Sudan goes to UN for a new peace mission

Saturday May 23 2020

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (centre) is greeted by supporters upon arriving in El-Fasher, the capital of the North Darfur state, on November 04, 2019. PHOTO | ASHRAF SHAZLY | AFP


Sudan will on May 31 know whether the United Nations Security Council has accepted to deploy a new peace mission that had been requested by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

A letter sent secretly to the United Nations Security Council in January, but whose contents emerged late February, has elicited mixed reactions.

Those opposed to the request accuse Dr Hamdok of seeking to mortgage the country to foreign powers and “re-introducing colonialism”.

Dr Hamdok asked for a mission that would support the implementation of the Constitutional Declaration; implement peace accords in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, mobilise international economic assistance for Sudan; and support drafting a new constitution.

The mission would have a military force with 2,500 international police and a rapid reaction battalion of 500 to 800 soldiers to protect the mission’s personnel.

The request comes as the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur ends in October, which could leave Sudan exposed to counter-revolutionary forces, given that there is still war in Darfur, the Blue Nile and Southern Cordofan regions.


However, experts on Sudan say that the request is a realisation that counter-revolutionary forces are rising, threatening the current governance arrangement between the military junta and civilians.

Jonas Horner, the International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa deputy project director and senior analyst for Sudan, told The EastAfrican that Sudan is going through a historical transition after 30 years of rule by former president Omar al-Bashir and requires international support.

He said the transitional government is experiencing rivalry between the head of Sudan’s ruling council Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudan Armed Forces, and Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo better known as Hemedti of the Rapid Support Forces.

Prof Ahmed Sabah Al-khair, the head of the Department of African and Asian Studies at Omdurman Islamic University, said that an integrated peace building mission is a political mission to build capacity and support the democratic transition, including the drafting of a new constitution.

But the secrecy with which the request was sent in January has raised suspicion, with Dr Hamdok’s critics saying that he was protecting his government.

A former member of Bashir’s dissolved ruling National Congress Party, Sana Hamad, claimed Dr Hamdok was trying to surrender the country to Western powers when there is no real war in the country.

In February, Gen al-Burhan’s secretly met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda, revealing the division between the two partners in the transition.

Foreign Minister Asmaa Abdullah said she learned of the meeting through the media. Sudan is yet to renew its relations with Israel which it severed in 1967.