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IGAD political role is more needed in South Sudan than its troops: UN chief

UNMISS Security Preparedness Exercise in Tomping, South Sudan on 20161223- (Photo UNMISS)
December 13, 2018 (NEW YORK) - United Nations Secretary-General said there is a need for political efforts by the IGAD country to ensure the implementation of the security arrangements in South Sudan more than the deployment of additional troops.

The recommendation was expressed in a progress report released Thursday by the UN chief to the Security Council on the activities of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and progress made in the implementation of its mandate during the period between 2 September and 30 November 2018.

Speaking about the implementation of the security arrangements, the report underscored the delay in the cantonment and integration of troops and on the security arrangements necessary to support its implementation.

"This weakness cannot be compensated for by the deployment of additional forces to the UNMISS regional protection force and needs to be addressed politically," said the UN chief in his report to the Security Council seen by Sudan Tribune.

"I, therefore, encourage the leaders of the region and the parties to redouble their efforts towards finding a comprehensive security agreement for the cantonment and integration of forces and the return of all leaders to Juba," he said.

In a press conference in Juba on 22 November, UNMISS head David Shearer already showed little enthusiasm for the deployment of troops from the IGAD countries in South Sudan within the framework of the UNMISS Regional Protection Force.

Shearer said there is a sizeable number of peacekeepers deployed in the country to protect civilians.

"We’ve got a large number of troops here already and what we would like to do is to make sure that they are used efficiently in the work of building a durable peace," he stressed.

The IGAD’s initial decision was to deploy troops from Sudan and Uganda to reassure the opposition forces and to push them to accept the reunification of the two armies during the transitional period, as they first had insisted to have two armies.

The Secretary-General "strongly" urged IGAD, the African Union and the Security Council to remain seized of the implementation of the revitalized peace pact and to ensure that the momentum generated by the signing of the Agreement is maintained and that all its provisions are fully implemented.

On 22 November, the IGAD chiefs of Staff decided to deploy 1695 troops from Djibouti, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda into the UNMISS regional protection force. They commissioned Ethiopia to discuss the matter with the UN Security Council.