Home | News    Wednesday 27 April 2016

Machar’s returns should ‘open a new chapter’: UN official

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April 26, 2016 (JUBA) - The arrival in to Juba of South Sudan’s first vice-president-designate, Riek Machar should open a new chapter for the world’s youngest nation and allow “the real transition to begin,” the United Nations peacekeeping head, Herve Ladsous told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The UN chief of peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous (Photo: AFP/Federic J. Brown)

He however stressed the security situation was still precarious amid a worsening humanitarian and human rights situation.

“It is vital that the political and security trends now under way in the country change rapidly if we wish to see a possibility for us to see the peace process succeed,” said Ladsous.

The senior UN official also urged the country’s warring parties to take this opportunity to show the genuine determination to move forward with the peace process.

Ladsous also expressed concerns that the Government of South Sudan had continued to impose restrictions on the movement of the UN mission staff and humanitarian workers in the nation, in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement.

He however stressed the need for unimpeded movement by the mission staff and humanitarian partners in order to address the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation.

“These restrictions have severely impacted the Mission’s ability to move and protect civilians as well as the UN’s ability to deliver badly needed humanitarian assistance,” said Ladsous.

“I would urge the Council to send a strong message to both the Government and the opposition on the utmost imperative to grant the Mission and humanitarian partners unimpeded freedom of movement to allow them to implement their respective mandates,” he added.

The top UN official expressed concerns over the recent clashes between South Sudan army and armed groups in Western Bahar El Ghazal, leading to killings, and displacement of civilians. Fighting between SPLA and opposition forces, he said, has also been reported in Upper Nile, Unity state and in Equatoria over the past few weeks.

In February, according to the UN, preliminary investigation into the violence in the UNMISS civilian protection site in Malakal on 17 and 18 February indicated that at least 25 internally displaced people were killed and over 140 injured.

Ladsous also said that the transitional government will have to “start work from day one” to address the governance, financial misappropriation and improving the rule of law.

“The current slump in oil prices has pushed South Sudan to the brink of economic collapse. Even if the parties fully implement the peace agreement, the economic challenges will not be overcome without significant reforms and international assistance,” he stressed.

The UN official said other conflict drivers, such as the creation of the new 28 states, should be addressed in accordance with the summit decision of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission’s (JMEC) position.

“A unilateral implementation of this order would be detrimental to the peace efforts; it also requires tremendous resources that South Sudan cannot afford,” said Ladsous.

He urged the Security Council, in coordination with the African Union to engage President Salva Kiir on the issue with the aim to halt the implementation of the order until the issue is mutually resolved in the transitional government.

Ladsous, in his briefing of the Security Council, emphasised the need for all the parties to address the issue of impunity.

“Without justice and reconciliation, healing old wounds will not be possible, particularly if impunity is not addressed,” he said.

(ST)

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