Remarks by Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General Courtenay Rattray and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, USG for Peace Operations [Near Verbatim]

unmiss chef de cabinet courtenay rattray under-secretary-general jean-pierre lacroix peacekeeping united nations
9 Nov 2022

Remarks by Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General Courtenay Rattray and Jean-Pierre Lacroix, USG for Peace Operations [Near Verbatim]

SRSG’s introduction:

First of all, let me welcome you all to this UNMISS event, and thank you for attending. It's my privilege to introduce you to two important visitors from headquarters - that is Mr Courtney Rattray, who is the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General, and the Head of Peacekeeping, Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Affairs. They are going to share with you their impressions and their sense of where South Sudan is heading, and the contribution which the UN would like to assure them it will be making. So, without any further ado, let me hand you over to the Chef de Cabinet.

Remarks by Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary General, Mr Courtenay Rattray:

Thank you very much SRSG, and good afternoon to the assembled media present here today and in fact, everybody who is listening to us at this moment. This important visit was my very first visit to South Sudan, at what I consider to be a critical moment. And I think you know what I'm referring to because we have all the peace process issues and activities underway at the same time that this country is grappling with the devastating impacts of the floods. Several people have told me since I've been here, that it may not be unprecedented, but it certainly is unprecedented in the lives of most of the people that live in this country [now]. There is no meeting that I have been at that we have been at where this issue of this climate-induced disaster has not been at top of mind and top of the list of challenges and the need for support from the international community.


This is the last day of a four-day visit for us. I consider that we've had extremely meaningful engagements with a variety of actors, government officials, members of civil society, we had an engaging breakfast with women civil society organizations yesterday. We've spoken to humanitarian and, importantly, the development donors. And this morning, I had an opportunity to visit one of the internally displaced persons camps (IDP camps). Several people have asked me, what was my impression? And I only have one word to describe the emotions that I was feeling on visiting that camp, which is heartbreaking. We didn't spend a lot of time there, but enough time for me to know that situation of deprivation that people are forced to exist in is not one that should be sustained for any amount of time. I heard strident complaints from people about the lack of food, the inadequacy of the shelter, the lack of supplies, of vital medical services and medicine, I mean they do have medical facilities there, but in my estimation, obviously they are stretched with respect to their human resources and the medical supplies. And I also saw a lack of educational services as well. So, I don't believe anybody chooses to be there. One person said to me, when the conditions in their hometowns settle down, will we automatically be allowed to go back home? So, I get it. I kind of try and put myself in their shoes.


We also had an opportunity to visit Jonglei State, and a place called Bor town, where we met with local authorities; it was a pleasure to meet the governor and the deputy governor and the mayor and all the members of his cabinet as well, and we had constructive discussions. It is really important for us to not just have a view from the capital, Juba, but to actually venture out because officials at the subnational level often have a perspective of what's going on that is much more granular, much more ground-floor than the perspectives that officials in the capital have.


I'm glad that I was able to go down there and hear about some of the concerns and the acute challenges that they're grappling with at that level. We also saw peacekeepers and NGOs providing extremely vital services while we were there, like community engagement in terms of the security situation, there was a citizens constabulary that has been formed with the help of the UN to support the police. We saw police stations being built. We saw women receiving adult literacy education. We went to a cattle camp, we were able to provide some vaccinations there for the cows. This is all part of a very broad-based effort on the part of the United Nations and its agencies, funds and programmes to dispense support to areas and people that are most in need.


We are aware that our mission takes place when humanitarian needs are on the rise. The figures that I have is that this year over a million people are reported to be affected by these floods. People have told us that they are suffering not only due to the conflict and the insecurity that I just mentioned, but also because they can't afford food or meet their basic needs. When you live in an economy like this, apart from the major source of foreign exchange earnings, which is the oil revenue, almost everything that is consumed is imported, you really have the spillover effects of crises like in Ukraine when you have a shortage of grain for example, and then the prices escalate. You have tremendous food prices as food inflation across the world now and it hits countries like South Sudan in a very real way because they are wholly or almost wholly dependent on the imports of these vital foods. So that is something that is in need of extreme and immediate remediation.


