Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Adopting Resolution 2459 (2019) by 14 Votes to None, 1 Abstention

SC/13738
15 March 2019
8484th Meeting* (PM)

Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Adopting Resolution 2459 (2019) by 14 Votes to None, 1 Abstention

Council Support ‘Absolutely Necessary’ for Smooth, Timely Implementation of Revitalized Peace Accord, Says Permanent Representative

The Security Council decided today to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for one year, while maintaining its ceiling of 17,000 troops – including a Regional Protection Force authorized to take robust action where necessary – and a police ceiling of 2,101 personnel.

Adopting resolution 2459 (2019) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter by a vote of 14 in favour to none against with one abstention (Russian Federation), the Council extended the Mission’s mandate until 15 March 2020.  It requested that the Secretary-General take steps to expedite the generation of forces and assets.  It also requested that he conduct a military and police capability study subsequent to the negotiation of permanent security arrangements by the signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, signed in September 2018.

By the terms of the resolution adopted today, the Council expressed its readiness to consider making the necessary adjustments to UNMISS, including the Regional Protection Force, to match security conditions on the ground.  The personnel ceiling for the Force, to be set by the Secretary-General, will not exceed 4,000 troops.

Also by the text, the Council demanded that all parties to the conflict immediately end the fighting and engage in political dialogue; that South Sudan’s leaders implement the permanent ceasefire declared in the Revitalized Agreement and other relevant agreements; and that the Government comply with its obligations as set out in the status-of-forces agreement; and immediately cease obstructing humanitarian actors and UNMISS personnel in the performance of their mandates.

Welcoming a gradual decrease in the fighting among the warring parties, the Council called upon signatories to the Revitalized Agreement to ensure that pre-transitional institutions and mechanisms are operational as soon as possible, taking into account the timetable set by the Revitalized Agreement.  It condemned violations of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access – including continued use of sexual and gender-based violence - by all sides and underscored that the lack of feasible security arrangements may delay the peace process.

Further by the text, the Council decided that the UNMISS mandate will include:  protection of civilians; fostering a secure environment for the safe, informed, voluntary and dignified return or relocation of internally displaced persons and refugees; creating suitable conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance; monitoring and investigating human rights violations; and supporting implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the peace process.

By further terms of the text, the Council requested that UNMISS strengthen its activities in preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence response activities, including by ensuring that the risks related to such crimes are documented in its threat analyses and early-warning measures, and by engaging with victims and women’s organizations.

Noting a request from the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Council expressed its willingness to consider a review of the UNMISS mandate and the composition of its Regional Protection Force, after the parties negotiate permanent security arrangements and form the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

Among other regular reporting requirements, the Council requested that the Secretary-General provide, within 180 days, a report on future planning for South Sudan’s civilian-protection sites, and to continue to report violations of the status-of-forces agreement or obstructions of UNMISS on a monthly basis.

Speaking after the adoption, Wu Haitao (China) said the situation in South Sudan has continued to improve since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement in 2018.  Nevertheless, there is room for greater improvement, he said, emphasizing, among other things, that the international community and UNMISS should focus more on facilitating implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.

Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait) agreed that there are clear improvements in South Sudan, saying the Council should continue to monitor the situation.

Dmitry A. Polyanskiy (Russian Federation) said his delegation abstained from the vote despite its categorical support for the “Blue Helmets” working on the ground in South Sudan.  Pointing out that the parties have demonstrated readiness to compromise, and that significant progress has been registered since the Revitalized Agreement was signed, he warned that the stubborn refusal by some States to recognize the viability of the Khartoum Agreement “sent the wrong message” to the parties.

He went on to express concern that the mandate of UNMISS, outlined in today’s resolution, is overburdened with language on gender and human rights issues, the latter even taking priority over implementation of the Revitalized Agreement.  Emphasizing that peacekeeping matters should be discussed in the Special Committee known as the “C34” , which cannot be circumvented, he said the United States delegation abused its prerogative as penholder by refusing to take the perspectives of other delegations into account.

Jonathan R. Cohen (United States) welcomed the resolution’s call on UNMISS to strengthen its response to sexual and gender-based crimes in response to developing trends on the ground.  However, he expressed concern over the parties’ lack of political will, stressing that the people of South Sudan expect them to commit to peace through both rhetoric and actions.

Akuei Bona Malwal (South Sudan), meanwhile, called upon the Council to join hands with his country’s leaders, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union in implementing the Revitalized Agreement.  “This Council’s support and encouragement to all the political leaders and the people of South Sudan is absolutely critical for the timely and smooth implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” he stressed.

At the outset, Council members observed a moment of silence in honour of the victims of attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier today.

The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. and ended at 3:24 p.m.

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*     The 8483rd Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.