President of the Security Council;
- I would like to thank the President of the Security Council, the British Foreign Secretary, Right Honorable Boris Johnson, for his kind invitation to brief you all today. I would also like to thank the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, for his accurate and detailed description of the current situation in South Sudan.
- I do not intend to cover the same ground within what little time we have. Suffice to say that, in the eight months since the outbreak of violence last July, the security, economic and humanitarian situation in South Sudan has steadily deteriorated to an unacceptable level.
- The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism now report deliberate, planned conflict between the main Parties to the Agreement. The SPLA-IG and the SPLA-IO loyal to Dr. Riek Machar, as well as other emerging armed groups, engage in the destruction of lives and communities in total violation of the ceasefire.
- Across the board, there is a heightened sense of alarm over the fact that the situation is slipping out of control. It is time now for the international community to condemn in the strongest terms the violence, the killings, the human rights abuses and the destruction of homes. We must now stand together to do something about it.
- Whether by design or default, a war is being waged around South Sudan and I wish to spell out the three defining questions that we all face right now.
- How do we stop the fighting? How do we stop innocent people dying of starvation? And how do we ensure that the interests and concerns of all South Sudanese communities are fully represented and considered? Peace, relief and inclusivity.
- These three issues are wholly interconnected. The humanitarian crisis, now officially a famine, is the direct result of insecurity and armed violence perpetrated by all Parties to the Agreement.
- This insecurity and armed violence is a direct result of the perception and reality of political exclusion from the peace process.
- And therefore, only when all the people and communities of South Sudan see that their interests and concerns are being addressed, can peace return to this country, and the people return to normal life.
- There can never be a military solution in South Sudan; nor can a military or political regime be imposed upon any one side by any other. To find a genuine and durable political solution, the South Sudanese leadership must be willing to listen, accommodate and compromise.
- In the interim, we must urgently look again at all possible practical measures that we can take to alleviate the desperate suffering that millions of people are facing every day. Women especially have suffered the greatest injustices and born the greatest burden of conflict, and all Parties to the Agreement are failing in their basic duty to protect the South Sudanese people.
- The international community must acknoweldge that since the events of July 2016, a split in the SPLM/IO has resulted in two clear opposition factions: one loyal to Dr. Riek Machar which is still fighting and has been excluded from all Agreement Institutions, and the other loyal to General Taban Deng Gai, who are cooperating with the Government.
- I have had important discussions with the President of South Sudan primarily focused on the National Dialogue initiative, and the need for it to be genuinely and sincerely inclusive, not simply a discussion with those who agree with the Government.
- I reiterate my view that the National Dialogue must be authentic, autonomous and impartially-led for it to be credible and deliver a reliable representation of all views and concerns. A National Dialogue conducted in this fashion would contribute to the pursuit of the peace process in the spirit of the Agreement.
- I remain of the firm conviction that the Peace Agreement remains the only viable framework through which to recover the peace process, drive inclusive engagment and re-establish momentum. However hard it may be, I urge all Parties, Guarantors and Partners to continue to support the Peace Agreement and the implementation of its provisions.
- With regard to the implementation of the Agreement, I can report only modest progress:
- The National Constitution Amendment Committee started slowly but is now on course to complete the review of the Constitution before the end of this month.
- CTSAMM is monitoring and investigating violations of the ceasefire but is regularly denied freedom of movement by all armed groups.
- The Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, the Joint Integrated Police and the Strategic Defence and Security Review Board continue to develop their plans very slowly but, as stated earlier, to the exclusion of the SPLM/IO (Machar).
- I have called upon the TGoNU to demonstrate commitment to these Agreement Institutions by providing the required resources and facilities and accelerating delivery. I encourage the regional and international partners to support them.
- Beyond the establishment of the Technical Committee for the National Consultative Process for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTHR), there has been no further progress on establishing Chapter Five mechanisms and institutions. I have yet to hear from the African Union Commission on the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.
- These are matters of great concern. Given the escalation of the conflict, progress towards Chapter Five mechanisms is needed now more than ever before and I appeal to all Parties to move with haste to enable their swift establishment.
- Finally, my recommendation is that we, the international community, must:
- demand peace and the total cessation of violence around the country with one voice;
- activate the immediate deployment of the Regional Protection Force and support the implementation of Chapter II Transitional Security Arrangements;
- demand the full and credible inclusion of all Parties and stakeholders in the peace process;
- constantly encourage the TGoNU to conduct a genuinely inclusive and impartial National Dialogue;
- endeavour to achieve an immediate improvement of the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and
- ensure a renewed effort to create the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and thereby establish the mechanism for the prosecution of those who perpetrate atrocities and human rights abuses.
- In conclusion, therefore, and in the face of an ever-worsening situation, I believe that only a resolute and unified approach by IGAD, the African Union, United Nations and the international community as a whole can restore hope to the people of South Sudan.
- Thank you, Mr President.