South Sudan: Our mobilization is more necessary than ever [fr]
South Sudan - Security Council - Intervention of M. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Thursday 20 July 2017
I would like to thank the Chinese presidency for organizing this important meeting. I also wish to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, and the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, President Festus Mogae, for their commitment and enlightening briefings.
I would like to focus on two points.
First of all, our mobilization is more necessary than ever, given the suffering that is affecting more and more civilians.
Despite the rainy season, the fighting continues in South Sudan, with tragic consequences for civilians. The recent clashes around Pagak have led to more people fleeing their homes, thereby further increasing the flow of displaced persons and refugees. The humanitarian situation remains catastrophic. Although the state of famine has been lifted in certain areas of the country, the spectre of starvation and malnutrition still hangs over too many civilians. Women and children are always the first victims.
In that context, I would like to commend the efforts of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which has adopted a robust posture so as to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians. We call on it to continue working to that end, but the unacceptable obstacles to its efforts and to that of humanitarian workers are still too numerous. France vigorously condemns them.
The primary responsibility to protect civilians rests with the Government of South Sudan. We therefore call on it to do its utmost to ensure smooth cooperation with UNMISS and to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations and workers. That includes allowing access to all areas where civilians are at risk. Finally, almost a year after its establishment, the Regional Protection Force must also be allowed to deploy fully. We welcome the most recent positive developments in that regard, but there are still many challenges and bottlenecks that must be resolved.
The Council must also assume its responsibilities. We must ensure that a cessation of hostilities is concluded and implemented as soon as possible. We must also continue to seriously consider ways to reduce the level of violence in the country; France has long believed that an arms embargo would contribute to that goal.
Secondly, the encouraging signs on the political front must, with our support, be focused on and materialized.
Certain recent political developments offer grounds for hope that true political progress can take place. We welcome in particular the establishment, during the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers held on 2 July, of modalities and a timeline for the implementation of the high-level revitalization forum for the peace agreement in South Sudan. That decision should make it possible to fuel current efforts to relaunch the political process.
We also welcome the actions taken by various players in support of the political process. We commend the efforts of the IGAD Special Envoy, the High Representative of the African Union, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and, of course, yours, President Mogae, as well as those of Uganda and Kenya, whose initiatives should help move the peace process forward. France supports the efforts of all of these players, and it should be noted that effective coordination among them is a key condition for ensuring the success of their work.
This mobilization must make it possible to achieve progress in the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement, which remains the cornerstone of the political process. The national dialogue must be truly inclusive so as to create a positive and lasting dynamic.
Nor must we lose sight of the need to fight impunity or of the imperative of ensuring accountability for those who have committed human rights violations. This means establishing, as soon as possible, a hybrid court, with the African Union playing a leading role therein.
Summer 2015 was one of hope, with the signing of the peace agreement. Summer 2016 was one of disillusion and violence, with the Juba crisis in July. This summer must be one of sustainable progress; we owe it to the people of that country, who have suffered for far too long.