Sudan aspires for the departure of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from the Darfur’s western region to confirm to the world that the country’s security has improved, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, said yesterday.
Al-Bashir’s remarks came at a ceremony held at the presidential palace during which he received the credentials of a number of foreign ambassadors who are based outside Sudan. They include: Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Myanmar, Malawi, Finland, Thailand and Ghana.
“Darfur is currently witnessing security stability. The country has recovered completely as it has undergone major political, security changes,” the official Sudanese news agency SUNA quoted Al-Bashir as saying.
UNAMID, the second largest UN peacekeeping mission, have been deployed in Darfur since early 2008 with more than 20,000 troops and security personnel of various nationalities. According to official data, the mission’s annual budget amounts to $1.4 billion.
Since 2003, Darfur has been witnessing a bloody conflict between three armed rebel groups and the Sudanese government, leaving over 300,000 civilians dead and some 2.5 million displaced, according to UN official data.
“The region has been experiencing tensions and has suffered great losses,” Al-Bashir noted.
Sudan has been fighting illegal immigration carried out by rebel gangs on its eastern border with Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as the north-western border with Libya.
“The country [Sudan] is exerting efforts to fight illegal immigration, which was doubled recently,” the Sudanese leader stressed.
Sudan is considered a transit point where illegal immigrants head to other countries such as Israel through Egypt’s Sinai desert and the European coast from Libya.