Northern Sudan tells UN peacekeepers their time is up

Khartoum says that the mission of the UN peacekeepers in Sudan will be finished when South Sudan becomes independent on July 9.

By , Guest blogger

  • close
    Soldiers from Zambia serving with the international peacekeeping operation patrol on the ground in the region of Abyei, central Sudan, in this handout picture released by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on May 30.
    View Caption

The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was formed in 2005 to assist in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). You can read about UNMIS’s mandate here.

The CPA was the agreement that included plans for the referendum on South Sudanese independence that occurred in January of this year. With the South’s vote for secession, Sudan will become two countries on July 9. Given that, the government of North Sudan now wants UNMIS peacekeepers to leave the country by that day – the date when UNMIS’s mandate formally expires.

The UN and the government in Khartoum disagree about who has the power to decide when UNMIS must leave. The UN says it is a decision for the UN Security Council, while the Northern Sudanese government says final consent rests with them.

Recommended: Five reasons to care about the Sudan - South Sudan conflict

The future of UNMIS is also a point of contention between the governments of North and South Sudan. The issue arose – but was not settled – at a vice presidents’ meeting yesterday:

the two sides also appear to have irreconcilable positions.

The official SUNA news agency said on Saturday that Khartoum had “officially notified the United Nations of the end of the term of the United Nations Mission in Sudan on July 9.”

[Southern Sudanese Vice President Riek] Machar argued, however, that the UN force was needed even more post-July in Abyei as well as in the northern border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, both of which have strong links to the south.

The border zones that Machar mentions are definitely still hot spots for conflict. The departure of UN troops could have a negative effect on those areas. Still, the legal questions remain – who has the final say over whether UNMIS stays or goes? We will see what the Security Council says.

Alex Thurston is a PhD student studying Islam in Africa at Northwestern University and blogs at Sahel Blog.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Africa bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...