South Sudan: UN chief stresses support for independence and sovereignty

Refugees await unloading at a site in Upper Nile state, South Sudan. Photo: UNHCR/Jake Dinneen

2 December 2014 – Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has made it “categorically clear” that the United Nations has no intention of placing South Sudan under a “protectorate,” a UN spokesperson has stressed.

UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, addressed the issue yesterday, saying “these reports are completely false,” and stressed that “neither [the Secretary-General] nor the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is aware of any plans or discussions within the United Nations to take such a course of action.”

Persistent reports in South Sudanese and regional media have alleged that the UN is intending to place the country under its authority. With Members of the Government of South Sudan also voicing their concern over such reports to the leadership of UNMISS, Mr. Ban sought to make clear the UN position.

“The UN has supported the cause of self-determination for South Sudan from the time of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement through to the 2011 referendum and independence,” said the Secretary-General’s spokesman. “None of this would have been possible without the help of the United Nations.”

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UNMISS chief, Ellen Margrethe Løj, echoed those remarks, stressing that the Security Council consistently underlined the sovereignty and independence of South Sudan in its resolutions on the mandate of UNMISS.

“The Republic of South Sudan is an independent, sovereign State recognized by the United Nations, and is a member of the Organization,” she said, adding, that “the United Nations has no tradition of making independent, sovereign countries protectorates.

Political in-fighting between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, started in mid-December 2013 and subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UNMISS bases around the country.

With some 1.5 million people uprooted and more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease, Ms Løj emphasized the deep concern she felt about the conflict in South Sudan and urged the leadership of the Government and the armed opposition to honour and fully implement the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and to reach a comprehensive peace agreement without any further delays.

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