We are trying our best; trying our best to ensure that the people of South Sudan receive humanitarian assistance. This is a challenging task because I just mentioned what is happening in Ukraine, there are other venues outside of this region that is commanding the attention of the international community at this time. There is a legitimate fear, on the part of beneficiary countries, that the attention of the donor community will be diverted from countries such as South Sudan. Now I met with the donors as I said; Jean Pierre Lacroix and myself had an opportunity with the SRSG to have an interesting exchange with them. They conveyed their ongoing commitment to provide the financial resources that they have been providing. But one just has to not take this for granted because obviously when you have other developments that become a focus of attention, the natural inclination is to say: the pie is only so large and if you're going to attend to yet another crisis of global impact, then that may mean that I get a smaller slice of the pie. I'm not saying that this is actually happening. We heard from the donors that they remain committed, but I think it is just good sense to bear in mind that there is a reality, that there is another theater of activity that requires resourcing on a huge scale. I think that this should be borne in mind and we certainly remain committed as the UN. We will continue to engage with our international partners, including the donors, to ensure that they live up to their commitments to maintain the level of funding that is currently being transmitted to this country. We think it is vitally important that the attention not wander and remain focused on the situation in South Sudan and countries like this.


Given limited international resources, it is critical that the UN coordinates with various parts of the UN system: peacekeeping, humanitarian and development assistance, all the entities that render this assistance need to be working in a sort of integrated and collaborative manner, so as to provide the best possible response to South Sudan for its needs. I'm particularly encouraged to learn from our humanitarian colleagues what they're doing to adapt their responses to the new and emerging challenges that people here are experiencing.


The need to transition from reliance on humanitarian aid to development programming was something that was raised with us on more than one occasion. Also, one spot of good news is that yesterday we heard, when we met with the Government, we met with the Cabinet Secretary and all his colleague ministers of the cabinet, and we have been waiting for them to sign the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, that covers the period 2023 to 2025 and we were pleased to hear from the minister responsible for the cabinet yesterday that that sustainable development cooperation framework has been signed by the government and the UN development system.


I will stop my remarks at this stage, and hand it over to my friend and colleague Under-Secretary General Lacroix to brief you on our interactions that are related to the Revitalized Peace Agreement and I'm sure he will underscore our support to lasting peace and indeed security in South Sudan.


Remarks by the UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Affairs, Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix:

Thank you very much, Courtaney, Chef de Cabinet, and a very good afternoon to you. Thank you for coming to this meeting. It's a very great pleasure for me to be back to South Sudan. Last time I was here it was in September 2021. It's a particular pleasure to be here, this time with the Chef of the Cabinet of the Secretary-General, Courtney Rattray. I believe that his presence in South Sudan really demonstrates the importance that all of us, among the UN leadership and including very much so the Secretary-General himself, the importance that we attach to supporting South Sudan and the people of South Sudan.

One of the important goals of the visit is actually to try to convey back to New York the message to the UN system and most importantly to the Member States, including the donor community, that it is important to keep the situation in South Sudan high on the international agenda. As was put by the Chef de Cabinet, it is a very important message to convey against the backdrop of this global situation in the world where there are many crises. There are many urgent humanitarian crises, and the resources, both the political resources but also the financial resources that are available to cope with these crises, are by definition limited. Therefore our advocacy will be strong but at the same time, we do recognize that working to improve the situation in South Sudan, working to strive towards peace and stability in this country is a partnership.


We do recognize as well that there is an expectation from the international community, our Member States and those partners who are involved with us in supporting South Sudan, that there will be further progress in the political process and in the peace process. There has to be the sense that there is a way forward and that we're moving in the right direction towards achieving durable peace in South Sudan, because we all know that the ultimate solution is political in South Sudan.


