UNSC members back AU decision on Sudan

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African members of the United Nations Security Council have called on their counterparts and the international community more broadly to rally behind regional efforts to create conditions for a peaceful transition in Sudan.

The three African members, joined by the AU Observer to the UN, also called on their international partners not to pursue actions that could undermine the efforts of the African Union and IGAD. Security Council members have broadly backed the African Union’s Peace and Security Council decision to suspend Sudan’s membership of the organisation until a civilian-led transitional authority is in place.

The AU move also follows reports ofmore than 100 dead after a military crackdown on protestors earlier this week  that has drawn widespread condemnation and concern from the South African Government. Pretoria’s envoy Jerry Matjila spoke alongside Ambassadors from Equatorial Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire and the Africa Union Mission to the United Nations.

“We strongly condemn and lament the tragic and unjustified loss of life and remind the transitional authorities in Sudan of its obligation to protect civilians and respect their fundamental rights. We insist on the need for an investigation that will clarify the regrettable events that took place on the 3rd of June in Sudan with the view of bringing those responsible for the killing of innocent Sudanese to justice.”

The A3 – as the African group in Council is known – also urged the Transitional Military Council to return to internal dialogue just as further mediation efforts were launched by Ethiopia.

“We would like to underline the primacy of African-led initiatives in the search for a lasting solution to the crisis in Sudan and invite our Council partners as well as all partners to support AU and IGAD efforts and refrain from any action that could undermine African-led initiatives. There should be no external interference by whomsoever in the process of resolving the current crisis.”

China and Russia have been reluctant to support a firmer response from the Security Council signaling this was an internal matter and not a threat to international peace and security. The United Kingdom is the pen-holder on Sudan.

Ambassador Jonathan Allen, “One set of choices increases stability, brings back a legitimate civilian-led government and ultimately leads to support and resources for the economic rebuilding effort that they need. The other set of choices I think goes down a very dangerous path so I very much urge both the authorities in Sudan to get back together with the civilian protestors to try and find a way through and I very much urge my colleagues on the SC to back the regional authority, the AU in the steps they’re trying to take to bring about a successful resolution to this.”

The Secretary General’s special advisor on Sudan, Nicholas Fink Haysom is said to be liaising closely with regional players on mediation efforts moving forward.

UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq, “The UN system and the special advisor of the Secretary General Nicholas Fink Haysom are in daily communications to coordinate our work internally and engage in discreet dialogue with key stakeholders including on both sides of the conflict. We’re in close contact with our partners in the African Union. We’re fully committed to supporting the initiative of the AU chairperson to reinvigorate inclusive dialogue over a transfer of power to a civilian –led transitional authority. The UN stands ready to support the Sudanese stakeholders in their efforts to build lasting peace.”

The African group says they will continue talks within the Security Council on how best to support regional efforts while reiterating the AUPSC position that should the military fail to hand over to a civilian-led authority, that further punitive measures would be immediately imposed.