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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Off-the-Cuff

Secretary-General's Remarks at the Press Conference in South Sudan [As delivered]

Juba, South Sudan, 25 February 2016

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the media, the Excellency Foreign Minister Benjamin,  Excellencies Ministers of Cabinet, ladies and gentlemen,

I am concluding my visit to Juba at a critical time. Above all, I have come here to underscore the United Nations commitment to the peace process and the future of South Sudan.

As you know, I met his Excellency President Salva Kiir and also spoke this afternoon by phone with Dr. Riek Machar.   

I was also profoundly moved by my visit with the students and others affected by this senseless conflict. This is my fourth visit to Juba.  I was here in 2011 as the flag of the new South Sudan flew high and proudly for the first time of this independent state. 

I saw in the faces of the people of this country all that the flag represented.  The pride.  The spirit.  The hope. 

And, yet, tragically, that hope has been betrayed. 

It has been betrayed by those who put power and profit over people. The people of this land suffered decades of bloody civil war.  Yet over the last two years, the nightmare has returned
with a vengeance.

Killings.  Rape.  Children forced into becoming soldiers.  Massive human rights violations.  And epic corruption.

Over 2 million people have been forced from their homes. Some 200,000 people are being protected in our camps. More than two years ago, we opened our gates to provide sanctuary.  I am proud of that action.  By doing so, thousands of lives were saved.  All parties must respect these sites.  Attacks against civilians, peacekeepers and UN premises – such as in Malakal last week – violate international humanitarian law and must stop.

And, of course, the protection camps are not a long-term solution.  As important as it is, humanitarian action can never be a substitute for political solutions.

The Government of South Sudan must step up to its responsibility and protect its population.

South Sudan now has a peace agreement – signed last August. Respecting the terms of the peace agreement is not an option.  It is a must. 

I am encouraged by the proposed compromise on implementing security arrangements for Juba.

My message to the leaders of South Sudan is clear: 

Put peace above politics.  Pursue compromise.  Overcome obstacles.   Establish the Transitional Government of National Unity.  And do not delay it.

The parties must know that responsibility does not end with the signing of an agreement.   In many ways, it begins with the signing of agreement. And it must begin now.

The humanitarian and economic situation in the country continues to plummet.

Over $1.3 billion dollars is needed to address current needs of over 5 million South Sudanese this year alone. 

I commend humanitarians for their work and courage. Despite assurances for safe and unhindered access in the peace agreement, aid workers continue to be targeted.  At least 45 aid workers have been killed over the last two years and many more are missing. 

I urge all parties to remove restrictions on the freedom of movement of the United Nations and humanitarian actors and ensure access to people in need of protection, and life-saving aid.

I am announcing today, that the United Nations will allocate $21 million dollars from our Central Emergency Response Fund for the people of South Sudan.  These much needed resources will provide protection and relief when it is needed most.

But this action is far from being enough.  South Sudan’s Humanitarian Response Plan is only 3% funded.  That is a paltry figure, even by today’s standards.

I hope that these funds will catalyze much more.  Time lost means lives lost.  I urge the international community to show its commitment to the people of South Sudan.

Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me one last word since this is my final stop on this African visit.  Over the past week, I have visited a number of places tragically suffering from the impact of protracted conflict.

I have travelled to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.  What I have seen underscores the need for the international community to do much more – far, far much more -- to prevent and end conflict; uphold international norms and accountability; reduce displacement; and invest to enhance resilience and leave no one behind. These are all major themes of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23rd and 24th.

I have urged world leaders urge leaders to reduce, at least by 50 per cent, of displaced persons, by 2030. I urge leaders from the region and around the globe to come in full force to re-imagine how the world deals with the crises and act on a true Agenda for Humanity. 

I thank you.