In meeting with Gogrial area Governor, UNMISS chief reiterates the mission’s support for the peace process
As the deadline for the pre-transitional period draws closer, following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, visited Kuajok in the Gogrial area, where he assured the authorities of UN support for the peace agreement.
“We’ve been very positive about the peace process, in terms of needing to get everyone behind it. We’ve been pushing hard for the international community to get behind it,” said the head of the UN Mission, stressing: “As I’ve said on a number of occasions, there’s no plan B; there’s only a plan A, and it’s this peace agreement. If this peace agreement can be realized and can happen, then we’ll have peace in South Sudan.”
During a meeting with Gogrial Governor Victor Atem Atem and his cabinet in Kuajok, Mr. Shearer urged parties to the revitalized peace agreement to speed up the implementation process in order to give way to recovery and development programmes in the country.
Shearer told Governor Atem and members of his cabinet that UNMISS would continue to provide technical support in the implementation of the Addis Ababa agreement, as the government galvanizes financial resources to move the process forward.
The head of UNMISS expressed happiness for the relative calm being enjoyed across the country even though there are still some sporadic inter-communal conflicts. He indicated that in the face of these isolated incidents, the majority of South Sudanese are willing to participate in the peace process.
He described his meeting with the Gogrial officials as successful, and said he had similar meeting with opposition groups in Wau and reminded them of the importance attached to implementing the revitalized peace agreement. He also said his meeting with opposition groups indicates positive progress in the implementation of the peace by both the Opposition and the Government.
“And it’s very encouraging when I go around the country – I was in Wau recently to meet with opposition leaders there, who are talking peace and genuine about wanting to have peace. The government is also engaging with them.”
Mr. Shearer had just visited Aweil and Wau on his tour of the Greater Bahr El Ghazal region, where he acknowledged the return of calm to the region.
The head of UNMISS, who also paid a courtesy visit to one of the mission’s Quick Impact Projects, the Mayen Gumel Primary School in Kuajok, expressed satisfaction over the level of high enrolment of girls in the school, noting “there is a saying that when you educate a girl, you educate the family.” He encouraged parents to invest in educating their children, especially girls, who ae the future leaders of the nation.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Gogrial Governor Atem said his government stands ready to lend their support for the implementation of the peace agreement, and urged UNMISS to assist in the process as well.
“Gogrial state is at a peaceful stage, and we have been waiting for that implementation of the peace agreement to kick off in May,” he said.
Acknowledging the work of UNMISS and other UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations operating in the area, the governor called for more support in the areas of health, education and other humanitarian needs of the already impoverished people in the area.
“We also explained to him that our team of UNMISS here in Gogrial state, which is generalizing Warrap – Twic and Tonj – we’re working together. And that working together will take us very far. Rather than UNMISS working alone, which would it take it very fast, but not far.”
Governor Atem particularly pointed to the largely unfortunate road conditions in the area, which he stressed that they were contributing to slow delivery of services, including healthcare.
He said the areas of Mayen-Pajok and Mayen-Jur are currently hard-to-reach communities, and as such it was difficult, if not impossible to navigate the roads and deliver medicines there. He appealed to UNMISS to provide helicopter support in delivering medical supplies, including medicines in those areas.
“We registered to them that we have some areas that are inaccessible currently, and we asked UNMISS to help us with a chopper to drop drugs in areas of Mayen-Pajok and Mayen-Jur,” he said.
On the border conflict among Gogrial, Wau and Tonj areas, Governor Atem informed the head of UNMISS and his delegation that efforts are being made to convene an inter-government summit of governors from the three areas. in order to identify the root causes of the problems and amicably resolve them.