Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on South Sudan
We thank SRSG Haysom and OCHA Operations Director Wosornu for the briefings. We also followed the remarks by representative of the South Sudanese civil society. We welcome Permanent Representative of South Sudan, Ambassador Malwal, to this briefing.
We share the concern of the UN Secretary-General about the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. The country is experiencing the serious consequences of the conflict in Sudan. The number of refugees and returnees has exceeded 250,000. Their influx has significantly exacerbated the already difficult situation in the northern states and has become a serious challenge for the country as a whole. We note the work of UNMISS, humanitarian workers and the government of South Sudan in overcoming this challenge with limited resources. Moreover, Juba is making an important contribution to efforts to resolve the situation in the neighboring Sudan.
Despite the dire humanitarian situation, the political process in South Sudan is progressing steadily. The revitalized peace agreement continues to be implemented, albeit to a limited extent. We note the efforts being made by the South Sudanese leadership to implement the state-building provisions, draft a permanent Constitution, and launch a full-scale work of the Transitional Parliament and the National Human Rights Council.
We note the attitude of the Government of National Unity towards holding the first general elections in South Sudan’s history. We believe it important to increase support for Juba in that regard without any preconditions. In this context, we welcome the launching of a tripartite African Union-IGAD-UNMISS task force and the establishment of Election Security Committee.
We proceed from the assumption that provisions of the roadmap and the peace agreement must be upheld. This already falls behind the agreed schedule. Establishment of the Constitutional Review Committee is 6 months late, and the establishment of the Political Parties Council is 11 months late. There has been no progress on the establishment of the High-Level Standing Committee on the implementation of the roadmap. However, despite those delays, it is very important that the ceasefire in the country is holding, although we cannot ignore reports of continued violence in some remote areas of South Sudan, sporadic clashes and inter-communal armed confrontations. We condemn any violations of the peace agreement and acts of violence against civilians, including humanitarians working on the ground in South Sudan.
We support national and international steps to stabilize the situation and the work of the peacekeeping mission. We call on peacekeepers to pay greater attention to combating inter-communal violence and to coordinating humanitarian assistance to Juba. We note the proposals by the Head of UNMISS to support the electoral process. We believe that Blue Helmets should have all the necessary resources both to carry out their tasks of protecting civilians and to provide technical assistance in organizing the elections. We look forward to continued negotiations between the South Sudanese authorities and the non-signatories to the Revitalized Agreement through the Community of Sant’Egidio.
We believe that the focused work by the government of South Sudan on establishment of a unified armed force as a guarantor of further progress in the peace process and the successful convening of elections remains a priority. We welcome progress in this area as well. We call on the parties in South Sudan to intensify their efforts to establish a unified army command.
At the same time, we are convinced that the current sanctions regime against the Republic of South Sudan makes it more difficult to deploy joint military units and strengthen state security bodies. Steps must be taken to review these restrictions following Juba’s relevant request, which is echoed by the African Union and the IGAD. We strongly oppose using Security Council sanctions to exert pressure and interfere in the internal affairs of this country, as well as supplementing them with illegal unilateral restrictive measures.