I thank the briefers for their insights, and for providing the Council a much-needed reality-check regarding the current situation in South Sudan. And particular thanks to Ms Merekaje for concrete and constructive recommendations.
With only eight months left of the transitional period, the people of South Sudan need to see a fundamental shift in the approach by the parties to the Revitalized Agreement.
They need national leadership, not only in words but in deeds.
Delivering on the following three immediate priorities would demonstrate political will, and the parties commitment to fully implement the Revitalized Agreement:
First, the Necessary Unified Force (NUF) must be graduated.
These forces must be deployed, and sufficient resources must be allocated to their operations. This is necessary for the stabilisation of the country, and to break the cycle of subnational and intercommunal violence. As we have seen in Jonglei, armed groups have been fighting against each other for years in a series of revenge attacks - including again this spring. The presence of the Necessary Unified Force could help reduce tension between these groups by filling the current vacuum of national forces.
Second, the Government has long promised a clear Roadmap for the end of the transitional period.
One aimed at an inclusive constitution-making process, and making free and fair elections possible. The process towards this Roadmap should be broad-based and inclusive, and the outcome should be both realistic, but also ambitious. And it should start now. South Sudan cannot afford to lose more time.
Third, the Government should without delay provide the necessary funds to implement the peace agreement.
In particular towards security arrangements- they are key to progress on the constitutional process, and elections. Blaming slow implementation of the Peace Agreement on a lack of resources is not convincing. Oil revenues are increasing. Eliminating avenues for corruption, and increasing transparency and accountability will allow the Government to give a higher priority to implementing the Peace Agreement.
Following the slow implementation of the Peace Agreement, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan has gone from bad to worse. While humanitarian actors are working tirelessly to respond; depending on humanitarian actors to deliver almost all basic services is not sustainable.
Eleven years after independence, increased engagement and investments from the government’s side is still much needed to address the root causes of the protracted humanitarian crisis.
Improved capacity within UNMISS and the UN Country Team to coordinate triple nexus efforts, will also be necessary.
And we condemn the killing of humanitarian workers and the widespread looting and destruction of humanitarian aid. Negative political signals from the government towards NGOs trickle down to the local level and manifest in local officials’ efforts to impede critical operations.
We commend UNMISS and OCHA for their principled stance on these issues, and call on the Government of South Sudan to fully respect its obligations under international humanitarian law and the Revitalized Agreement.
We are also deeply concerned by the reported levels of conflict related sexual violence. We urge the Government to investigate allegations and hold perpetrators accountable. We also underline the importance of ensuring survivors have access to holistic care.
We acknowledge the Governments efforts towards establishing the ‘Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing’, and stress the ongoing need to implement the ‘Hybrid Court’ and the ‘Compensation and Reparation Authority’.
Protecting civilians, fighting impunity, and promoting Human Rights are essential features in building trust between the people and the authorities, and building sustainable peace. And thus, also providing the necessary political space and freedom for elections to be free, fair, and credible.
President, in conclusion,
Norway calls on the Government to provide a clear Roadmap for the end of the transitional period. And to demonstrate national ownership and leadership, including by investing increased oil-revenues in peace implementation, service delivery, and long-term development.