United Nations peacekeeping mission.

A British-drafted resolution was unanimously adopted at the council to renew until June 2019 the mandate of the UNAMID mission, once among the biggest and costliest of all peace operations.

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Sudan has long demanded an exit strategy for UNAMID, which now has about 10,500 troops and police deployed with a mandate to protect civilians caught up in fighting between Sudanese government forces and Darfur rebel groups.

A joint report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the African Commission recommended that the mission begin its exit from Darfur in June 2020 if security improves, with a view to shutting down by the end of December.

The resolution requests that Guterres report to the council every three months on whether Sudan is meeting benchmarks and indicators that would allow the mission’s planned exit to go ahead.

Following the vote, Sudan Ambassador Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed thanked the council and stressed that Darfur since 2015 “has enjoyed security and stability, and that the humanitarian situation has become completely stable.”

“The reality on the ground in the five Darfur states is undeniable,” he said.

The resolution authorizes a sharp cut in the authorized troop level from about 8,700 currently to 4,050 by June of next year but noted that the council could “adjust the scope and pace of the reduction.”

The council kept the ceiling for the police force at its current level of 2,500.