Sanctions by the United Nations Security Council against Sudan have been proved outdated and should be lifted, a Chinese envoy said on Wednesday.
The 15-member Security Council Wednesday decided, with a vote of 13 in favor and two abstentions (China and Russia), to extend through March 12, 2024, the mandate of the Panel of Experts charged with assisting its Sudan sanctions committee.
Adopting resolution 2676 (2023), the council also expressed its intention to review the sanctions in light of progress achieved by the government of Sudan on several key benchmarks. The United States is the penholder of the draft resolution.
In an explanation of the vote, Dai Bing, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the United Nations, said that the Security Council sanctions on Darfur in Sudan, which began in 2004, are aimed at ending the armed conflict in Darfur and helping Sudan return to peace and stability.
He noted that the Sudanese transitional government and the armed opposition signed the Juba Peace Agreement in 2020, and the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) completed its mandate and withdrew from Darfur at the end of the same year.
"Those positive developments pointed to a fundamental shift for the better in the situation in Darfur, and the fact that the Security Council sanctions against Sudan are outdated and should be lifted in light of the improved circumstances on the ground," Dai said.
He pointed out that keeping those sanctions in place is not only untenable in the context of the country's political and security realities, but also limits the government's security capacity, negatively impacting its ability to maintain stability in Darfur and protect civilians and combat crimes there.
The draft resolution on Wednesday endorses two benchmarks for the adjustment of sanctions, which Dai said appears to be a roadmap for lifting sanctions, "but in practice it is neither realistic nor feasible."
China and some members initially proposed discussing benchmarks aimed at creating the conditions for lifting sanctions as soon as possible.
"But discussions in the Security Council over the past two years led us to believe that the members concerned have no intention of lifting the sanctions and instead want to make them permanent by setting benchmarks that can never be met," Dai said.
"The draft resolution introduced by the penholder does not address our concerns in that regard," he added.
The envoy also reiterated China's call for a comprehensive assessment of the existing Security Council sanctions regime and the formulation of clear and feasible exit criteria.
Sanctions are an important tool entrusted to the Security Council by the UN Charter, originally intended to create conditions for the political settlement of relevant issues, he said.
But in practice, sanctions have increasingly become a substitute for diplomatic efforts and even a means of political pressurization for some countries, said Dai, noting that some individual member has abused its penholdership to impose its national position on the Security Council.
"The Security Council should conduct periodic reviews of relevant sanctions, and once the criteria are met, sanctions should be adjusted or lifted timely," he said.