'Little progress' made on finding viable solution to Darfur conflict - UN peacekeeping chief.

Given the unchanged nature of the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, the mandate of the African Union-United Nations mission there should be extended for another year, without changes to its priorities or its authorized troop and police ceiling, the top UN peacekeeping official said today.

Little progress has been made in finding a viable political solution to the conflict, said Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, as he briefed the Security Council on the outcome of a recent assessment of the situation in Darfur from 1 July 2015 to 15 May 2016.

The assessment was contained in the Special Report of the Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

The report provides an analysis of military and police components, and presents recommendations on how to improve the operational effectiveness of UNAMID, as well as an update on the status of tripartite discussions on the exit strategy of UNAMID among the AU, UN and Sudan's Government.

Mr. Ladsous said the sectarian violence emanating from disputes over access to land, water and grazing areas remain a major cause of insecurity in Darfur. While direct clashes between the Government and armed movements have subsided, fighting with the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) in Jebel Marra, which rejects any negotiations with the Government, has continued.

As of today, 2.6 million people remain displaced across Darfur. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported 80,000 verified displaced persons since the resumption of fighting in Jebel Marra in mid-January. As many as 127,000 displaced persons were yet to be verified. Further, 1.6 million civilians continue to reside in some 60 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region.

UNAMID continued to face considerable challenges in its relations with the Government, which impeded the implementation of its mandate, including denials of access and freedom of movement, particularly to conflict areas such as Jebel Marra, and denials and delays in the issuance of visas and the clearance of shipment...

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