9337th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Extends Mandate of Assistance Mission in Sudan, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2685 (2023)

The Security Council today decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) until 3 December 2023.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2685 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2685(2023)), the 15-member organ also requested the Secretary-General to continue reporting on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate every 90 days and decided to remain actively seized of the matter.

The Council members sent a unified endorsement of UNITAMS, noting that the Mission’s presence is more important than ever to coordinate the United Nations response to the complex challenges facing Sudan.

Speaking after the vote, James Kariuki (United Kingdom) paid tribute to the Mission’s efforts and underlined his country’s support for the work of the Special Representative and his team.  Recognizing that the humanitarian situation remains of significant concern, he said the mandate renewal reiterates United Nations support for satisfying the Sudanese people’s demands for peace and democracy.  It will also provide time for the Council to assess the mandate’s impact.

Michel Xavier Biang (Gabon), also speaking for Ghana and Mozambique, said Sudan is at a critical phase in its history, with a heightened risk of civil war.  Moreover, the worsening security situation there poses a risk to other countries in the region. Calling on the parties to declare an immediate ceasefire, he underlined the importance of the de-escalation plan proposed by the African Union as a reference road map to end the conflict in Sudan.  He also highlighted the key role of subregional organizations, namely the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in resolving the crisis. The alarming humanitarian situation facing the civilian population, internally displaced persons and refugees in neighbouring countries requires urgent action, including through mobilization of finances to the country’s 2023 humanitarian response plan. Additionally, he called for unimpeded access for humanitarian personnel, stressing the need to ensure humanitarian assistance to Sudan.

Robert A. Wood (United States) said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution.  He, however, expressed regret that the Council was unable to find consensus on an updated mandate “which is needed now more than ever”.  Recalling that the United States has put forward certain comments and recommendations, he said other Council members did not agree to them. In this context, he expressed hope that the Council can come together in the months ahead and agree on a resolution that would reflect the situation on the ground and empower the Mission to better support the end of the conflict and achieve a democratic political settlement.

Ishikane Kimihiro (Japan) said clashes continue in Sudan despite repeated ceasefire agreements between the parties.  Currently, there is no clear positive sign of a return to the political process, he said, also warning against the worsening humanitarian situation. He called on the parties to immediately end hostilities and uphold the Jeddah Declaration and the Agreement on a Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements.  His delegation voted in favour of the resolution, he said, noting the importance of maintaining UNITAMS.  Further, Japan is appalled by the letter from Sudan requesting the removal of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNITAMS, Volker Perthes, he said, calling on all the parties in Sudan to ensure that the Mission can carry out its mandate unhindered.

Pascale Christine Baeriswyl (Switzerland), welcoming the resolution’s unanimous adoption, stressed that the Council must speak with one voice on the need to end the violence in Sudan and protect the civilian population.  Moreover, the organ must show unity in its support for regional efforts under the leadership of the African Union and through the Expanded Mechanism.  For their part, both parties must immediately silence the guns, respect international humanitarian law and fully implement the Jeddah Declaration and the Agreement on a Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements, she added, reiterating her full support to UNITAMS, its staff and the Special Representative.

Francesca Gatt (Malta) welcomed the adoption of the resolution. Noting that the Council is speaking in one voice, she highlighted its support for the Trilateral Mechanism, and encouraged the Organization to continue to support IGAD and the African Union. Further, she echoed the call on both parties to cease hostilities and reminded all parties of their humanitarian obligations.

Geng Shuang (China) underscored the importance of the cessation of hostilities, noting that the parties should resolve differences by dialogue and lasting political arrangements.  Recognizing that the African Union and other regional players have adopted a road map to end the conflict, he urged the Council to support their efforts.  He also noted that Sudan’s issues should be resolved internally, as any external pressure or unilateral sanctions will exacerbate the process.  While expressing support for UNITAMS, he called on the Mission to maintain communication with the Sudanese authorities and support the host country.

Anna Evstigneeva (Russian Federation), noting that her delegation supported the draft, said the situation in Sudan remains worrying.  Further escalation can aggravate the security risks there and destabilize neighbouring countries.  She called on the Sudanese parties to show political will and undertake immediate steps to end the armed confrontation, encouraging national and regional efforts to ensure a ceasefire.  Accordingly, the technical rollover of UNITAMS’ mandate is the only right decision, she asserted, adding that the future activities of the Mission, which is working at the invitation of Sudan, shall consider the opinion of the host country.  After the acute phase of the conflict is over, the Council will be able revert to the discussion on the parameters on the United Nations presence that Sudan needs.  She called on the United Nations to pay special attention to the provision of humanitarian assistance to Sudan and neighbouring States in accordance with General Assembly resolution 46/182.  Further, she said that external interference in the internal affairs of Sudan is unacceptable.

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), President of the Security Council, speaking in her national capacity, welcomed the adoption and thanked the United Kingdom for its efforts as facilitator.  Reiterating concern at the grave violations of the ceasefire agreement, she also stressed that humanitarian access is a lifeline for those in need.  Her delegation’s support for the text was borne out of the belief that the Council must send a clear message about the importance of reaching a permanent ceasefire agreement.  Highlighting the vital need for UNITAMS presence in Sudan at this moment, she reminded all parties that the Juba peace agreement is binding.

The meeting began at 4:28 p.m. and ended at 4:48 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.