UK welcomes Kiir-Machar meetings, urges the Parties to keep up positive momentum
September 19th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-The United Kingdom’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amb. Jonathan Allen, at the Security Council briefing on South Sudan, has applauded face-to-face meetings between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman of the SPLM/A (IO).
“We very, very much welcome the meeting that took place between President Kiir and Dr Machar. This was a necessary step for the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and for the formation of a transitional government of national unity by the already extended 12 November deadline,” said Britain’s Deputy Ambassador Jonathan.
He expressed appreciation to both principals for making significant strides towards the implementation of the peace accord as the agreed November deadline draws near.
“And I commend both men and their teams for taking that crucial step forward. It is something which gives us hope here in this Council. That November deadline is fast approaching. And so I would urge today for both parties ensure that it was just the first of many meetings going forward – and soon.”
South Sudan’s protracted civil war has taken its toll on the population, and food used as a weapon of war.
“Mr President, we’ve discussed the conflict in South Sudan for some time now, and it has taken a huge toll on civilians in that country. During the worst of the conflict, we saw atrocities carried out against civilians. We saw attacks on humanitarian workers and health clinics. We saw food used and humanitarian assistance used as weapons of war.”
Amb. Jonathan explained that the response of the population to the signing of the peace agreement was encouraging and showed that the people of South Sudan yearn for peace to come in their country.
“It was a grim conflict for the people of South Sudan. And yet, since the peace agreement, I think one of the most inspiring things that I’ve seen in this Council has been the response of the people of South Sudan to that peace.
People came out in their hundreds, in their thousands to celebrate and welcome the decision made by their leaders. And I really believe that the people of South Sudan have set a real example in their country, in their region and to their own leaders about the importance of peace,” said the statement.
The UK diplomat underscored that the security situation remains volatile, and that the dignified return of the displaced population may not be possible.
“Communityaction, grassroots reconciliation is vital and it should be encouraged by all of us, all in the region and all in South Sudan.
The UK does not yet believe that conditions in South Sudan are conducive to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees. We need all parties now to play their part in establishing a secure environment for the people of South Sudan.”
Accountability and the creation of the much-needed Hybrid Court in South Sudan.
“Accountability will be a vital element of this. We urge the parties to the Revitalized Agreement to implement their commitments to establish transitional justice institutions and to sign the memorandum of understanding with the African Union to establish the hybrid court, which again, we’ve talked about in this Council for some time now, and surely it’s time now to see this coming into into place,” said UK Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan.
Adding that, “These institutions are desperately needed. We’ve heard from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict that reports of sexual violence increased in 2018 in an environment, I’m afraid to say, of near total impunity. The people of South Sudan need to see safety and security developing and credible action to end acts of sexual violence to ensure the protection of civilians. And they need to see the demilitarisation of towns and public buildings being taken forward.”
He appealed to the parties to allow safe passage for the UN peacekeepers and humanitarian agencies without restrictions.
“As such, all parties to the Revitalized Agreement need to allow UNMISS and humanitarian actors to carry out their work unimpeded. A further cease fire is held, which is to be very much welcomed. A serious humanitarian crisis remains. Six and a half million people suffer food insecurity; 1.7 million are on the edge of famine,” he added.
He reiterated the UK Government’s commitment to supporting the country’s vulnerable population.
“The UK remains one of the largest donors in South Sudan; we spend with $135 million in this financial year. That’s our national contribution. We give more through the European Union and through development assistance. And we remain committed to the people and the country. But all humanitarian actors must be able to play their part in helping the people of South Sudan to rebuild their country,” he noted.