotiating table to continue from where the negotiations stopped. While Burhan in his Eid celebrations address expressed regret about the civilian casualties and affirmed readiness for negotiations, it remains uncertain if the SPA and FDFC will accept resumption of talks and if the negotiations will be from scratch or continue from where they stopped.

An IGAD meeting at the level of Ambassadors has been called. It is expected that the meeting will deliberate on how to respond to the latest developments and on a plan to dispatch a delegation to Khartoum. While IGAD has clearly been slow to respond, the outcome of this meeting informs the position that the Chair of IGAD will present during tomorrow’s session. From the deliberations of the meeting IGAD aligns its position with that of the AU. It is noteworthy that IGAD does not have similar rules against military takeover of power and the measures envisaged under the Lome Decalration.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. Depending on whether the PSC decides to apply the Lome Declaration, there are major implications in terms of AU’s zero tolerance position vis à-vis military takeover of power. Even if the PSC decides to apply the measures envisaged in the Lome Declaration by imposing suspension, it would still require, as envisaged in the Declaration, to institute a process to facilitate negotiations towards transfer of power to a civilian-led authority paving the way for restoration of constitutional order in Sudan. Thus, apart from reiterating the statement of the AUC Chairperson of the Commission condemning the violence against unarmed protesters and demanding independent investigation, the PSC may, in terms of resumption of negotiations, additionally consider to affirm the continued validity of the agreements reached thus far and request the AUC Chair to designate a highrepresentative that will, working with the UN Special Envoy, facilitate the resumption of negotiations for the establishment of a civilianled transitional authority.


Consideration of the renewal of UNAMID mandate

Sudan

Date | 13 June, 2019

Tomorrow (13 June) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a session to consider the renewal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
mandate. Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo the Joint Special Representative and Head of the UNAMID is expected to brief the Council. The session anticipates the participation of the representatives of the African members of the UNSC (A3). On account of its suspension, Sudan will not have its representative making a statement.

The drawdown of the uniformed personnel, in line with the timetable to reduce the military component from 5,470 to 4,050 personnel and the deployment of a maximum 2500 police force, by 30 June 2019 has been underway as indicated in the latest Secretary General report. However the political turmoil in Sudan has started renewed violence in Central Darfur. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have occupied most of the sites that have been evacuated by the UNAMID troops. The closed UNAMID bases were supposed to be handed over to
the government to use for civilian purposes. In May Sudan’s current governing body – the Transitional Military Council (TMC) – has released a decree demanding that the remaining UNAMID bases be handed over directly to the RSF.

Since the decree, the UN has halted plans to evacuate additional personnel given that the basic agreement of using sites for civilian purposes has not been respected by the current Sudanese authority. The seizure of the sites by the RSF has a great risk of exposing civilians currently protected by UNAMID in Jebel Marra area. This is the same force that has been implicated in the killings committed since 3 June in Khartoum.

As per the planned gradual drawdown, the PSC and UNSC were expected to deliberate on the eventual closure of the peacekeeping troop by June 2020 and its liquidation to be completed by 2020. This process however depends on the security situation on the ground. It is to be recalled that the PSC during its 778 session in June 2018 when renewing the mandate of UNAMID, it has qualified the basis in which the drawdown should take place. The communiqué clearly underlined that the Council should consider key factors mainly ‘[e]nsuring a
gradual drawdown that would allow the Mission’s exit to be guided by the political and security situation on the ground so as not to create a security vacuum and expose civilian populations’.

The volatile political and security situation in Darfur and broadly in Sudan has dramatically changed in the past few weeks, which has posed a number of challenges for the continuation of the current plan for the drawdown of the peacekeeping mission. The Jebel Marra area was already susceptible to violence where the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) faction has increased over the past few months.

The protests and the ensuing instability have also disrupted the Darfur peace process, as armed groups namely the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Gibril Ibrahim faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM/Gibril) withdrew their December 2018 agreement to resume talks with the Government. The protest that has started due to the rising cost of fuel and other commodities has expanded to also include demands for sweeping political reforms. The economic crisis, the rising prices of food and medicines have also particularly affected vulnerable communities in Darfur.

The Joint Special Representative when briefing the UNSC in April 2019 stated that the political situation in Sudan has changed significantly and has the potential to affect the implementation of its mandate going forward. However Sudan’s representative emphasized the domestic nature of events unfolding in the country since December, hence there is no justification for the Council to discuss the matter. During the briefing the US highlighted the need for upcoming strategic review of UNAMID to take into account the impact of recent events on Darfur, including the Government’s ability to protect and provide for the region’s people. Moreover, the representative stated that in a situation where the Government is unable to provide protection, the US is in favour of the Council considering all options.

After this last briefing to the UNSC, the political and security situation has deteriorated. The excessive use of force that was used to disband the sit-in camps near the headquarters of the army. Following these developments Sudan has also been suspended from the AU. Following the diplomatic efforts of
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 7 June, the TMC arrested leading opposition leaders after
their meeting with Ahmed. In June the UNSC will also hold a session on the UNAMID mandate renewal. This PSC session is expected to be informed by its previous decisions on Sudan given that the on going instability will continue to have direct impact on the situation in Darfur and the troop drawdown. Hence, the session will be key to set the tone ahead of the UNSC session in late June on the question of the kind of adjustment, if any, that needs to be made in the implementation of the drawdown.

The outcome of the session will be a communiqué. This will present the PSC to reconsider the ongoing implementation of drawdown and reconfiguration of UNAMID in light of the recent developments. The PSC is expected to renew the mandate of UNAMID for another twelve month. Another issue for PSC decision is the adjustment of the process of withdrawal until the situation not only in Darfur but also in the country improves. In this respect, the PSC may, among others, consider slowing down of the drawdown while tasking a joint AU and UN review of the situation in Sudan and its implications on UNAMID. The PSC may also pronounce itself on the issue of the handing over of UNAMID facilities to the RSF, which will be contrary to the plan for using the facilities for civilian purposes.