EU ambassadors assess conditions in Akobo

22 Aug 2013

EU ambassadors assess conditions in Akobo

20 August 2013 - To review security and humanitarian conditions in Akobo County, Jonglei State, a group of European Union ambassadors visited the area today.

The visit, following up a trip they made to Pibor County two weeks ago, was aimed at better understanding security and development challenges of the Lou Nuer community.

Headed by Ambassador Sven Kuhn Von Burgsdorff (Germany), the delegation met with County Commissioner Koang Rambang Chol as well as representatives of the local community, non-governmental organizations and the organized forces to discuss security, development, girl child education and early marriage.

During the meetings, Lou Nuer and Anyuak elders told the delegation they would do their utmost to maintain peace and stability in the region, Ambassador Von Burgsdorff said. "Everybody agrees that there is no alternative to peace, and the cycle of violence and vicious revenge and retaliation has to stop as soon as possible."

The ambassador added that communities must first enter into open dialogue to continue last year's Jonglei peace conference.

"I got a feeling from the Anyuak and the Lou Nuer communities that they are ready to do engage themselves in peace dialogues," he said. "Peace and stability are certainly preconditions for development and communities should uphold them ... to have sustainable peace and livelihoods."

Ambassador Von Burgsdorff stressed that the Jonglei peace process conducted last year must be revitalized and strengthened, and communities must convince young people to hand over their arms.

The delegation comprised ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, representatives from the United States mission in South Sudan, head of the Office of Canada in South Sudan, UNMISS staff and James Apay, Chairperson of the Jonglei State Peace Commission.

UNMISS assisted the delegation with helicopter transport and liaised with local officials as well as communities about their visit.