Fighting should end to give peace process in South Sudan a “better chance of success”
The conflict in South Sudan has to end in order to give the peace process in the country a “better chance of success” according to the most senior UN peacekeeping official.
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, made the comment during his first official visit to South Sudan after taking up his post in April.
On the first day of his three-day trip which began in the capital Juba, Mr Lacroix met with senior government officials including the First Vice-President Taban Deng, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Alor and the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lomuro as well as other ministers.
The Peacekeeping chief said that there was a “shared understanding” with the government that “actions and initiatives to advance peace are important” and that they have to be put in place “to accelerate the implementation of the Peace Agreement and bring sustainable peace” to the young nation.
Mr Lacroix underlined that the peace process could not move forward if fighting continued.
The UN peacekeeping chief commended efforts made by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, to revitalize the implementation of the Peace Agreement and to bring stakeholders together.
The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lomuro called his discussion with Mr Lacroix “very frank” telling him that “if the region, the African Union and the United Nations believe in peace in South Sudan, they should help stop those who are mobilizing for war in the country and misrepresenting the views of the people of South Sudan.”
The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013 and since then a humanitarian crisis has developed which has left more than 5.5 million people in need of aid. Some 1.7 million refugees have also fled to neighbouring countries.
“The UN is here to help move forward efforts to achieve peace in South Sudan and to help the people of South Sudan,” said Mr Lacroix. “UN humanitarian agencies are doing their best to help South Sudanese and we look forward to further cooperation with the Government so that we can access populations in distress wherever the needs are.”
On Wednesday, Mr Lacroix is expected to meet with President Salva Kiir to further discussions on the current security situation and to reinforce the importance of an inclusive political solution towards ending the ongoing conflict.
The peacekeeping chief is expected to visit Malakal in the north of the country, where the UN Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS) is protecting more than 30,000 internally displaced people living in its Protection of Civilians site.