JUBA – Political instability in South Sudan is likely to affect neighboring Sudan from which it seceded in July 2011, said Nicholas Haysom, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday.
He made the remarks during a press conference in the UNMISS compound in Juba after he visited the Unity State capital, Bentiu to assess the current flood situation.
“It is an important issue that has been in our minds. South Sudan and Sudan are linked in many ways including through their history. But they have been particularly linked in support of each other’s peace agreement and that support has extended to providing facilitation. And we know that, until Prime Minister Hamdok was detained, he was playing a role in helping resolve some of the Chapter Two issues but that stopped when he was detained,” explained Haysom.
The top UN official explained that the two countries are not only linked by history but also peace agreements which they mediated and provided leadership roles.
He said the detention of Sudan’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Hamdok by the military in October greatly undermined his role as the civilian leader of the country.
“We are anxious that the absence of support from Sudan might slow down the implementation of the peace agreement. But that could just be one aspect in which the developments in Sudan could affect South Sudan. There is also the oil from Port Sudan which could be affected if the developments turned again in Sudan,” said Haysom.
According to the UN chief, UNMISS will continue supporting the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan to implement their respective peace agreements, like the Juba Peace Agreement and Khartoum Peace Agreement.
“For stability reasons, we would want to see the Sudanese reach an agreement that would allow them to continue their march towards democracy and prosperity without wanting to comment on what that might be,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan expressed concerns over the dire humanitarian situation in parts of Bentiu, Unity State due to flooding.
“I was yesterday in Bentiu witnessing firsthand the dramatic way in which the floods have affected hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Yesterday as I travelled to Jonglei to see firsthand the impact of floods on communities as well as the work the UN family is doing to assist, I can only describe the situation as dire,” said Haysom.
He added, “Floodwaters are not receding and hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced and in desperate need of assistance.”
More than 800,000 people, the UN said, have been severely affected by the worst floods, particularly in South Sudan’s Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.