|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6874th Meeting (AM)
Despite Progress, Failure to Resolve Multifaceted Challenges Continues to Impact
South Sudan’s Fragile Stability, Peacekeeping Chief Tells Security Council
Country’s Representative Affirms
Unwavering Commitment to Peace with Sudan
Failure to resolve security, economic and political problems in South Sudan continued to have a direct impact on the country’s fragile stability and security, the United Nations’ top peacekeeping official told the Security Council this morning during a briefing on recent events.
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the Council, when presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the United Nations Mission in the country (UNMISS) during the period between 26 June and 23 October 2012, that even though the South Sudan Government had made progress, including moving forward in establishing the National Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Council and announcing the development of a National Human Rights Agenda, the country, like most post-conflict nations, faced steep internal challenges.
While tensions between South Sudan and Sudan had decreased, if the recently signed cooperation agreements were not rapidly implemented, South Sudan’s economic development would be hit hard, particularly the oil sector, he said. The current economic fragility had also been hampered by inter-communal conflicts and militia clashes and threats against the South Sudanese Army (SPLA) and UNMISS, as well as a growing concern over politically motivated threats and abductions targeting journalists, civil society activists and political opponents.
In addition, he continued, scant progress had been achieved on a range of issues, including talks between the countries and the processes of establishing national institutions alongside reconciliation and civilian disarmament initiatives in the troubled Jonglei State.
Despite the relatively stable situation over the last four months, he said Jonglei State continued to be the “epicentre” of persistent security challenges. The lack of peacebuilding progress remained against a backdrop of an abundance of available weapons and weakened traditional community structures that had left many leaders openly confessing to having little control over its youth.
“A comprehensive and inclusive political process led by the Government that addressed the core grievance of the disgruntled constituencies remains an urgent need,” he said.
He also stated his alarm at the 23 October expulsion of an UNMISS senior human rights officer, calling the act a violation of the status-of-forces agreement, and calling on South Sudan to rescind the order and on the Security Council to call for the same.
Francis Mading Deng, of South Sudan, said while his country took Mr. Ladsous’s concern seriously, his country believed it had acted consistently with the UNMISS agreement when expelling the UNMISS officer.
Thanking the Council and UNMISS for their attention to outstanding issues, he reiterated South Sudan’s unwavering commitment to human rights and to peaceful coexistence and cooperation with Sudan. Yet, while South Sudan and Sudan had long agreed that war was not a viable solution, negotiation without an end was in no one’s interests.
“Our two States cannot prosper or pursue greater development in an atmosphere of continued uncertainty about their relations,” he said, noting that the African Union Road Map and Security Council resolution 2046 (2012) had established deadlines. “It is only when all of the issues are addressed that sustainable peace will exist in our region. There are no shortcuts to this destination.”
The Secretary-General’s report also contained updates on the implementation of the protection-of-civilians strategy by the Mission, timelines for Mission deployment and benchmarks, as well as the United Nations system support to peacebuilding tasks and cooperation in addressing the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The meeting began at 10:50 a.m. and ended at 11:27 a.m.
The Security Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (document S/2012/820), which provides updates during the period between 26 June and 23 October 2012 on the implementation of the protection-of-civilians strategy by the United Nations Mission in the country, known as UNMISS, timelines for the deployment of all Mission elements, Mission benchmarks, United Nations system support to peacebuilding tasks and cooperation in addressing the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
In the report, the Secretary-General says he is encouraged by the agreements signed in Addis Ababa on 27 September between South Sudan and the Sudan, and he calls upon the leadership of the two countries to fully implement the agreements and to expeditiously resolve all outstanding issues. With the resumption of oil production, the prospects for building a stable economy would improve and South Sudan should be in a position to resume its course towards a peacebuilding and development agenda, including progress in the establishment of the rule of law; security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; capacity-building for key State institutions; and a constitutional review process that provides a framework for transparent political dialogue.
Noting that the incidence of large-scale violence in South Sudan had decreased, but that the risk of renewed violence, particularly in Jonglei State, remains very high, the Secretary-General calls on the Government to extend the presence of its security services and continue to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights by its security forces. Concerned over the continuing existence of armed militia groups, he also calls on young people to cooperate with their chiefs and local authorities, distance themselves from all insurgents, eschew armed violence, participate fully in the disarmament process and work towards the economic and social development of their country.
For its part, the Secretary-General says, the Government must continue to identify and address the grievances of all communities, support inter-communal reconciliation through the allocation of adequate resources and progressively rebuild their trust in national institutions through credible political and judicial processes. He urges the international community to lend its full assistance to those efforts.
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