Diplomatic efforts have intensified in New York and other capitals on whether to extend the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITMAS) that expires on Saturday.
Fighting broke out between the Sudanese military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Dagalo, in mid-April. The violence has killed at least 866 civilians, according to a Sudanese doctors group, though the actual toll is likely much higher.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "In my area of responsibility, I reaffirmed to the Council my full confidence in Volker Perthes as Special Representative of the Secretary-General."
"It is up to the Security Council to decide whether the Security Council supports the continuation of the Mission for another period or whether the Security Council decides that it is time to end it," he added.
His remarks came in response to accusations by Burhan last week that Perthes was being "biased" and spreading "disinformation" in the bloody conflict. He demanded that the envoy be replaced. Guterres said he was “shocked” by the request.
Guterres’ latest statements followed a Security Council closed-door session to discuss Sudan that was called for by the UN chief himself, in a rare move.
Asharq Al-Awsat was informed by diplomats who attended the meeting that Guterres tackled the ongoing international and regional effort to resolve the crises, mainly talks in Jeddah that are brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia.
The members gave diverging views on whether a Security Council stance is needed in response to the recent escalation of violence in Sudan.
Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique, supported by China and Russia, have argued that adopting a stance could create complications at a delicate time.
This reflects the position of Sudan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed who said last week his country did not want the Security Council involved in his country.
He added that the Council’s involvement may undermine Arican Union efforts to engage positively with the warring parties.
The Council members negotiated a draft resolution to renew the UNITAMS’ mandate, which is due to expire on Saturday.
The UK (the penholder on the file) sought to include in the draft text language that reflects the recent developments in Sudan. However, several other members have apparently opposed adding new language to the text and have been calling for a strict "technical rollover" of UNITAMS’ mandate.
The term "technical rollover" is commonly used by diplomats to describe issuing a concise resolution extending a peace operation’s mandate without altering its core mandate or tasks.
As a result of these divisions, the UK proposed a draft presidential statement addressing the recent updates in Sudan.