The UN Security Council voted to end the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, known as UNITAMS, following a request by the Sudanese Government for its immediate termination. The vote on December 1 was 14-0, with Russia abstaining.
The United States voted in favor of the resolution “in order to enable a safe and orderly drawdown of the mission,” said Robert Wood, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs:
“We are gravely concerned that a reduced international presence in Sudan will only serve to embolden the perpetrators of atrocities, with dire consequence for civilians. If anything, the work of UNITAMS is all the more critical considering the ongoing open conflict ... calamitous humanitarian situation for tens of millions of Sudanese, and a growing risk of spill over that threatens regional stability security and stability.”
Since April 2023, renewed conflict has broken out between the Sudanese Armed forces, the SAF, and the paramilitary group, known as the Rapid Support Forces, the RSF. The Darfur region has borne the brunt of horrific violence, including killings based on ethnicity, targeted attacks on human rights defenders, gender-based violence, and the looting and burning of entire communities by the RSF and its allied militias in West Darfur, said Ambassador Wood:
“The atrocities occurring in West Darfur and other areas are an ominous reminder of the horrific events that led the United States to determine in 2004 that genocide had been committed in Darfur.”
During the debate concerning UNITAMS, the United States put forward “common sense” recommendations to extend the UNITAMS mandate and allow a strategic review of the mission that would “refine and strengthen its continued role,” said Ambassador Wood. “However, other members of the Council did not agree, placing the narrow demands of Sudan’s military government ahead of the Sudanese people.”
In addition, Ambassador Wood warned about the sales or supplies of arms from other nations to forces operating in Sudan.
“This tragedy has gone on too long. We must unite to prevent external military support for either the SAF or RSF and stop the flow of weapons into and throughout Darfur,” he said.
“The Sudanese people expect and deserve more from this [Security] Council. The situation for Sudan and its people is dire.”