UNITAMS in Sudan’S Shifting Transition - Regionalprogramm Politischer Dialog und regionale Integration im Südlichen Mittelmeer
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The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission to Sudan has a new chief. Volker Perthes was appointed Special Representative for Sudan of the UN Secretary General and head of UNITAMS on 7 January 2021. He will head a mission tasked with providing support to the Sudanese government in its delicate transition, following the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising in 2019 and the signing of a “constitutional declaration” between the generals of Bashir and the opposition.
UNITAMS’ mandate is extensive and covers, among other things, supporting Sudan’s political transition, democratic governance, protection and promotion of human rights, the emergence of sustainable peace, support for the implementation of peace agreements, and support in mobilizing international assistance to Sudan.
Perthes’ appointment comes as the political equilibrium of Sudan is undergoing profound changes. The signing last year of the so-called “Juba peace agreement” between the government and armed groups from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile has reconfigured the institutional and political balance born out of the constitutional declaration. The 3-year long transition has been extended by a year, allowing General Abdelfattah al-Burhan to remain as de-facto head of state until 2022. Armed groups from Sudan’s peripheries are joining the transition’s institutions, chipping in at the power of central elites that have ruled the country since independence. A government reshuffle in early February put an end to the “technocratic” cabinet by bringing major political figures into ministerial positions.
The regional and international map is also changing. Following delays in the removal of Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, the United States is fast moving to normalize relations and has already become the largest supporter of the transition, thanks to a $1 billion bridge financing scheme with the World Bank. In the context of Middle Eastern rivalries, Sudan’s alignment on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates came at the expense of Khartoum’s relationship with Qatar, an ally under Bashir, in the early phases of the transition. But the recent thaw between Saudi Arabia and Qatar enabled Sudan to mend ties with Doha, which paves the way for Qatari support. The Juba agreement, on the other hand, has brought back to Sudan some of the Darfuri fighters who had been fighting as mercenaries in Libya, and reportedly led to recruitment drives among signatories in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, raising questions about the agreement’s impact on stability and security in Sudan’s peripheries.
In this panel, we will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing UNITAMS in light of Sudan’s fragile stability and of current shifts in domestic and international political alignments. The panel will put in conversation specific aspects of UNITAMS’ mandate with some these recent shifts:
- A discussion of how UNITAMS will shape its peacebuilding operations will offer an opportunity to discuss recent insecurity in Darfur, recruitment drives by armed groups, and the return of fighters from Libya.
- Evoking UNITAMS’ role in coordinating international assistance to the transition will serve as a springboard for an analysis of recent regional and international shifts – such as American and Qatari support to the transition.
- UNITAMS’ plans regarding its support for Sudan’s transition will allow exchanges about the new balance of power in Khartoum in light of the Juba agreement.
Hier finden Sie das Programm zum Download: Program_UNITAMS in Sudan’s Shifting Transition.pdf