Statement by the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), 23 June 2020
My delegation would like to express its gratitude to you for convening this meeting. We would also like to thank the briefers, Mr David Shearer, SRSG for South Sudan and Mr Edmund Yakani, human rights and peace activist for their comprehensive and useful briefings on the developments in South Sudan.
We commend you Mr Shearer and Mr Yakani and the UNMISS team for all the work you are doing to contribute to peace and stability in South Sudan amidst difficult conditions which have also been exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I will focus my intervention on the political process, the humanitarian situation and the operations of UNMISS.
On the political situation, South Africa would like to continue encouraging all parties to work in unison towards fulfilling the terms of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The current environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly presented a difficult dynamic to all, particularly in adapting to the pandemic itself, amidst pre-existing dire challenges. Consequently, we urge the government to be pragmatic and to stay steadfast in its pursuit of utilising all means necessary to address and complete the establishment of the mechanisms and committees provided for in the Agreement.
South Africa continues to emphasise the importance of the Revitalised Agreement (R-ARCSS) as the only mechanism which will assist in creating a conducive environment for engaging in constructive dialogue, and the democratic processes necessary, for working towards sustainable peace and development in South Sudan. We underscore that, only inclusive political dialogue, particularly, incorporating women, can move the country forward and ensure that the whole populace is represented.
Furthermore, South Africa encourages parties to work together to break the impasse over the allocation of state governorships. It’s crucial that the uptake in intercommunal violence is curbed as it will significantly undermine the progress that has already been made in stabilising the security situation in South Sudan. The commitment to the cessation of hostilities has enabled a lot of work to be done and saved a significant number lives.
As the international community, we have played a pivotal role in supporting South Sudan and we should continue to do so in a unified manner. This is especially given the impact of COVID-19 on the economic situation which has further constrained financial resources for the implementation of the Rejuvenated Agreement.
For our part, South Africa will continue to play a key role in supporting the peace process in South Sudan through the mediation efforts of President Ramaphosa as Chair of the African Union’s (AU) High Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan as well as Deputy President Mabuza, as the Special Envoy to South Sudan. Our efforts are geared towards complementing the processes of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
On the humanitarian situation, like many in this Council, we are concerned at the impact COVID-19 is having in the country, particularly on those living in the IDP camps. The need is now far greater than it was before.
Consequently, we urge international stakeholders to continue contributing to post-conflict reconstruction and development programmes and to support efforts to repatriate and resettle internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returning refugees in South Sudan, and to rebuild their community livelihoods. Further, we urge the government to provide the UN humanitarian agencies unfettered access to the vulnerable areas.
Lastly Madam President, on the operations of UNMISS, we would like to encourage the government to work closely with the Mission in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic responses. UNMISS continues to be a strong pillar of support for the government in attaining its peace and stability objectives. We appreciate the strong collaboration between UNMISS and the region, and underscore the importance of this collaboration.
I thank you.
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