Members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday called on Sudan's government, opposition parties and armed groups in Darfur to continue the efforts towards a political solution of problems there.
According to the latest UN report on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, known as UNAMID, the security situation in Darfur in western Sudan has been relatively stable, except for intermittent clashes between government forces and the rebel Abdul Wahid-led faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/AW) in Jebel Marra.
"Darfur today has never been more stable since the establishment of UNAMID, and the first hybrid mission has begun preparations for its eventual exit," said the report.
However, the Jebel Marra region in Darfur remains a conflict zone without the cessation of hostilities, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bintou Keita, told the Security Council.
Keita, back from a trip to Sudan from Feb. 9 to 12, said that although civilians are no longer displaced by the clashes there, they are exposed to robbery, abduction, and violence.
Given the situation, several members of the Security Council said that the political process in Darfur should continue.
In addition, after the expected exit of UNAMID, more tensions and new risk factors could emerge.
Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said that the Sudanese government has been committed to a political settlement of the Darfur issue, and the opposition parties and armed groups there should abandon military means, take an active part in the peace process and solve problems through political means such as dialogue and consultation.
The permanent representative of South Africa Jerry Matjila said that more efforts are required in the Jebel Marra region, and it is imperative that all parties continue carrying out outstanding provisions of the peace deal in Darfur, and stay committed to negotiations.
Keita also noticed a need in Darfur to strengthen the security measures to prevent and curb inter-communal tensions over access to land, migration routes, and other sources of livelihood.
Darfur has been plagued by conflicts between the government forces and the armed rebels since 2003. UNAMID, the second biggest of the UN peacekeeping missions, was first deployed in Darfur in early 2008, and its full withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.