South Sudan: France commends the parties on their spirit of compromise and dialogue [fr]
Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 4 March 2020
I wish to begin by warmly thanking Mr. David Shearer and Mrs. Betty Sunday for their very enlightening briefings and for their personal commitment to peace in South Sudan.
After two postponements, we are now pleased to be in a position to welcome the establishment of the Government of National Unity. France commends the parties on their spirit of compromise and dialogue and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union on their steadfast commitment to the process.
An important milestone has now been reached, but the process of building a lasting peace remains lengthy. The parties must appoint various ministers as well as governors and members of the legislative body. There is also a need for the effective, full and meaningful participation of women and young people. In that regard, the quota for women set out in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan must be fully upheld.
It is now incumbent upon the Transitional Government to expeditiously implement the reforms agreed under to the agreement, specifically security-sector reform, transitional justice, accountability for governors and transparency in public finance. The Sudanese people must be able to freely express their aspirations to peace in an open political space. Respect for basic freedoms for journalists and all citizens is paramount.
Strengthening trust must be the watchword during this transitional stage. Only respect for the commitments undertaken under the agreement can reweave a social fabric rent by years of conflict. Trust should be rebuilt at the leadership level but also at the local community level. In that regard, we welcome the work done by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to pre-empt local conflict and to work towards intercommunal reconciliation.
France encourages the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and South Sudan’s main partners to remain fully mobilized during this transition stage. Transitional stages, as is well known, are precarious ones, and the parties will require ongoing robust attention on the part of the international community so as not to deviate from the course charted by the peace agreement. In that respect, I welcome the decisive role played by the Community of Sant’Egidio in the achievement of a rapprochement among the non-signatory armed groups and the Government.
It is high time that the South Sudanese people finally be able to enjoy the dividends of peace. We are aware of the tragic humanitarian situation and of the fact that people’s needs have not diminished. I call upon all parties to provide safe and unhindered humanitarian assistance to all people in need of it. That requires the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel as well as civilian infrastructure.
Ms. Betty Sunday’s briefing underscored once again the crucial importance of continuing to fight against sexual violence and to protect children from the grave violations to which they are been subjected. The establishment of the hybrid court set up under the agreement, with support from the African Union, should help to counter impunity and contribute to reducing such violence.
We are preparing to renew the mandate of UNMISS at a time when encouraging progress is being achieved, but the situation remains fragile and uncertain. We therefore believe that it is reasonable to maintain unchanged the format and the mandate of the Mission for this year. Next year, if the peace process continues to make headway, we could revisit the mandate to reflect the new context so as to provide optimal support to the peacebuilding stage.
France fully supports the efforts undertaken to increase the mobility of the Mission and enable it to best deliver on its civilian-protection mandate. In this regard, it is vital for the Mission to have freedom of movement throughout the entire territory of South Sudan. My delegation also encourages the Mission to persevere in its efforts to strengthen the South Sudanese justice system, particularly through mobile justice courts.
Finally, my country extends its gratitude to the Blue Helmets and the police and civilian personnel deployed in UNMISS as well as to all humanitarian actors present in South Sudan, who, under difficult circumstances, are providing vital support to the South Sudanese population.