“Sudans” high priority for peacekeeping, says new chief

4 Nov 2011

“Sudans” high priority for peacekeeping, says new chief

3 November 2011 -- With a third of all peacekeepers worldwide working in Sudan and South Sudan, the two countries were high up on the UN agenda, the new head of the organization's peacekeeping operations said today in Juba.

Speaking at UNMISS headquarters on his visit to the area, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous noted that the "Sudans" had also received much attention from the Security Council.

"The choice was obvious, I had to come," said Mr. Ladsous, who took up his appointment a month ago. "I (also) wanted to see as quickly as possible what peacekeeping is like nowadays."

Earlier today in Juba, the Under-Secretary-General met with several senior UNMISS, government and military officials, including South Sudanese Vice-President Riek Machar.

Over the past week, Mr. Ladsous said he had been to Khartoum, Darfur and Abyei. He would spend two days in South Sudan and then fly to Addis Ababa. " I will finish my trip in Addis Ababa because (there is) ... a strong partnership between the UN and the African Union."

On his trip to Abyei, Mr. Ladsous said he was very impressed with the "splendid" work the mission was doing there under difficult conditions. "They have done a wonderful job of rebuilding the bridge at Banton."

He stressed that action was needed on all fronts of the three missions in Sudan and South Sudan (Darfur, Abyei and South Sudan). "We have to make progress on the protection of the civilians who find themselves in regions of conflict and violence. We have to push the peace process in Darfur. We have to watch very carefully and encourage Khartoum and Juba to further work on the relationship between the two countries."

In fulfilling its mandates, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed cooperation from both governments, Mr. Ladsous said. "We are here to help, so help us to help you."

The Under-Secretary-General was scheduled to meet South Sudanese President Salva Kiir the following day in Akon, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State. "We are going to discuss mainly the relationship between the North and the South, about Abyei and generally about the support we are bringing and must continue to bring to this government."

Mr. Ladsous brings a wealth of experience to his new post, having held a broad range of positions in France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most recently, he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador to China.