South Sudan: The situation is getting worse every day
South Sudan – Security Council visit to Washington D.C. - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 25 April 2017
May I say a word about South Sudan.
The situation there is getting worse every day across the board. Violence intensifies and spreads in many parts of the country, the humanitarian situation is a catastrophe, UNMISS is threatened and some humanitarian staff were murdered in the last few weeks. This is totally unacceptable. That’s why the meeting that we are about to have is important.
What the Council needs to do, we believe, is at least two things:
Number one: making sure that civilians are protected. That’s the number one priority. It means pressuring South Sudanese parties to stop their fighting and implement the cease fire, which is not the case today. It also means ensuring humanitarian aid gets through and it means supporting UNMISS. And we also continue to believe, more than ever actually, that an arm embargo is absolutely necessary.
And the second thing that we need to do is to make sure that all actors – IGAD, the African Union, the UN – roll up their sleeves to bring the government and the other parties back to the negotiating table. The framework of the peace in South Sudan is well know, it’s the 2015 agreement. But parties are not committed to it, and they need to be committed to it. This is the key change that we need to promote.
And with respect to the UN, we welcome and fully support the Secretary General’s personal commitment and believe it can make a real difference indeed.
Q: Do you see aid getting in and problems with aid getting in? Is there anything that the UN can do?
Well obviously, that is one of our priorities. As I mentioned, the humanitarian aid is simply not getting through, which is completely unacceptable. That is one of our top priorities, absolutely.
Q: Do you see any change in the opponents of either an arms embargo or sanctions in the wind?
That’s a very good question. Frankly, we consider that’s one of the keys to success in south Sudan and that’s why we push hard in this direction. As you know, our position has always been very clear on this. We believe that this is more important than ever in order to make a difference. Whether some of our colleagues are changing their positions is not up to me to say. But yes, this is one of the keys to improving the situation in south Sudan.
Q: Ambassador, about your visit to Washington, I’ll ask two questions. The first one: we heard the President’s comments about the UN budget: do you hear any assurances that he will not cut drastically the US aid to the United Nations? And the second question is about Iran, about confronting Iran in influencing the region: did they give you any briefing about any possible strategy to reducing Iranian influence in the region?
The two topics were part of the discussion of course, but it’s not up to me to speak for the American President. Again, we had yesterday, thanks to Nikki Haley, an exceptional and important visit to Washington with a warm welcome and in-depth discussions. And we are very grateful to the American leadership and Nikki Haley in particular for making this visit possible. And again it is not up to me to speak for the American administration, please ask my friend Nikki.
Q: Ambassador, will you be starting work on a new North Korea sanctions resolution? The President seemed to suggest yesterday that needed to be done, is there any discussion about starting work on one?
Again, I don’t want to speak on behalf of the President, but the message of President Trump on North Korea was loud and clear and it is an important message, absolutely. The next step, as you know, is the ministerial meeting, on Friday, if I am not mistaken. So we’ll see with respect to the substance of things. You know France’s position : we are on the firm side and we believe that we must maximize pressure on the leadership of North Korea, with one difficulty which is the fact that we have to deal with a leader whose behavior is irrational, but whose goal is very rational, which is to promote across the board a nuclear program. And that’s why we have to answer both at the same time, the irrational behavior and the rational goal.