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Security Council extends UNISFA mandate

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Addis Ababa, October 12, 2018 (FBC) – The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until 15 April 2019.

The Council also stressed that the extension will be the final one unless the parties meet specific benchmarks.

The required benchmarks include ensuring the full freedom of movement for all UNISFA air and ground patrols, establishing plans for several Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism team sites and convening at least two meetings of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism.

The benchmarks also include the withdrawal of both parties from the Safe Demilitarized Buffer Zone, developing and implementing a timeline for verifying the functioning of 10 border crossings, and convening at least two meetings of the Joint Border Commission and Joint Demarcation Committee.

The Council also tasked the government of South Sudan with establishing a high-level team to undertake community sensitisation aimed at enabling UNISFA’s ground movement.

By other terms of the resolution, the Council decided to maintain UNISFA’s authorized troop ceiling of 4,500 until 15 November 2018.

It also deciding that – as of April 2019 – the authorized troop ceiling will decrease by 541 troops unless the mandate modification set forth in resolutions 2024 (2011) and 2075 (2012) is once again extended.