Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Mr.Petr Illiichev, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at the Security Council on the Sudan and South Sudan

We thank Mr. David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, as well as Mr. Festus Mogae, Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, for their substantive briefings.

We believe that it will be possible to stabilize the situation in South Sudan only if there is a lasting ceasefire and the start of an inclusive national reconciliation process. We note that certain progress has been made in that regard, in the form of the gradual implementation of President Kiir’s initiative, launched in May, to begin a nationwide dialogue, with the participation of every ethnic group, political actor and population sector, aimed at achieving national reconciliation and ending the conflict in South Sudan.

We agree with the Secretariat that this can be viewed as a supplement to the process initiated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for revitalizing the August 2015 peace agreement. In that regard, we welcome the efforts of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in promoting intercommunal reconciliation at the local level.

We have once again been compelled to turn our attention to the dire humanitarian repercussions of the crisis in South Sudan. Its escalation is having extremely negative repercussions in the subregion, producing a significant spike in the influx of refugees into neighbouring countries.

In our view, it would not be fair to lay all the blame for the persistent violence entirely at the Government’s door. It is impossible for the unilateral ceasefire that Mr. Kiir announced in May to be implemented without reciprocal measures on the part of the opposition.

We continue to believe that threatening the Government with targeted sanctions or an arms embargo would not help to solve the crisis, and might in fact exacerbate it. During our recent visit to Addis Ababa, the members of the Council were able to see for themselves how wary the regional players are about increasing the sanctions pressure.

We are pleased that the deployment of the Regional Protection Force is under way in South Sudan. We trust that IGAD and the Secretariat will continue working with the South Sudan Government on mutually acceptable modalities for the operation, including the involvement of the Regional Protection Force in the area of Juba airport. That is a requisite of the basic principles of peacekeeping.

We call on South Sudan and the troop-contributing countries to help the Regional Protection Force reach operational readiness. We welcome the SecretaryGeneral’s personal involvement in the efforts to achieve a settlement in South Sudan and commend the cooperation among the African Union, IGAD and the United Nations.

We hope that the current preparations for the IGAD-led revitalization forum for the peace agreement will enable it to succeed. While noting the Kampala and Nairobi mediation efforts, we share the Secretary-General’s opinion that those processes require tight coordination. We would also like to note the importance of ensuring that the regional Powers maintain a united approach to the settlement of the crisis in South Sudan.

Attempts to advance short-sighted national agendas, let alone to compete with neighbours in the region where South Sudan is concerned, could have disastrous consequences for the peace process.