We have recognized a number of positive steps in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, but we do also acknowledge that more needs to be done. This is a message that we have conveyed to our South Sudanese interlocutors working towards peace in South Sudan, which is primarily the responsibility of the People of South Sudan and the leadership in South Sudan. It is a partnership, and we are duty-bound to assist. And we're committed to continuing these efforts to assist, but at the same time, we do hope that there will be a sustained implementation of the peace agreement and that ultimately, it will lead to a stable and durable political setup and a durable peace.


All of these efforts are being carried out against the backdrop of significant challenges. One of them which was mentioned by the Chef de Cabinet, and which we could clearly see during our visit to Bor, is the impact of the floods. We know that however much affected the Bor region is by flood, there are regions of South Sudan that are even more affected. And this is coming on top of an already very serious humanitarian situation and the persistence of intercommunal violence in many areas of the country.  We're aware that these political efforts which are indispensable, are taking place against the backdrop of these series of challenges.  


We are committed to partnering with the communities and local and national authorities to address the security challenges, humanitarian challenges, and to address the challenges resulting from the natural disaster, and other such challenges. Ultimately, the political process is what will finally determine the future of South Sudan. If we are to have a successful electoral process in this country, this will have to be an inclusive one.


We met with the communities in Bor, making sure that all stakeholders the men of South Sudan, the women, the youth representative of the civil society, all constituencies will be fully included in that political process in the constitution-making process and in the electoral process will all be able to freely express their views as to the future of the country and will be freely able to choose their future. This will be the critical condition for a successful political process, and we're committed to supporting all efforts in that direction.


The key message is that we are committed to keeping our efforts to support South Sudan and South Sudanese people, in spite of all these challenges. We're committed to continue working with all our partners. Of course, the South Sudanese themselves primarily, but also other organizations such as the African Union and IGAD, Member States, NGOs, and humanitarian partners.


I want to pay special tribute to the humanitarian partners, especially since they're operating in a very dangerous environment, one that is becoming increasingly challenging and characterized with the increased violence and attacks on humanitarian workers. Eight of those colleagues, humanitarian colleagues, have passed away, have been killed, so far this year. We believe that this is unacceptable, because we’re talking about colleagues that are dedicating their efforts to supporting the people of South Sudan, people in need. The mission is doing everything possible to help provide security to the humanitarian colleagues, of course, respecting fully their humanitarian space, but also security to the community and whenever threats are there or are emerging.


I know and I recognize that UNMISS is adopting a proactive posture, that the mission has been very reactive in deploying assets, troops and police and colleagues from the civilian pillar wherever there is a need, including through the deployment of Temporary Operating Bases, TOBS. I'm very grateful for the efforts to increase its ability to prevent and respond, however challenging the situation is and how difficult it is, particularly when it comes to the difficulty to move. There is the question of mobility in this country and again, made even worse by the floodings, but also by the restriction of access that still persist particularly, but not only, when it comes to using the Nile River.


So let me just stop here. I want to really pay tribute to our colleagues, the peacekeeping, the military, the police, or civilians, their partners in the humanitarian agencies, development agencies, the NGOs, I want to pay tribute to the communities of South Sudanese who are really doing their level best to overcome the many challenges their country is facing.


I want to pay particular tribute to our women colleagues. We are really making it a priority to strengthen and reinforce the role of women in peacekeeping, because we believe that peacekeeping with more women is a more effective peacekeeping. But we also believe that having an increased role of women in peacekeeping is a way to achieve one of our key priorities, which is to empower women in this country, in South Sudan. So let me stop here and I will be looking forward to your questions. Thank you.


Q & A:

Q: My question goes to Mr. Jean-Pierre. According to your visit to various areas in South Sudan, what is your assessment on the political scene and peace? Is it possible that people can move and conduct elections at the end of the Transitional Period?

Q: My first question will be going to Nicholas Haysom and I have another one for Mr. Jean-Pierre. My first question is on the statement by Michael Makuei, the spokesperson of the Government, saying that the UN, especially Radio Miraya, is working illegally and is not complying with South Sudanese laws. He mentioned that the UN is not in cooperation with the Government and that they decided not to register [Radio MIraya] with the Media Authority, thus the life of Radio Miraya journalists are at risk if they are doing their job around in the country.

