Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNMISS
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), 20 July 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking ASG Wane and Chairperson Mogae for their comprehensive briefings to the Council this morning.
The political, security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains deeply concerning. The ongoing conflict continues to have a profound impact on the people of South Sudan, with almost 2 million people having fled the country and half of the remaining population in need of assistance. As has been said before, a political solution is the only way to resolve the conflict and to end the suffering of the South Sudanese people. We must redouble our efforts to this end.
In this regard, we welcome recent initiatives by South Sudan's neighbours, in particular the decision by IGAD to convene a High-Level Revitalization Forum and the approval by the IGAD Council of Ministers of a detailed timeline to implement this decision. This Forum should help move the parties towards a permanent ceasefire and a credible political process. We also welcome efforts by Uganda and President Museveni, as well as by the African Union in supporting the process. The commitment by IGAD to engage all parties, including estranged groups and other stakeholders, is particularly important. Let me take this opportunity to also underscore the need to strengthen the role and participation of women in this process.
At the same time, we are deeply concerned that, in spite of these regional efforts, and the repeated declarations by president Kiir of a unilateral ceasefire, reports of intensive fighting continue. Recent confrontations around Pagak and Torit are particularly worrying and illustrates that the SPLA has launched new offensive operations, calling into question the political will to finding a peaceful solution. We call for all parties to immediately lay down their arms and to adhere to the ceasefire, as this Council has stressed many times. While this is foremost a humanitarian imperative, there can never be a meaningful political process unless the fighting is brought to an end.
In face of these latest developments, it is essential that the Security Council remains unified and reinforces the intensified regional efforts. We have called for an end to the violence and impunity; increased humanitarian access; for UNMISS to be able to do its work; and for support for implementation of the peace agreement. It has to be made clear that we intend to follow through on our decisions.
Our efforts should also continue to be well coordinated with the region. We look forward to the visit by the IGAD Council of Ministers to Juba next week. This will be an important opportunity to engage the parties on the need to immediately adhere to a ceasefire, to facilitate humanitarian access and engage in a meaningful political process. Today's meeting should provide the IGAD delegation with our full support and backing.
The humanitarian situation, particularly in terms of food security, continues to worsen. Meanwhile, humanitarian access is becoming more restricted, with one hundred humanitarian access incidents reported in June – the highest number recorded in one month so far in 2017. Further humanitarian financing is needed, and humanitarian access must remain a key priority.
We commend UNMISS for responding swiftly to ensure the protection of civilians in South Sudan. As outlined in the Secretary-General's report "women, girls and children have borne the brunt of the crisis." We encourage UNMISS to continue to respond proactively to those particularly vulnerable, including to address sexual and gender based violence. We commend Special Representative Shearer for engaging the Government in operationalising the proposed "one-stop-shop" to ensure that UNMISS can operate effectively, and we call on the Government to swiftly establish this mechanism.
The longer this conflict is allowed to continue the harder the road for recovery, reconciliation and peace, will be. The leadership being shown by regional actors deserves our active support, as a united, proactive and assertive effort towards peace is long overdue.