UNSC Emergency Visit To South Sudan

This article was last updated on May 27, 2022

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The current President of the Council Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, was accompanied by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Designate to South Sudan, Ms. Ellen Margrethe Loj and Deputy Special Representative (Political), Raisedon Zenenga. The delegation also included the U.S Ambassador to United Nations (UN), Ms. Samantha Power and the Rwandan Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Eugene Richard Gasana.

Speaking to journalists upon arrival, Ambassador Power said that their visit was in response to the alarming reports that arms were coming into South Sudan to set the stage for more battles when the dry season begins. The visit comes in the wake of repeated breeches of Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreements signed in January and May this year.

Ambassador Power said that their visit was bring home to the country’s leadership the importance of following through on commitments to form a transitional governing body in the run up to elections.

“There is no military solution to what ails South Sudan,” she said. “It is important that all parties live by this message the killing is continuing, notwithstanding the fact that a Cessation of Hostilities agreement has been signed.”

She said the Security Council, which played an important role in the run up to South Sudan’s independence, was “prepared to impose consequences if there continued to be people carrying out gross violations of human rights”. 

“We will engage Riek Machar as well and we will deliver a very tough message to him as well that the international community will not tolerate violations of the Cessation of Hostilities and that the people who commit violations against human rights must be held accountable,” said Ambassador Power.

The former Council President and Rwandese Ambassador, Mr. Eugene Richard Gasana, emphasised the importance of the visit in expressing the support of the UNSC to the ongoing political dialogue and peace process, under the leadership of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). He continued that the delegation wished to make clear to all parties that they should implement agreements that they signed.The UNSC delegation stressed that ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa must be taken seriously by both parties for the achievement of the lasting peace. Welcoming the delegation, South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, lauded the visit of the UNSC, assuring them of the government’s commitment in reaching a peaceful resolution.

UK Ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, asserted that the UNSC had expressed its readiness to consider, in consultation with relevant parties including IGAD and the African Union, all appropriate measures including targeted sanctions against those who take action that undermines the peace, stability and security of South Sudan, including those who prevent the implementation of agreements.

The delegation has planned to visit a Protection of Civilians (POC) site in Malakal in Upper Nile state (UNS). UNS, which contains South Sudan’s most significant oil deposits, has witnessed heavy and repeated fighting since December 2014. 

The town has changed hands repeatedly, resulting in the displacement of many thousands of the area’s ethnically-mixed citizens. Some of the displaced have crossed the border into neighbouring Ethiopia, whilst others remain as internally displaced persons (IDPs), both in the state and elsewhere in South Sudan.

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