Number two is about UNMISS. Recently, we had a report where two families said that two young men were killed by the Rwandese [peacekeepers], and that so far, the peacekeepers in South Sudan have not responded. The families are asking for justice for the two loved ones who were killed allegedly killed by the Rwandese. So, we'd like to know something on that.

Q: My question goes to Mr. Jean-Pierre. Given your visits and your interactions with various actors, what is your general conclusion about the security and the humanitarian situation in South Sudan? Again, what do you think is the immediate need to rectify all these issues South Sudan is experiencing at the moment?


USG Lacroix: Regarding the question of political process, well obviously, as I suggested earlier, it's a collective work but with the primary responsibility lying with the South Sudanese themselves: the South Sudanese stakeholders, the authorities, the various leaders, and the communities. We have to make it possible and our role is to make sure that we do everything to make it possible. What is “it” that we want to make possible? A successful completion. What is a successful completion? Well, the successful completion will be one where a durable political stability would be established. And we believe that if that is to happen, it can only happen through a process whereby the South Sudanese population in its diversity and its entirety will have been able to be involved; will have been able to express their views; will have been able to be an active partner and stakeholder.

This includes the women, includes the youth. And of course, in addition to that there are very concrete steps that need to be taken right, when it comes to the electoral process, when it comes to constitution making, when it comes to establishing and putting in place the framework and the various preparatory measures that are needed to bring about this process towards completion. Then parallel to that, but very important, is the process regarding the security sector. It's one where we've seen some positive steps lately with the graduation of some unified units. It's positive, of course, and it needs to be taken forward.

We're also willing to support this process within our mandate and within the resources that we have. But ultimately it is also very important that this process should end with the security sector that will be effective, that will be trusted by the population, and that would be able to sustain itself. All this needs to be achieved. And again, as far as we're concerned, we want to do everything within our responsibilities and within our resources - and I know our colleagues here are committed to making their level best, so that it will be made possible.

Just perhaps a word before I hand over to other colleagues. I think that there was a mention of the killings – I don't know if I got the question right - but on the killings of civilians, I want to expand that. I mentioned the fact that eight of our humanitarian colleagues were killed this year. Many more civilians were killed. In the past, we had peacekeepers killed as well, and many more humanitarian colleagues. The point that I want to make is it is critical that there should be accountability for that. It is absolutely critical that those perpetrators will be identified and be held accountable. This is also something that, as the UN, we would really want to push forward to promote.


SRSG Haysom: All right, let me take two questions in regard to the issue involving the Rwandan peacekeepers. I'm a bit surprised by the question because it was raised in the media the other day and fully explained by my colleague then. It was explained in the following way: that there was an altercation which involved the Rwandan peacekeepers and two persons found on UN property. The altercation was the subject of a proper and complete criminal review and that the law, the letter of the law has been followed both in respect of the treatment of the people involved in the incident and in regard to the follow up by the Rwandan authorities.

Regarding Radio Miraya, let me say that provision for the independent operation of Radio Miraya is provided for in the Status of Forces Agreement. There is no question of Radio Miraya operating illegally at the moment. What I found particularly concerning was the remark by Minister Makuei, who is an old friend of mine, that the radio station was being used for hate speech. That we strongly deny, and we must say there is absolutely no basis for it. We are consciously aware that as the country heads towards elections, it's very important that there be demonstrable respect for freedom of expression. And we would want to encourage the Government in that to respect freedom of expression, certainly in regard to that issue. I might just add that we are in discussion with the Government on the operation of Radio Miraya - a constructive discussion - which includes a discussion on modalities which will reassure all independent parties, and the Government included, that Radio Miraya will respect the law, the expectation that it will be an impartial media outlet. We think that's important and we respect the Government's right to raise that question, and we will certainly be looking at ways in which we can meet that demand.


Spokesperson: Thank you SRSG. May I just check with The City Review if their question was answered. The question was to Mr. Lacroix about what were your conclusions at the end of this visit and what are the immediate needs.


