UN Security Council Briefing and Consultations on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
Ambassador Harold Agyeman
Ghana’s Representative to the United Nations
Security Council Chamber
United Nations, New York
December 14 2023
BRIEFING AND CONSULTATIONS ON THE UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN(UNMISS)
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of members of the A-3.
At the outset, we wish to thank the Secretary-General for his report and welcome the insightful briefing on the situation in South Sudan by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative ((SRSG) to South Sudan, Mr. Nicholas Haysom.
We also thank Ambassador Michel Xavier Biang, Chair of the 2206 Sanctions Committee on South Sudan for his report to the Council and welcome the participation of the representative of South Sudan, our sister, the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of South Sudan, to this meeting.
The A3’s statement today will focus on the security, humanitarian, and political situations in South Sudan.
On the security situation, the A3 expresses grave concern over continuing insecurity in some parts of South Sudan and condemns recent attacks and violence by armed elements in the Upper Nile State. We further express concern about hostilities in Leer County in Unity State, between the SSPDF and the main armed group, SPLA-IO. We call on the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) to swiftly probe these violations and make the necessary accountability recommendations.
The A3 is also deeply distressed by the violence in Warrap State and southern Abyei Administrative Area that claimed over 75 lives in November and 10 lives in Abyei in the early part of this month.
We call on the forces and armed groups involved to cease hostilities immediately and refrain from harming civilians, including internally displaced persons. We recall the 2011 Agreement that calls for the full demilitarization of the Abyei Area and reiterate that such acts of violence in the Area violate its demilitarized status. We urge the swift and full implementation of the demilitarized status without further delay.
We implore all South Sudanese actors to remain committed to the Revitalised Agreement and further call on non-signatory parties to demonstrate their commitment towards the peace and stability of South Sudan by refraining from actions that impede the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement. We reiterate our call on the parties to urgently resume peace talks under the facilitation of the Community of Saint Egidio.
The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to be a major concern for the A3. According to OCHA’s 2023 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan, about 9.4 million people, constituting almost 76 percent of the country’s population required humanitarian assistance in 2023, including 2.2 million women and 4.9 million children. The funding shortage for relief efforts, which has forced humanitarian agencies to prioritize the many needs to be met and suspend some programmes in some cases is exacerbating conditions on the ground. As of 19th November, South Sudan’s 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, requiring $2.05 billion, was only 48.2% funded
In this regard, the A3 reiterates its appeal for the international donor community to honor their pledges and increase development assistance for the country. Significant international support is still required for the much-needed reforms to help diversify the country’s economy, promote agriculture and food security, and enhance infrastructure development. We also encourage South Sudan to deepen its engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission.
Mindful of the adverse impact of the conflict in Sudan as the humanitarian situation as well as the inter-communal violence in Jonglei and Warrap, and some parts of the Upper Nile States, we demand that the parties halt hostilities and allow the humanitarian agencies to deliver the much-needed assistance.
We condemn deliberate acts of violence perpetrated against humanitarian workers in South Sudan and are deeply concerned about the high incidence of such attacks, which in 2023 alone has led to the deaths of 28 aid workers and injuries to 44 others. We are also concerned about the looting of humanitarian assets.
The A3 calls for the perpetrators of such attacks to be held accountable as it is unacceptable that humanitarian workers who sacrifice to serve humanity under challenging circumstances should be subject to deliberate attacks. Such heinous attacks are crimes against international humanitarian law and the necessary deterrence must be established through full accountability and justice.
In respect of the political situation in South Sudan, and while acknowledging that the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) has been slow, the A3 joins the AUMISS, IGAD and UNMISS in welcoming the 3rd November 2023 proclamation of decrees by President Salva Kiir on the commencement of the processes to reconstitute South Sudan’s National Constitutional Review Commission; the National Elections Commission; and the Political Parties’ Council. We, however, call on the parties to the R-ARCSS to engage in immediate dialogue to resolve the remaining outstanding issues and on the South Sudanese government to disburse the necessary resources to ensure the institutional readiness of the reconstituted entities.
In this vein, it is gratifying that the parties to the Revitalized Agreement announced on 12th December that they had achieved tentative agreements on several critical aspects surrounding the conduct of the elections scheduled for December 2024 and jointly signed a communique that urged the transitional government to urgently provide ample and adequate funding for the elections.
We wish, however, to highlight the continuing need of South Sudan for international financial support to be able to fully implement the Agreement’s mechanism since its economy has been affected by prolonged flooding due to climate change and other intervening factors.
We also take this opportunity to commend SRSG Haysom for his series of diplomatic engagements with the C5 Group of countries appointed by the AU to deal with the situation in South Sudan. We share in the SRSG’s vision that such initiatives would encourage regional support and international partnerships for South Sudan ahead of its post-independence elections scheduled for December 2024.
The A3 also welcomes the deployment of 750 troops from Phase I of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) to Malakal in the Upper Nile State area of Tonja to beef up security. We look forward to the deployment of the remaining forces to Jonglei, Warrap, and Bahr el Ghazal, among others.
We draw attention, once again, to the challenges being confronted with the implementation of the remaining benchmarks of the Peace Agreement and call on the government of South Sudan and all political leaders to place the overall interest of the people of their young country at the heart of their discussions and decisions, especially taking into account that there are only a few more months remaining for the transition.
We encourage the further efforts of the AU, IGAD, the UN, and other bilateral and multilateral partners, including China, the Troika countries, and the IGAD Partners Forum to continue to extend the necessary assistance and support for the activities of the oversight mechanisms and to the parties to make progress on the aspects of implementation that are lagging.
Finally, we would like to join the Secretary-General in conveying our deep appreciation to the troop and police-contributing countries, SRSG Haysom, and uniformed and civilian personnel of UNMISS for continuing to work tirelessly towards the peace and stability of South Sudan.
As we support those efforts, we also help to assure that the contributions of South Sudan to a stable regional and international order and their role in global peace, security and sustainable development is guaranteed.
I thank you, Mr. President.