Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in South Sudan
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom for his briefing. We closely followed the remarks by Acting Director of OCHA Operations and Advocacy Division Ghada Mudawi and representative of South Sudanese civil society Ms. Lorna Merekaje. We also welcome to this meeting Ambassador Akuei Bona Malwal, Permanent representative of South Sudan to the UN. We have studied the recent report of the Secretary-General regarding Sudan and the work of UN peacekeepers in that country.
Russia supports international efforts aimed at stabilizing the situation in South Sudan and strengthening its peace and security. The Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan keeps working, and the ceasefire regime is generally holding. We believe what contributed considerably to addressing these tasks was the agreement on the formation of a unified armed forces command that President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar signed early in April. Now it appears especially important to expedite the establishment of unified forces.
Provisions of the Revitalized Agreement need to be implemented in a step-by-step manner. We welcome that Juba pays particular attention to national reconciliation. We note that establishment of a transitional parliament has been finalized and this body already started working on key draft laws, including the constitution of South Sudan. We support commitment of South Sudanese authorities to convene first elections in history of this state in 2023. Just like the Secretary-General, we also hope that South Sudanese parties will soon be able to agree on the election schedule and elaborate a clear roadmap for conclusion of the transitional period.
Security situation in the regions of South Sudan remains complicated. We are concerned over the outbreaks of violence in Upper Nile and Unity. At the same time, we notice that inter-communal clashes have become fewer, and that more IDPs and refugees are ready to get back to their places of permanent residence. We strongly condemn any violations of the Revitalized Agreement, acts of violence against civilians, including staff of humanitarian organizations that work on the ground in South Sudan.
We proceed from the understanding that as its main task the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) should stabilize the security situation and help South Sudanese power authorities implement the Revitalized Agreement. All responsibility for addressing issues relating to protection of human rights rests with Juba in the first place.
We are convinced that the new reality on the ground prompts some adaptation of South Sudan’s effective sanctions regime, including easing of the arms embargo with a view to facilitating the training of South Sudanese military and national security personnel. We believe that easing (via in-advance notification) of deliveries of non-lethal military equipment in support of the implementation of the peace agreement as per UNSC resolution 2633 of 27 May 2022 was an important step at this track. Yet this is not enough to accommodate Juba’s legitimate requests that South Sudan’s neighbors in Africa support in full solidarity. The international community need to pay more attention to assisting South Sudanese authorities in implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict and building national capacity for addressing the problem of local conflicts.
In conclusion, let me also welcome the institution of South Sudan’s National Human Rights Council. We trust that its efforts will be aimed at protecting fundamental rights and freedoms, promoting corresponding values, and providing the international community with verified data regarding the human rights situation in the country. I feel obliged to underscore it in light of the statement of a US representative who once again took a condescending approach and started to lecture South Sudan, which is just as independent a country as the United States itself. We see no reason why the US should demonstrate this sort of superiority. It is the task of the Security Council to help a young state, that is South Sudan, overcome difficulties i.a. related to violence and effect tangible results. Thereby we must take into account all aspects of the situation in that country. Russia will adhere to the point that UN mechanisms must act in an impartial manner and proceed from verified information.