Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Extraordinary Summit, in Kigali today:
Thank you for your invitation and your collective efforts to address the crisis in South Sudan. Let me begin by saying I was not planning to be in Kigali, but I am here because there is a crisis, and I am here because we need to urgently address it together.
I know many of you have worked hard to secure peace for the world’s youngest country — and I know all of us agree that we cannot afford South Sudan slipping back into a civil war. We are all appalled by the magnitude of the violence, the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and peacekeepers, and the immense loss of lives and suffering this crisis has inflicted on the people of South Sudan.
The renewed fighting is horrendous and totally unacceptable. United Nations compounds have been caught in the crossfire, our warehouses and food stocks for hundreds of thousands of people have been brazenly stolen, and our premises have sustained significant mortar and small arms fire.
I am outraged and condemn in the strongest terms the targeting of United Nations and international NGO [non-governmental organization] personnel, premises and assets in Juba allegedly by SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] soldiers, and also reports of sexual violence, assaults and killings of these personnel and innocent South Sudanese civilians. Enough is enough.
Now is the time for decisive and collective action. The people of South Sudan need to hear the region and the world speak with one voice to end this mindless violence.
I welcome the strong condemnation of the fighting and ceasefire violations by the African Union Peace and Security Council and the IGAD Council of Ministers. I thank you for calling on the South Sudanese leaders to assume their responsibility and subject individuals who undermine the peace process to stern measures, including targeted sanctions.
I have spoken with First Vice-President [Riek] Machar and the Special Envoy of President [Salva] Kiir, as well as with some leaders of the region. I urged them to do everything in their power to bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities and recommit to the implementation of the peace agreement.
I have sent a clear message that leaders must be accountable for their actions. This includes the military chain of command — the chiefs of general staff and other officials who are complicit in perpetrating the violence.
I have urged the Security Council to take action on three fronts: first, impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan. Second, enact additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders working to unravel the peace process. Third, fortify the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.
The restoration of the Transitional Government of National Unity will depend on the full demilitarization of Juba.
We support the proposal by the Chiefs of the Defence Staff/Forces of Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda to reinforce UNMISS with troops from the region under the same unity of mandate and command, and contribute in assisting the stabilization of South Sudan. Other troops will probably also be necessary. This is the first step and the only viable way to address security arrangements in the capital.
Let us also recognize that while troop reinforcements, a robust mandate and equipment such as UAVs [unmanned/unarmed aerial vehicles] and helicopters are important, what this conflict needs is a viable political solution. The comprehensive peace agreement brokered by IGAD needs to be fully implemented. I welcome the meeting of IGAD Foreign Ministers in Juba on 15 July and their efforts to find a negotiated settlement to the current crisis.
I cannot overemphasize how crucial it is for the African Union, IGAD and leaders in the region to provide collective and concerted support to the efforts of the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, former President Festus Mogae, and the African Union High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Konaré. This is the only way to get the peace process back on track. We cannot and should not allow for the agreement to unravel, especially after all the time and effort regional leaders have put into making it happen.
We are at a critical stage. Now is the time to send a strong message to the South Sudanese leadership. The people of South Sudan have been let down by their own leadership. Their hopes and dreams have been tarnished at the expense of warring parties enriching and empowering themselves. We cannot and will not tolerate this.
The engagement of all is needed to provide a framework that will address the current security crisis, but also human rights. We must do so for the benefit of all the South Sudanese people and for the promise and hope of independence just five short years ago.
Once again, thank you for your engagement and leadership.