PORT SUDAN, JUNE 1 – Sudan’s Red Sea State is finally free of known landmines. On May 24th an event was organised in Port Sudan to annouce this milestone reached with the contribution of the Italian government, Japan and UNMAS.
The celebration was attended by a high level delegation from the Government of Sudan, led by the Special Assistant to President H.E. Musa Mohammed Ahmed, together with the Red Sea State Governor H.E. Ahmed Hamid, and the State Minister of Defense H.E. Lt. Gen Ali Mohammed Salim Ali. UNMAS Programme Manager Habibulhaq Javed and representatives from the Embassies of Japan, Italy and India were also present.
“This event marks an important step for Sudan in its efforts to become Ottawa treaty compliant” observed Valeria Romare, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Italy, intervening at the ceremony on behalf of Ambassador Lobasso. “Italy will continue to support this endeavour with its contribution and playing an active role in its capacity as Chair of the Mine Action Support Group for 2017”, she added.
With support from UNMAS and the donor community, the Government of Sudan plans to clear all the remaining landmine contaminations in Eastern states by the end of 2017. This will enable safe movement of people including refugees and IDPs, improve livelihood of affected population, pave pathway to early recovery, and increase development opportunities.
Sudan has engaged in mine action activities since the early 1990s. These efforts intensified after the signing of the Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement in 2001. Following this agreement, the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) began to cooperate in the area of mine action. An UNMAS Programme was established in 2002 following a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Government of Sudan (GoS), the SPLM and UNMAS. The agreement provided the framework for mine action activities throughout Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 and the UN Security Council Resolution 1590 that established the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) further enhanced the role of the UN in the field of mine action.
In 2017, US $13.2 million was required to complete release operations in the Eastern States, conduct emergency clearance in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, conduct MRE, VA and strengthen national capacity. To date, the programme has received in total US$ 1.2 million from the Governments of Japan and Italy for land release, MRE, VA and capacity building activities. (@OnuItalia)