National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on UNMISS
National Statement on behalf of Sweden, Ambassador Carl Skau, at the Security Council briefing on UNMISS. Wednesday, 24 May 2017, New York.
Let me begin by joining others in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer, for his comprehensive briefing.
We also welcome the Council's decision today to extend the restrictive measures imposed by resolution 2206 related to South Sudan. It is important that the members of the Panel of Experts are reappointed without delay so that they can continue their important work.
The dire political, security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains of great concern. Despite repeated calls from IGAD, the AU and this Council, little progress has been made in finding a solution to the conflict. While we welcome the declaration on a unilateral ceasefire by President Kiir on Monday of this week, we must now make every effort to ensure that this time his commitments are honoured and implemented. The region and the Security Council should agree to monitor the situation closely and hold the South Sudanese Government and other relevant actors to account. We should all make it very clear that there is no time for playing games, and that there will be consequences if agreements are breached.
It should by now be obvious to all that there is no military option and that only a political solution can resolve the conflict and bring peace to South Sudan. We therefore, once again, call on all parties to come to the table. A national dialogue could be an important way forward, but only if it is genuinely inclusive and led by impartial convenors at all levels. And there cannot be a meaningful political process unless the fighting is brought to an end.
While it is unfortunate the Regional Protection Force (RPF) has been significantly delayed, we welcome that it is now being deployed and we hope that it will soon be fully operational. This force should contribute to giving the necessary political space to allow the parties to engage in a meaningful political process; but we also agree with the Secretary-General that "neither the RPF nor UNMISS is a panacea to this crisis", only a political process is.
The need to address the humanitarian situation, including ending all obstacles to relief efforts grows more pressing by the day. The Secretary-General's report illustrates how the upswing in violence against aid workers has had a severe impact on humanitarian operations. This includes detentions, threats, physical assaults and killings.
Such behaviour is simply unacceptable and is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Humanitarian principles must be respected. Rapid, safe, and unhindered delivery of relief across South Sudan must be assured. We pay tribute to the United Nations and its humanitarian partners for their efforts in this difficult environment. We also commend the intensified efforts to prevent a large-scale cholera outbreak.
The international community owes it to the people of South Sudan to engage with renewed commitment and urgency. We welcome the intensified efforts now underway by the region, including the recent visit by President Museveni of Uganda to Juba earlier this week. The world looks to the AU and IGAD to take the lead in efforts to set out a roadmap for peace. The Security Council must remain united in support of these regional efforts and contribute to ensuring that commitments are being implemented. Important decisions, such as the joint declaration at the AU Summit in January, the IGAD communiqué of 24 March and the clear steps outlined by this Council in its Presidential Statement of 23 March, must be followed up upon and implemented.
We therefore call for continued close cooperation and coordination between the UN, AU and IGAD in these efforts. We commend the leadership shown by the Secretary-General and encourage him to continue play an active role. In this regard, we would welcome the inclusion in his next report of more concrete proposals on a way forward, including on how the UN can best support the region in facilitating an inclusive political process.
There can be no more business as usual on South Sudan. There should be no illusions – our commitment and engagement must be there for the long term. But let's in short term seize on the recent commitments made by the Government, and build on the sense of renewed urgency in the region, including from Uganda and Kenya, to push for a solution. We must do all that we can to bring this conflict to an end, that is our collective responsibility.