South Sudan: The Security Council must stay alert [fr]
South Sudan - Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 24 May 2017
I thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this meeting, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Shearer, for the analysis that he has provided to us. As Mr. Shearer pointed out, South Sudan is at a critical juncture, in which the hope of an improvement in the situation is unfortunately being threatened by a number of dangers and significant shortcomings in three areas.
First of all, with regard to security, the arrival of the rainy season should automatically reduce the level of fighting, just as it will ground helicopters and heavy equipment. However, we cannot say that the situation will improve. During the past three years of the conflict, we have seen that the rainy season only served to freeze the situation, with the fighting starting back up as soon as the dry season returned. We must remember that the outbreak of violence last year in Juba took place in July. We are therefore not immune to fresh violence or crises in the months to come. Moreover, in recent years the parties have not failed to use the rainy season to rearm. That is a constant in South Sudan. We must act to prevent such actions, which only feed the conflict. The imposition of an arms embargo would help in that regard.
The second issue is the humanitarian situation and the difficulties faced by the civilian population. South Sudan is experiencing a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe that is intensifying every day. In recent weeks, for example, fighting has continued to have an intolerable impact on civilians. We have seen it particularly in Upper Nile state. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has had to face many challenges in its efforts to provide assistance to the many displaced persons, and we would like to commend its efforts in that regard, as well as those of all humanitarian workers in South Sudan.The spread of the cholera epidemic, highlighted by Mr. Shearer, is a real risk, while famine, or the risk of famine, continues to plague some areas of the country. In that context, the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access remain priorities, including during the rainy season. The parties must commit themselves unconditionally to those points, and UNMISS must be able to fully implement its mandate to protect civilians. More than nine months after its creation, the Regional Protection Force has finally begun to deploy, faced with the many obstacles that have been placed in its way there. It can contribute to the better protection of civilians. The authorities in South Sudan must allow for the full deployment of the force, without hindrance.
Thirdly and finally, the political process is also at a critical juncture. While the implementation of the peace agreement remains at a standstill, the opening of national dialogue can nurture the hope that the various constituents of South Sudanese society will finally be able to tackle the country’s many problems. In order to achieve that, national dialogue must be conducted in a transparent, impartial and independent manner. In order to meet the objectives assigned to it, it is also essential that that dialogue be fully inclusive, including all political sensitivities, as well as civil society. Those actors should be able to maintain an unrestricted and fear-free dialogue, with respect for civil liberties. President Kiir’s directive to security services to stop the harassment of opponents is encouraging. We hope that it will be implemented fully.
The mobilization of the international community remains essential to efforts to accompany, encourage and facilitate the political process with a view to achieving progress in the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. President Museveni’s presence in Juba in recent days is an important sign of regional mobilization. We hope that it will help to convince South Sudanese actors to move forward on the road to peace. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, the United Nations and bilateral and multilateral partners in South Sudan must remain fully mobilized and fully coordinated, in order to move the process forward. That is essential. In that regard, we welcome and support the efforts of the Special Representative, and those of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Haysom, to ensure that the international community speaks with one voice. For its part, the Council must continue to remind South Sudanese actors that they must work to make the necessary progress to get their country out of the conflict. We must remind them of our expectations, rally the parties to action and, if necessary, consider imposing sanctions on spoilers to the peace process. Here we welcome the one-year renewal of the sanctions regime that which we unanimously adopted this morning. Given the current challenges, the Council must keep a close eye on South Sudan. It must ensure that the actions expected of South Sudanese stakeholders, as set forth in the presidential statement of 25 March, are taken.
The coming months can be an opportunity to take strides towards peace, failing which the experience of past years will be repeated and violence will resume. Mr. Iliichev (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): We thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Shearer, for the information he provided on the situation in South Sudan. We pay due tribute to our colleagues from the Secretariat, who have yet again presented a balanced assessment of the situation in their monthly report. We note the deployment of the advance team of the Regional Protection Force (RPF), which began in May. It is our understanding that the general timetable for deployment is being adjusted, but that is not the fault of the South Sudanese. Juba has remained constructive regarding the matter of the RPF, as demonstrated by the Government’s decision to provide land parcels for the deployment of the force. We call upon the Secretariat to continue to engage with Juba so as to resolve all pending issues in connection with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including the creation of mechanisms for the swift resolution of visa issues and the definition of arrangements for the deployment of the RPF while upholding the basic principles of peacekeeping. We share the concern of colleagues regarding the disastrous humanitarian situation in the country and note the efforts made by the United Nations to improve it. We appeal to all sides in South Sudan to ensure conditions conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need, and we welcome the measures taken by the Government to provide humanitarian access to food-insecure regions.We would be remiss were we not to note the assistance provided to South Sudan by neighbouring countries, in particular the Sudan, which has opened border crossing points, and Uganda, which is hosting a significant number of refugees from South Sudan. We would like also to emphasize that the root causes of the famine in a number of provinces in South Sudan are not just human-induced. In some areas, just like in neighbouring Somalia and Kenya, famine is due to adverse weather conditions. Representatives of international humanitarian organizations have spoken about this issue as well. We share the view that stabilization in South Sudan is possible only if a full cessation of hostilities is ensured and an inclusive political process launched. In this regard, we welcome Salva Kiir’s announcement, in the framework of the implementation of the peace agreement, to conduct nationwide dialogue. We also welcomed the recent oath-taking by members of the executive committee. It is our hope that the Government and the opposition will take measures to make this process more inclusive.
We welcome Salva Kiir’s declaration of a cessation of hostilities. We hope that this decision will be implemented and call upon the opposition to take analogous measures. We note the personal efforts of the Secretary-General, António Guterres, to find a solution in South Sudan. We support the African Union-United Nations-Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) coordination initiative aimed at ensuring peace, stability and security in South Sudan. It is our hope that in the near future this cooperation will take shape on the ground. It is encouraging to note that more active and coordinated efforts are being made by regional players for a settlement in South Sudan. We hope that the UNMISS working group on hate speech will continue to work effectively. We would like to remind colleagues of the relevant provisions of resolution 2327 (2016), namely, on the need to curb such incitement on their territories through the use of social networks. Given the general situation in the country, the Russian delegation today supported the adoption of Security Council resolution 2353 (2017), which extends the sanctions regime against South Sudan. Our position regarding a hardening of sanctions measures has not changed. Solid peace in South Sudan is not going to be brought about by a Security Council arms embargo but, rather, by progress towards a political solution as well as by targeted measures for the disarmament of civilians and the demobilization and reintegration of combatants. We also believe that there is a need to heed the views of regional leaders to the effect that discussions on the levying of additional restrictions on Juba would be untimely.
Against this backdrop, we call attention to the duplicity of the approaches of certain colleagues who in this Chamber loudly champion an arms embargo, but, outside of it, bring pressure to bear on the independent experts of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2206 (2015) concerning South Sudan who are investigating their possible involvement in providing weapons to South Sudan.