The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine):
The members of the Security Council strongly condemned continued fighting across South Sudan, particularly incidents in the Equatoria and Upper Nile regions of South Sudan, and called on all parties to cease hostilities immediately. The members of the Security Council also condemned in the strongest terms all attacks directed against civilians and expressed serious concern that, once again, there are reports of killing of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, destruction of homes, ethnic violence and looting of livestock and property. The members of the Security Council urged the Transitional Government of National Unity to take measures to ensure that those responsible for the attacks are held accountable. They expressed deep alarm that more than 84,000 individuals have fled South Sudan since the beginning of January and that many continue to be displaced internally.
The members of the Security Council stressed the primacy of the political process and that there is no military solution to the conflict, and reminded all parties in South Sudan that implementation of the ceasefire is critical for the success of any genuine, inclusive political process, including national dialogue, and that such a process should be based on the framework provided by the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, and aimed at achieving national reconciliation and enhancing the trust among parties in South Sudan. They reiterated their call on all stakeholders to commit to full implementation of the Agreement.
In this regard, they welcomed the continued and collective commitment in the search for lasting peace, security and stability expressed by the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations during the joint consultative meeting on South Sudan in Addis Ababa on 29 January 2017. The members of the Security Council committed to work closely with IGAD; the African Union High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konaré; the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, former President Festus Mogae; and the United Nations Secretary-General in support of the South Sudan peace process.
The members of the Security Council expressed appreciation for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s (UNMISS) tenacity in its efforts to carry out its protection of civilians mandate and expressed deep concern that UNMISS continues to face obstacles from the Transitional Government of National Unity, hindering the ability of UNMISS to carry out its mandate to protect civilians and create conditions conducive to delivery of humanitarian assistance. The members of the Security Council reminded the Transitional Government of National Unity of its commitment in the 4 September 2016 Joint Communiqué to permit freedom of movement of UNMISS, and expressed deep disappointment that the Transitional Government of National Unity continues to act inconsistently with this commitment and its obligations under the Status of Forces Agreement with the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council reiterated that targeting civilians may constitute war crimes and those involved could be subject to sanctions as authorized under resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.