Thank you SRSG Haysom for your briefing and for the hard work you and your team are doing in an increasingly challenging environment. Thanks also to Major General Gituai for your briefing and for the update from the PR of Gabon. We also welcome the presence of South Sudan.
Like others, we are deeply concerned by the escalating violence in Upper Nile and surrounding areas, including in and around the city of Kodok. Let me emphasise, it is the Government’s responsibility to protect civilians across South Sudan. It cannot choose to look away. It is crucial that armed interventions by state and national authorities are aimed at protecting civilians- including children- and preventing further violence.
We call on all armed actors to immediately cease the violence. South Sudan’s transitional leaders, as well as the political actors and community leaders in Jonglei and Upper Nile, bear responsibility for the violence, and for ending it. We urgently call on South Sudan’s transitional leaders to act now.
The Government must allow CTSAMVM to investigate the conflict, and hold those who continue to incite, and engage in violations, accountable.
We commend the efforts of the Humanitarian Community and UNMISS in response to the violence in Upper Nile- including in the protection of civilian sites in Malakal.
The key question however, is whether the current situation is sustainable. Especially considering the limited resources and capacity of UNMISS in parts of the state; and the lack of adequate and predictable interventions by the Government to protect civilians.
Last time we met, Norway supported the government’s commitment to a roadmap for the implementation of the peace agreement. Three months later, the parties are already behind their own timelines, including in the critical task of deploying the NUF. There is also little progress on other promises, such as fighting corruption and opening civic space.
South Sudan’s leaders must deliver the results they have promised – in accordance with the timelines in the roadmap - and do so by dedicating sufficient resources.
As this is my last meeting on South Sudan during our current tenure in the Council, allow me to end my statement with the following reflection:
We have, on many occasions, discussed the advantage of early action and preventive diplomacy, to save lives and reduce human suffering. A key challenge to the Council acting early, has been a lack of a shared understanding of the situation.
Since independence 11 years ago, South Sudan has been caught in a cycle of broken promises followed by armed conflict. That cycle continues today.
Without actual commitment from the government, there is a real risk that the Cease Fire and the Peace Agreement breaks down.
The region played a key role in the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005, as well as in the subsequent agreements in 2015 and in 2018.
And as guarantors to the peace agreement, the African Union, IGAD and regional and international development partners - such as my own country - should recognise that South Sudan is again at the brink of disaster.
We must use all tools at our disposal to prevent it. The people of South Sudan have suffered enough.