JUBA – The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has called to support the peace implementation process stressing that doubts should be put aside and to give South Sudanese leaders a chance.
In a video briefing from Juba to the UN Security Council on Wednesday 4 March, UNMISS chief David Shearer hailed the decision of President Salva Kiir to revert to the ten states saying he did it “against the wishes of many of his many supporters”.
He also praised the courageous decision of the First Vice-President Riek Machar for his return to Juba “despite transitional security arrangements not yet in place”.
“The progress is attributable to the political willingness of two men who put the interests of their country first,” he stressed.
However, he said the national unity government is facing daunting challenges that require the support of the international community and the inaction may contribute to the peace implementation process.
“The doubters telling us we have been here before. But It’s also important to acknowledge these are changed circumstances,” he said.
“The international community will likely lean on the side of caution wary of repeating past mistakes. That’s fair. But neither can we totally step back to wait to see what happens before making a commitment”.
“Our actions can push South Sudan further toward sustainable peace; our inaction can help condemn it to failure”.
The strong call for international support to the national unity government and the implementation of the revitalized peace pact follows statements on 27 February by a senior State Department official who said they prefer to verify first how the peace partners will work.
“So everyone’s looking to see: Will this new unity government work? Will it remain an inclusive and unified government? What will their work habits be?” He said before adding they want to be certain the peace partners “work collaboratively”.
The Troika countries and Washington particularly refused to contribute to the funding of the implementation of the security arrangements in the past saying that Juba should use of oil income.
Shearer’s speech recalls the calls for support for the revitalized peace agreement by the former UN special envoy for South Sudan Nicholas Haysom who struggled to convince the international community to back its implementation and the security arrangements particularly.
Shearer in his speech identified some areas that require immediate support pointing to the lack of means to implement the costly process of the national army formation, and the precarious humanitarian situation caused by a combination of three factors: floods, locusts and tribal violence.
The South Sudanese Ambassador to the United NationsAkuei Bona Malwal, for his part, welcomed the latest report of the UN Secretary-General report and indicated that the president and his first vice president are holding discussions “on how to divide the ministerial portfolios equitably”.
“And, Mr President, the people of South Sudan are on standby to hear the imminent announcement of the new cabinet of national unity any time from now,” he added.