“Everything in the attached example is wrong.” That statement came in the account of the United Nations Integrated Mission to Support the Transition in Sudan “UNITAMS” on Facebook, in its response to an article published on Thursday by the editor-in-chief of the Armed Forces newspaper, Colonel Ibrahim Al-Huri.

The writer accused the mission of deviating from the framework of its specialization and the tasks for which it came, and of bias towards certain parties, and of providing false information.

He demanded that it reset its work within the stipulated framework only.

The article came one day after a press conference for the President of the Sovereignty Council and the Commander of the Army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, during a visit to Cairo, in which he indicated that the mission has specific tasks, and none of them are currently practicing.

The mission said - in its response to the article - that Sudan is part of the United Nations that extends a helping hand to its members and this is not called interference, and that the mission works in accordance with its mandate stipulated in Security Council resolutions, stressing that the United Nations is not impartial regarding the obligation to protect human rights, freedoms and democracy .

What's new that raised the ire of the military against Peretz?

On Monday (March 28), the head of the UN mission in Sudan, Volker Peretz, briefed the UN Security Council on Sudan's situation, including:

  • The country has been without a functioning government since the military seized power on October 25, and protests and violent repression continue.

    In the absence of a political agreement to return to an acceptable transitional path, the economic, humanitarian, and security situation is deteriorating, and time is not on Sudan's side.

  • The protests in Khartoum and elsewhere are still mainly political (i.e. anti-military) and are gradually acquiring an additional socio-economic character, with more and more blatant slogans denouncing the rise in bread prices and deteriorating living conditions.

  • There were disturbing reports of increased tensions between the various security forces.

    Some interlocutors express their concern that if a political solution is not reached, Sudan may descend into conflict and divisions, as happened in Libya and Yemen.

Is it the first protest?

The observation made by Al-Burhan this week was not about the work of the first UN mission, but rather appeared strongly after Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok submitted his resignation on the second of last January, and the head of the mission initiated a political process to overcome the crisis that followed the army commander’s seizure of power in what he called "Corrective Actions of the Revolution".

The Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council, Commander of Rapid Support, Lieutenant-General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, "Hemedti", criticized the movements of the UN mission in a statement issued at the end of last January.

"The head of the mission should be a facilitator, not a mediator between the parties," he said.

He added that the Sovereignty Council does not hostile or boycott the international community, but "refuses to interfere in the country's internal affairs."

Two weeks after Hemedti's statement, Al-Burhan attacked - in a television interview - the UN envoy, and said that Peretz was ignoring the preparations for the elections and was subject to the influence of some groups.

At a time when the security forces are confronting protests organized by the resistance committees and forces "opposing military rule" by force to disperse them, they have turned a blind eye to a demonstration organized by loyalist parties, in which hundreds participated in protesting the presence of the UN mission in Sudan.

The demonstrators demanded the departure of the mission and its head and non-interference in the affairs of the country.

The UN mission was established after Hamdok’s speech to the United Nations to support peace in Sudan (Anatolia)

How was the UN mission established?

In January 2020, the Prime Minister of the transitional government sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General requesting that he seek a mandate from the UN Security Council to establish an operation to support Sudan's peace under Chapter VI.

Hamdok's letter specified the nature of the mission to be "a special policy that includes a strong peacebuilding component, and the mandate of the prospective mission should include the entire territory of Sudan."

On June 4, 2020, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that was proposed by Britain and Germany. Under “Resolution 2524,” the Council established a new mission to assist in the transitional period in Sudan, and its mission began on January 1, 2021, for a period of 12 months. as an initial stage.

This step met with internal objections at the time, but international pressures contributed to the implementation of the decision and the appointment of Peretz as head of the mission.

What are the missions and objectives of the mission?

According to UN Security Council Resolution 2425, the mission aims to:

Helping the country transition to a democratic government.

Support and promote human rights and sustainable peace.

Supporting peace operations and implementing their agreements in the future.

Help build peace, protect civilians, and the rule of law, particularly in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile.

In addition, the Council mandated UNITAMS to support the mobilization of economic and development assistance and the coordination of humanitarian assistance operations.

Is the mission committed to its mandate after October 25?

The measures taken by Al-Burhan, according to which Hamdok was dismissed and the government dissolved, confused the calculations of the UN mission after it blocked the transitional process that came under it.

The international envoy sought to remedy the situation and invoke international pressure to put the transitional process back on track.

The pressures succeeded in returning Hamdok to the prime minister’s chair, but the popular protests and political incompatibility, in addition to the military’s violations of the political agreement between him and Al-Burhan, prompted him to submit his resignation live on the second of last January.

The mission stuck to its tasks despite describing what happened as a "coup" and announced an initiative for a political process aimed at bringing the parties to a dialogue table, a move that provoked mixed reactions despite the approval of many parties.

The mission said that it had completed the first stage by seeking all opinions about the future course of the political process.

The head of the mission's recent briefing to the Security Council stated that the priorities for the next phase of the political process would be:

  • Interim constitutional arrangements covering the executive, legislative, and judicial organs of the transitional processes as well as their structure and functions.

  • Criteria and mechanism for appointing a president and a cabinet.

  • A roadmap for the transitional period and a government program focusing on an achievable set of priority areas, including the type, timing and appropriate conditions of elections at the end of the transitional period.