Pakistan calls for backing South Sudan’s efforts towards consolidating peace

UNITED NATIONS: Despite inter-communal violence and insecurity in the populous north-eastern State of Jonglei, Pakistan has commended the progress made by South Sudan so far while also noting the many challenges facing the young nation, such as tackling insecurity and strengthening public institutions.

“Positive developments are taking place in South Sudan despite heavy odds,” Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan said in a Security Council discussion that followed a briefing on the situation in the country by Hilde Johnson, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who spoke to the 15-member body by video-link from the capital, Juba.

South Sudan became independent from Sudan on 9 July 2011, six years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north and the south. Over the past two years, UNMISS has been assisting the country in consolidating peace and security and helping to establish conditions for development.

The Pakistani envoy said the positive feedback about South Sudan was eclipsed by Ms. Johnson’s report about massive hostile mobilization in Jonglei and UNMISS’s relative incapacity to make an effective intervention. “UNMISS is playing its part to defuse tensions,” he said. “But the primary responsibility for addressing the situation rests with the

Government of South Sudan which should look into the root causes and lead the nation towards reconciliation.”

Ambassador Masood Khan called for supporting the young country, saying good relations between Sudan and South Sudan were a must for peace and stability in that region. “We need to reinforce this message till the realization seeps into both sides that they must remove the principal irritants and resolve the outstanding post-independence issues. Most importantly, the two sides should take steps to address deep-seated suspicions of cross-border support to proxies,” he said.

“Despite a mixed record, both sides have indeed shown overall improvement in relations and have remained engaged with each other through existing bilateral and regional mechanisms.”

Stating that Juba’s internal problems could not be attributed to external actors and factors, Ambassador Masood Khan said, “The inter-communal violence, especially in Jonglei, has grave security and humanitarian implications.

He called on the Security Council to reinforce its call to all armed groups to renounce violence and engage in peaceful political dialogue to address their grievances. “Efforts should be stepped up to build strong institutions and conduct political reform to prepare for the elections in 2015.”

The Pakistani envoy expressed grave concern at the threat to the safety and security of the UNMISS personnel and the numerous violations of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

“Investigations of attacks against the peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and civilian contractors should be expedited to bring perpetrators to justice”.