Operations in the Sudan and South Sudan to continue
Bundeswehr soldiers should continue to take part in United Nations peace missions in South Sudan and the Sudanese region of Darfur. Following the Cabinet decision on 17 October, the German Bundestag also gave its approval on 8 November for an extension of the mandate until 31 December 2013.
The specific mandates are for UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) and UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur).
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan
UNMISS Peacekeepers in Jonglei
© UN Photo
After more than a year of independence, South Sudan is facing great challenges: the country’s economy is in a severe crisis. Humanitarian emergencies and a fragile security situation are the most salient characteristics of various regions of the country. South Sudan lacks both sufficient state administrative capacity and adequate infrastructure for its economy and society. Addressing the Bundestag at the first reading on 25 October, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that not only the two countries, but also the international community, had “years of hard work” ahead of them. He added that UNMISS played an important role, saying that its core task continued to be supporting the government in guaranteeing peace, state-building and creating the conditions for economic development.
The German Government intends to maintain its contribution of up to 50 soldiers to UNMISS. Most recently, 16 German soldiers and 6 police officers were deployed in the mission. Germany is also committed to supporting South Sudan politically and with humanitarian aid projects.
UNMISS was initiated by the United Nations Security Council on 8 July 2011 in Resolution 1996 (2011) and was extended by Resolution 2057 (2012) of 5 July 2012. Its core task is to support the government in peace building, thereby promoting sustainable state structures and economic development. UNMISS also helps ensure security, implement the rule of law, and strengthen the security and justice sectors.
The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
Internally displaced persons helped by a UNAMID camp
© UN Photo
In the Sudanese region of Darfur, battles continue to flare up between various rebel groups and between rebel groups and the Sudanese Government. The security situation in Darfur thus remains tense; the humanitarian situation is still precarious. A lasting political solution for the Darfur conflict has yet to be found. A peace proposal negotiated last year in Qatar’s capital, Doha, has still not been recognized by all rebel groups. Foreign Minister Westerwelle told the Bundestag that the conflict in Darfur was one of the “worst catastrophes of the previous century”. Even if the conflict was no longer the focus of public interest, he added, the situation there must be dealt with in a “serious” and “long-term” manner.
He went on to say that UNAMID, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, has been and will remain indispensable as a stabilizing element to improve the security situation in Darfur and support political efforts to end the crisis there. Westerwelle said that the mission had at least been successful in restricting the conflict: “Violence has subsided. Refugees are returning and the people of Darfur have a voice, in, for example, the regional administration.” He said that we must continue to build upon this initial success.
The Bundeswehr is to participate in UNAMID with up to 50 soldiers, as has been the case until now. The German Government sees this as an important signal, especially to the United Nations and the African Union that Germany continues to support the international community’s efforts in Darfur.
UNAMID was initiated by the United Nations Security Council on 31 July 2007 in Resolution 1769 (2007). Ten German soldiers are currently deployed at UNAMID’s headquarters, where they provide direct support for the implementation of the mission’s mandate. Germany has also sent four police officers to UNAMID.
In addition to military and police staff, the German Government is also supporting UNAMID’s work through targeted projects such as humanitarian aid projects for Darfur refugees in Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia. More than five million euros are put towards these projects every year. Germany also supports projects to aid civil society, the development of the rule of law, and local police training.
Last updated 26.10.2012