USG Lacroix: Obviously, there are takeaways rather than conclusions. We were seeing firsthand, Courtenay and I, the challenges and we mentioned them, and they are daunting, no question. But at the same time, the main takeaways, as far as I'm concerned at least, would be this partnering with the South Sudanese, this collective work, this collective dynamic, really needs to be sustained and even enhanced and strengthened. The population of South Sudan needs to see that there is a way forward, that there is movement towards progress on the political front, on the humanitarian front on the security front. And our partners and the donors need to see that there is also movement forward, particularly on the political front. And I think that would be critical to sustain their level of engagement and commitment in this global environment where there's so many challenges, so many crises, so many demands for funding, for political engagement. These would be, in a nutshell, my takeaways.

The other takeaway, of course, is as usual, I think it is important to emphasize respect and gratitude to our colleagues in the UN families and their partners for what they're doing.


Q: From what you have seen and heard, what for you remains the major challenges for peace and stability in South Sudan?

The global economic crisis has taken a toll on South Sudan, creating a cycle of dependency on food aid. What could be the best game-changer for a country where the majority of the population, especially in the countryside where you have visited, don't know whether their next meal will come from?

To Jean-Pierre, I know you've talked about your takeaways, but I wanted to see your takeaways particularly from Bor, where you met with the Governor, and you had some discussions with him? What action points would you like to see being taken? Thank you.

Q: I want to ask Mr. Jean-Pierre. There is a concern by the Government regarding the unified forces that have just been graduated and are still graduating. The issue of arms embargo has become a serious excuse for the Government, saying that they cannot deploy all the unified forces because they don't have arms. Is the UN ready to lift the arms embargo on this?

Secondly, up to now, there is no sign of hybrid court being formed so that people who violated people's rights during the war can be tried. Is the UN having any plan to make this happen?

Q: Mine will be just a follow up question on the takeaways that the delegation has taken from their visits that they had around the country. I got you said it's the primary responsibility of the people of South Sudan and the Government to bring peace and stability. As the UN family, what exactly would you want the Government to do to bring that peace and stability in the country?


CDC Rattrey: Two of those questions have to do with peace and stability.

I come from a developing country as well. I can tell you that all of us who are in the Global South, who are from developing countries, have an aspiration to secure a better future for our people through economic growth and sustainable development. But we have to find a way to set the preconditions for the growth. The preconditions that we have enough space in our budgets to deliver quality education, quality healthcare, quality infrastructure, so that our people can meet what is a legitimate right in terms of their aspirations and then become self-fulfilled.

But it's very, very difficult to set the preconditions for stability when you have endemic conflict at the community level, at the national level, when you are plagued by natural disasters, and you don't have an effective strategy to mitigate that through building resilience. So, unless certain factors are in place. The money isn't here to develop as it should, but you can secure investment capital from people that are willing to partner with you. But you have to ask yourselves as an investor, domestic investor or foreign investor, do you want to put your money in a place where you don't feel confident that you'll be able to secure an investment return because it is so unstable? And I think at the political level, stability has to come with a sense of participation by all stakeholders in the outcome of the political process. What I'm talking about is a sense of inclusion. That is something that has to be one of the foundation pillars of building democratic institutions and having an electoral process that people believe in so that it has the legitimacy that it needs.

In terms of what is happening with the floods, I come from a part of the world, the Caribbean country called Jamaica, where as a small island developing state, we are grappling with the impacts of climate change and we can’t tell ourselves: well let us try and mitigate this for the next hurricane season. We just have to realize we have to live with it. I think you're going to have to live with the floods. I'm not saying you're going to get a flood every year, but you have to make the adaptation investments that are required so that you deal with a situation that is probably not going to go away, or if it is going to go away, it's going to take a lot of work on the part of those developed countries that are adding to the issue of climate change by their emissions. And they're showing no appetite to do that right now.

We have to find the technical expertise and we have to find the financing to better withstand climatic shocks, which has a very destabilizing effect on economic growth, and we have to find the wherewithal within ourselves as people, to create a climate where people are willing to risk their money, whether it is the small businessperson, whether it is a farmer, whether it is somebody from outside putting money in this country, so that they can say, “I can bet on South Sudan; I can make an investment in South Sudan; I can benefit from the fact that I know these people are well educated and well trained and can do the job”.

