France welcomes the bilateral rapprochement between Sudan and South Sudan [fr]
Statement by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political Coordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 24 October 2019
At the outset, I wish to thank Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Mr. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga for their briefings.
1/ I would like to begin by commending the bilateral rapprochement between the Sudan and South Sudan, particularly President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leading role in launching the Sudanese peace talks that took place last week.
We are also pleased that, during their meeting in Juba on 12 September, Prime Minister Hamdok and President Kiir decided to strengthen their bilateral relations, especially with regard to their shared border. The will of the Sudanese Prime Minister to restore relations between the border populations is very encouraging.
This new situation inspires hope that the Abyei issue will finally be addressed with a view to achieving a political solution negotiated between the two Governments, which is the only way to prevent this dispute from becoming an endless frozen conflict.
The holding of a meeting of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism on 2 October constitutes a step forward in that direction.
We hope that both countries will continue along that path.We call upon the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa to fully support the resumption of the political dialogue on Abyei and the demarcation of the border. We also encourage the African Union High-level Implementation Panel for Sudan to throw its full weight behind convincing the parties to move forward.
2/ In this encouraging context, it is essential that the decisions of the Security Council regarding the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) finally be implemented.
France encourages the Sudanese authorities to authorize, as soon as possible, the deployment of police contingents, as decided by the Council last year. The new police forces should enable UNISFA to curb crime, particularly in the Amiet common market, and prevent the escalation of intercommunal tensions that we have witnessed, which are often linked to cattle raiding.
It is also important that South Sudan cooperate in good faith in the joint establishment of the Abyei police service and that the two countries convene a meeting of the Joint Committee.
3/ Finally, we support the strengthening of the civilian component of the mission.
We support the Secretary-General’s recommendation to deploy a political section within UNISFA. That is essential to allow the mission to actively support the dialogue between the parties, particularly at the local level. It would also enable the mission to better prevent local conflicts and enhance cooperation with the African Union High-level Implementation Panel. We also ask that the Sudan, in the same spirit, accept the appointment of a civilian deputy head of mission, as decided by the Council in May.
With regard to a broader UNISFA mandate, we understand the rationale suggested by the Secretariat, which advocates giving the mission and the Sudanese authorities more time to implement UNISFA’s reconfiguration, which was decided last year. We are ready to positively consider that recommendation with the other members of the Security Council.
In conclusion, I would like to commend, as did my American colleague, the work of the Ethiopian troops that stabilize the situation in Abyei and along the border between the Sudan and South Sudan on a daily basis.