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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's remarks to press on the situation in South Sudan

New York, 18 December 2013

SG: Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have just briefed the Security Council on the challenges of illicit drug-trafficking in the Sahel and West Africa.

At this time I would like briefly to say a few words about the latest situation and developments in South Sudan.

I am deeply concerned about the current situation in South Sudan.

I spoke to President Salva Kiir yesterday morning, urging him to do everything possible he can to end the violence and to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law.

I also impressed on him the need to resume dialogue with the political opposition. I welcome the reports this morning that President Salva Kiir is willing to enter into such talks.

I also spoke to President [Yoweri] Museveni of Uganda because of his role as regional leader.

My Special Representative, Hilde Johnson, remains in constant contact with the Government and others with influence  on these issues – including a meeting with the President today, where similar messages were conveyed.

This is a political crisis, and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue. There is a risk of this violence spreading to other States, and we have already seen some signs of this.

It is essential to protect the human rights of all those who are detained.  Mandated human rights monitors must have full access to visit the detainees.  Security forces must operate in full compliance with international humanitarian law.

The UN Mission in South Sudan has received reports of many people being killed and injured. We are in the process of verifying the reports.

Our mission continues to support civilians in its two compounds in Juba – now numbering close to 20,000 -- as well as several hundred in Jonglei.

I call on the Government to cooperate fully with UNMISS as it fulfils its protection mandate, including in the provision of basic relief to civilians in need and in conducting human rights investigations into allegations of human rights abuses in recent days.

I count on President Salva Kiir’s leadership at this critical moment.  Thank you very much.
Q:   Would you consider, Mr. Secretary-General, sending extra UN troops to Juba?
SG:   We have UNMISS there, so it is not a question we are considering at this time. We are using all possible political influence including my own engagement and my Special Representative Hilde Johnson has been spending recently days and nights in addressing these issues. Thank you very much.
Q:   The former Vice President [Riek Machar], has anyone reached out to him?
SG:   No, no, I didn’t. Thank you very much.