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UN ends force tracking 2005 Sudan peace deal

UN ends force tracking 2005 Sudan peace deal

The Security Council voted unanimously Monday to withdraw the U.N. peacekeeping force monitoring implementation of a 2005 peace agreement that ended civil war between Sudan's Arab dominated north and mainly ethnic African south after the Khartoum government rejected appeals to extend it.
The mandate for the 10,400-strong force ended July 9 _ the day South Sudan became independent. The U.N. has approved a new peacekeeping force for South Sudan, but Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir made clear his government did not want U.N. troops on the northern side of the border.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the five permanent council members _ the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France _ had appealed for an extension of the mandate to deal with key unresolved issues from the 2005 agreement.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice expressed "deep regret" at the need to wrap up the mission, known as UNMIS, a view echoed by the ambassadors from Britain, France and Germany.
"We call on the government of Sudan yet again to reconsider its demand that UNMIS cease its activities in the Republic of Sudan," she said. "The mission has a critical role to play in regional stability," especially in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states which are on the northern side of the border.
Fighting erupted last month between northern troops and southern-aligned forces native to South Kordofan who hail from a black African ethnic group, the Nuba, that opposes Sudan's rule.
The northern and southern governments signed an agreement in Addis Ababa on June 28 calling for the disarmament of southern-aligned forces in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but three days later al-Bashir said his army would continue its campaign in South Kordofan.
The resolution adopted Monday by the council requests the secretary-general to consult with both sides, the African Union and others and present options to the Security Council for U.N. support to new security arrangements in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile in line with the June 28 agreement.
The council expressed "its readines to continue current U.N. operations in these states, with the consent of the parties, until those new security arrangements have been implemented."
Rice said "the United States is sending a clear message along with other council members that it wants the United Nations to remain in the two areas, especially at this critical juncture."
"It is in their interest to do so," she said. "We hope others in the international community will continue to encourage Khartoum to accept this."
The resolution authorizes the U.N. to withdraw starting Monday and calls for the pullout to be completed by Aug. 31.
It requests the Sudanese government to guarantee "unimpeded access" by the U.N. to its premises during the withdrawal process.
The resolution calls on the secretary-general to transfer "appropriate staff, equipment, supplies and other assets" from UNMIS to the new U.N. peacekeeping force for South Sudan and to the Ethiopian peacekeeping force that will be deployed in the contested border region of Abyei.
On Friday, the Security Council authorized a force for South Sudan of up to 7,000 military personnel and 900 international police, plus an unspecified number of U.N. civilian staff including human rights experts, to help maintain peace and security in the world's newest nation.
Leaders from the north and south signed an agreement on June 20 to demilitarize oil-rich Abyei, scene of recent fighting, and the Security Council has authorized the deployment of 4,200 Ethiopian troops to monitor the pullout of forces for six months.