Sudan has called on the United Nations Security Council to lift its suspension of troop withdrawals and ensure all peacekeepers leave Darfur by June 2020, but the African Union said overall security in the vast western region “remains volatile.”

Sudan’s UN Ambassador Omer Mohamed Siddig told the council on Monday that it is time to shift from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in Darfur, and to end restrictions on the government’s movement of arms and troops in and out of the region.

In late June, the Security Council voted unanimously to put the brakes on the withdrawal of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force from Darfur, as the country dealt with a political crisis.

It extended the mandate of the force, known as UNAMID, until October 31, and it asked the UN and AU to make recommendations by September 30 on what the council should do about continuing the withdrawal.

The UN currently has almost 5 600 so-called blue helmets in Darfur, though plans had been in place to reduce the force’s size to 4 050.

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