Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on crisis in South Sudan
New York, 24 December 2013Let me begin by thanking the Security Council for its action and engagement to address the mounting crisis in South Sudan. We are all deeply troubled by the events that have unfolded in recent days. There are reports of ethnically targeted violence, including extra-judicial killings and mass graves. The displacement of civilians is growing and spreading, with some 45,000 people seeking protection at the bases of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). I reiterate the calls for maximum restraint from all communities in South Sudan. There is no military solution to this conflict. This is a political crisis which requires a peaceful, political solution. We are working closely with regional leaders and parties on the ground to establish a basis for negotiations. At the same time, I am determined to ensure that UNMISS has the means to carry out its central task of protecting civilians. I welcome today’s resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and opening of dialogue; demanding that all parties cooperate fully with UNMISS; and authorising the temporary strengthening of protection capacities with additional troops, police and logistical assets from other UN missions. I have spoken with a number of regional leaders and want to acknowledge their efforts and vital support. I thank the troop- and police-contributing countries that have agreed to the temporary relocation of their personnel and assets. We are coordinating closely with the other UN Missions to ensure re-deployments do not affect the implementation of their respective mandates. I commend our brave peacekeepers and all UN personnel helping to protect civilians, provide humanitarian assistance and monitor human rights, under very difficult circumstances. We have lost two peacekeepers in the past week and one was wounded. One ILO [International Labour Organization] employee was killed. Earlier today, three UNMISS personnel were injured at the UN base in Bor, Jonglei State. Attacks on civilians and the UN peacekeepers must cease immediately. The United Nations will investigate reports of these incidents and of grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity. Those responsible will be held personally accountable. They should know the world is watching. Human rights are a cornerstone of our efforts and I am urgently strengthening our human rights capacity in the country. I welcome the urgency and collective resolve of the Security Council today. I trust that the Council and other Member States will continue to do their part to provide the personnel, equipment and the logistical support required to ensure a timely deployment of these additional troops and enablers. Without such support, the United Nations Secretariat will not be able to deploy quickly the additional capacity required. Even with ongoing support, the strengthening of UNMISS’ protection capabilities will not happen overnight. Even with additional capabilities, we will not be able to protect every civilian in need in South Sudan. The parties are responsible to end the conflict. Political dialogue, in the end, is the only solution. I have consistently called on President Salva Kiir and opposition political leaders to come to the table and find a political way out of this crisis. Whatever the differences, nothing can justify the violence that has engulfed their young nation. They must do everything in their power to immediately ensure that their followers hear the message – loud and clear: Continued violence, ethnic and otherwise, is completely unacceptable. Now is the time for South Sudan’s leaders to show their people and the world that they are committed to preserving the unity of the nation that was born out of their long struggle for independence. Thank you.
Statements on 24 December 2013
- New York, 24 December 2013 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Egypt
- New York, 24 December 2013 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on recent violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank
- New York, 24 December 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Yemen