12 August 2016 - South Sudan : the new regional protection force can help for a cessation of hostilities [fr]
South Sudan/Extension of UNMISS mandate - Explanation of vote by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’affaires a.i. - Security Council - 12 August 2016
The Council has just adopted resolution 2304 (2016), which renews and modifies the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
The situation in South Sudan is one of the most serious that we are aware of at the present time. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are being committed on an almost unparalleled scale. Breaches of basic protection of civilians at imminent risk of a resumption of hostilities leave no choice but to react immediately. The resolution just adopted takes up the recommendations of the countries of the region, represented by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and endorsed by the African Union. That is a critical point for France and an example of cooperation between the competent regional organization, the African Union and the Security Council. The ongoing commitment and unity of the region will be decisive in settling the crisis.
However, the resolution that has just been adopted, while necessary, is only an immediate response to controlling the situation. In that respect, France has two comments to make.
First, the regional protection force and its 4,000 troops, who have just joined the 12,000 troops already deployed, can only help to create the conditions for a cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political dialogue. We pay tribute to the troop-contributing countries and their Blue Helmets. They will need the support of each and every one of us. However, this force is not a lasting response to the crisis and that is why France expects the authorities of South Sudan to fully cooperate with UNMISS and all the parties in finding a peaceful path to the crisis.
My second comment is that the resolution, as decisive as it may be, should have gone all the way by imposing an immediate arms embargo. That was what France wanted, given the gravity of the abuses. Had the embargo been imposed earlier, South Sudan would not have undergone this deterioration. The embargo could have been imposed immediately, as was pointed out, with a view to a cessation of hostilities and also to better preserve the security of the peacekeepers whom we are deploying. France will continue to call for the swift imposition of the embargo.
The Council’s unity and the inclusiveness of our discussion are crucial to the success of our action, given the seriousness of the crisis. The resolution is now ours. Although France regrets the absence of the embargo, France will provide all its support to the full implementation of this text, which is now ours.