KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The midweek request by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok from the United Nations Security Council to endorse the establishment of a special political Mission/peace support operation under the UN Sixth Chapter did not pass without comment from its proponents or opponents.
According to the letter addressed by PM Hamdok, Sudan is asking the UN to assist in the peace process and is seeking UN backing to mobilize international financial assistance for the transitional period.
“The Sudanese government requests the United Nations to seek a Security Council mandate to establish, as soon as possible, a Chapter VI peace support operation in the form of a special political mission with a strong peace-building component,” Mr. Hamdok wrote in a letter excerpts of which were published by some media outlets here.
Chapter V1 of the United Nations stipulates that the international assistance aims to support the maintenance, monitoring, and building of peace, but not the use of force to prevent a violent conflict as it is the case with Chapter V11.
Hamdok’s letter suggests that the mission “should cover the entire territory of Sudan and its approach needs to be innovative, agile, coordinated and light.”
Hamdok’s request for the required UN mission to cover all Sudan is understood by observers here to help with know- how for peace building and to streamline economic support to help the country out of economic hardship.
PM Hamdok’s letter also says that the “capacities for good offices and mediation support to assist in the ongoing Juba peace negotiations and to help Sudan mobilize international economic assistance, including by supporting the upcoming donor conference in Sweden” are necessary.
The US is grouping a number of economically powerful countries and international donors to pool in financial support to help the country’s economy.
“The Friends of Sudan “ group has already held a number of meetings on the matter, including one in Khartoum here, to mull possible financial aid to Sudan.
The group is expected to hold a meeting in Sweden next April to decide the required aid.
According to the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Mr. Alnatheer Alwarrag, Hamdok “is asking for support in the implementation of the Constitutional Declaration, implementation of peace accords in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile), mobilization of international economic assistance for Sudan, coordination of humanitarian assistance, and support to the constitutional making, legal and judicial reform, civil service reform and security sector reform.”
In his letter Hamdok describes the state of the Sudanese economy as a “downward spiral” as a result of “mismanagement and corruption by the deposed Albashir regime.”
“The Sudanese people are confronted with soaring prices of basic items, a rising exchange rate and a series of crises triggered by the scarcity of basic commodities,” he said.
Though the required UN intervention has nothing to do with the deployment of peacekeepers, some Government critics have hastened to describe Hamdok’s move as treason and “putting the country under international trusteeship.”
For one, the Popular Congress Party (PCP) of the Late Islamist leader Hassan Alturabi is keen to describe the proposed UN interventions as “putting the country under international trusteeship.”
PCP operatives on Sunday sought a meeting with leaders of the National Umma Party of Former Prime Minister Sadiq Almahdi on the matter and “on the progress of the transitional period.”
Nothing has so far materialized from the meeting other than that the two sides had agreed to continue discussion. Observers understand this as a polite reply from the Umma party to the PCP’s derive to escalate the matter.
The PCP is always uneasy with the transitional government, at one point declaring that it would work to “topple it.”
The PCP is a splinter group from the now dissolved National Congress Party of deposed President Omar Albashir.
Two PCP leading figures, its General Secretary Ali Alhaj and chairman of the party’s advisory council Ibrahim Alsanoasi, are now under arrest, being investigated for their role in the 1989 military coup that brought Bashir to power.
Both men had previously openly boasted that they had masterminded the Coup and “appointed” Bashir as head of state.
In late 1999, Turabi fell out with Bashir and formed the PCP.
Both PCP and NCP have been excluded from the transitional process for their role in the 1989 coup.
Meanwhile, Barrister, Dr. Ahmed Almufti, has welcomed PM Hamdok’s move as “a good step and beneficial to the country.”
“Anyone who opposes this move is sure to have confused the requirements and mandates of the 7th Chapter with those of the Sixth Chapter of the UN,” Dr. Mufti told the Website Alrakoba.
“Such criticisms are mere speculations that have nothing to with the truth of the matter,” he said.
“Placing a country under the 7th UN Chapter is UN Security Council- imposed and entails military intervention. But Chapter Six is not Security Council- imposed. It can be called for by the concerned country as did PM Hamdok” said Dr. Mufti.
Dr. Mufti, a long-time ally of the regime of former President Omar Albashir, at one point the government’s human rights commission chief, further said that: “The Sixth Chapter is related to peaceful solutions through six peaceful means that include compromising and mediation and is concerned with ways through which the Security Council and the UN General could support a certain country’s peace process,” he added.
“PM Hamdok’s request is a very good thing and was made in a novel manner when he called for a political mission to support Sudan in all domains (in particular in peace negotiations) and the economy, the rehabilitation of refugees, sustainable development, disarmament and the DDR” he said .
Dr. Mufti has noticed that Hamdok’s letter was on 27 January, and immediately after it, the UN General Secretary Mr. António Guterres, spoke before the AU Summit Conference in Addis Ababa calling for Sudan to be removed off the US list of sponsors of terrorism.
For her part Columnist Leena Yagoub, though critical of the move as compromising the country’s sovereignty, said Hamdok had acted in good faith to take the country out of its quagmire.
“The man has found himself and his country in a deep ravine and looked right and left for a way out and in this search he found an opening through which he can pull his country out,” she wrote.
Ms Leena has likened Hamdok’s move to an early move by General Burhan, chairman of the Sovereign Council, when he met and broke the ice with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Entebbe, Uganda.
In a light-hearted article, Columnist Ramzi Almasri of the Tahreer electronic magazine remembered when he was a primary school pupil in his home village of Abri when they used to get bath soup, detol, cheese and tuna which they were told was coming from USAID and the United Nations.
He said they also used to be taken annually to a camp where they were diagnosed and treated for trachoma and other diseases.
“At that time we knew nothing about the USAID or the UN. All we knew was that we were receiving quality food and quality medical care,” he said, further joking that “we did not know whether that food and medicine were under Chapter six or Chapter one million!”
“All of those who cry for what they call the country’s sovereignty dissipated by Premier Hamdok forget, or try to forget, that the UN and its peacekeepers are present in Sudan under Chapter Seven since 2007 in Darfur, Abyei and the Nuba Mountains.”
“Many of such forces, who forcefully entered the country in great numbers, are still present in Sudan and none of you had objected,” he said referring to critics of Hamdok’s move, adding: “Or you were afraid of your benefactors at that time?”
He said it should be remembered that such sovereign states like Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast are working with the UN under the organization’s Sixth Chapter.
“Let us suppose that a peace deal is signed with the rebels in Darfur and the two areas today, how can we repatriate 4 million displaced citizens and feed, accommodate and medicate them or educate their children, in a country that cannot feed the citizens of Khartoum?”, he argued.
“How can we tackle the situation of thousands of rebel troops? I want a reply from these bigots who now cry for what they call an undermining of the country’s sovereignty,” said Almasry.
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