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S. Sudan’s Kiir, top UN official discuss peace, security issues

September 12, 2021 (JUBA) - The need to expedite implementation of the security arrangements was top of the agenda at a meeting between the UN Under-Secretary-General, Jean-Pierre Lacroix and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in the capital, Juba.

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The head of the UN peacekeeping mission, Jean-Pierre Lacroix speaks to reporters in Juba, August 1, 2017 (UN photo)

"We discussed the situation regarding the efficient and effective implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. We appreciated the efforts that have been made in this regard since the signing of the agreement and reiterated our support for further progress to be made,” said Lacroix after the hour-long discussion.

The overwhelming focus of the UN official’s visit to the conflict-affected country was how to expedite reform of the security sector, required under the peace agreement.

The graduation and deployment of unified forces has been repeatedly delayed and troops are struggling to survive in cantonment sites without basic support, including food and shelter.

“As far as the UN is concerned, we can certainly help in trying to support the armed forces here in their efforts to make sure certain guarantees and certain benchmarks can be achieved. I’m thinking in particular of everything that has to do with managing weapons and ammunition. I know that it is seen by members of the Security Council as an important element in this,” said Lacroix.

He added, "But the issue of the arms embargo is very much in the hands of the Security Council.”

The senior UN official also met representatives of civil society and faith-based groups.

South Sudan’s Defence Minister, Angelina Teny reiterated the need to finalize security arrangements, including reaching agreement on the command structure of armed forces, which is critical to stabilization and improving the lives of communities across the country.

She called on the UN and international partners to prioritize support for the peace process.

“This peace agreement is really in dire need of a revamping. It’s in dire need of resources. It’s in dire need of more attention so that it is implemented, so that South Sudan can come out of the list of countries always in need,” stressed Teny.

The visit by the top UN official was to breathe life into the stagnating peace process and to express the commitment of the world body to supporting the people of South Sudan as they transition from war to peace, recovery, and development.

After five years of civil war, the warring factions signed a peace deal in September 2018. Since then, political violence has significantly reduced although sporadic fighting continues at the community level, particularly in Western Equatoria and Warrap states.

(ST)