These are preconditions for creating the stability that is required. You can't continue without stabilizing the situation. But once the situation has been stabilized, I think that is the platform for you to take off. We can't impose anything on you. We're here to assist by listening to you, trying to find out what the challenges are and trying to see how can we not just by ourselves or by partnering with some other actors in the international community, come together and say: you know what? Let's work with the South Sudanese people. These are their aspirations. These are their goals. These are their challenges. They don't have the money to do it. They don't have the expertise to do it, but that resides somewhere in the world. Somebody has the capital. Somebody has the expertise. Somebody has the experience of doing it and the UN has developed a huge amount of experience over the last 77 years since the UN was founded in 1945. We can draw from other parts of the system. We can make a bet on South Sudan.

But it can't only be done by people from the outside. That bet that you take on a country, I know we can do this. Everything in there has to be matched by a sense of political will, a sense of hope, a sense of determination. And when you put those two things together, you just watch. You are going to see within a generation the landscape in this country completely change because it has happened in the world before. It is not something that is just a wish. It can be done. Honestly, it can be done, but it needs everybody. All of us. Those from the outside, those of you that may be heard, to really get on the same page as we say and get this job done.


Spokesperson: Thank you, can I just ask you to address quickly the question about food insecurity and aid dependency? And then we'll move to Mr. Lacroix on his takeaways from Bor.


CDC Courtenay: As I travelled around yesterday, or was it the day before, I think I can say that this country shouldn't be food insecure, and it should not be import dependent. I think there's so much potential here for developing agriculture. Primary agriculture is one thing you know. I think there is more than enough here. To provide food for people at the primary level. I think if you really want to maximize the potential though, you have to do what the economists call moving up the value chain. Why stick to producing and selling primary agricultural products when you can invest some money, maybe with partners or with your friends or with your family, get the technological know-how and learn how to process it? You know it doesn't make no sense just saying, “here is a food or vegetable product that I can produce”. Fine, you can make some living on it. But you can make more money and employ more people and benefit this country more through your tax dollars if you actually try and take it one step further and start to refine that. Enhance that product, brand that product. Make your living from a brand. And that comes with a lot of quality control and some form of know-how. I was speaking to the SRSG about this and he was sharing the view. He said look at the potential in this country for agriculture. It’s huge, but, you tell me, what is potential if it is unrealized? It is zero. But there's a whole lot of assets here that can be capitalized on starting with human capital development. The people, that's the primary asset. But then you have the God-given land that you have, which is fertile soil. And the technology exists, and the capital exists, and you put all those things together and you're just going to take off.


Spokesperson: Mr. Lacroix, if you could perhaps take the question about Bor. You've already talked about your takeaways, but if there were specific asks to the Government. Over to you, Sir.


USG Lacroix: What I could add to the takeaways from Bor, I think first of all, in South Sudan - and I think that applies maybe to a number of other countries where our peacekeepers are deployed - there is a combination of action at various levels - the national level and the political efforts and the systemic efforts. But at the local level, this combined action of engagement, peacebuilding, humanitarian support, I think the takeaways when you go to a place like Bor is how multidimensional is the UN action and our efforts. They have to come with engagement with the local stakeholders, the community, the authorities. We had a very good discussion with the Governor of the State of Jonglei. And we saw various projects whereby, essentially, we foster empowerment and engagement of the communities - the women with literacy, the community policing, and others. So these are the various dimensions.

Of course, you get also the first hand impression about what the immediate operational challenges are and how they can be overcome. One of them is obviously mobility which is made more difficult by the floods and how we can address mobility, including with adapting our capacities and our means of transportation, and, of course, securing access including the Nile River, which is a critical lifeline for this country and for our own efforts, and security. Security has to do, of course, with the not only the proactive role of our uniformed personnel, our police, our military contingents, but they also have to do with the local peacemaking efforts, the community violence reduction.

I think the main takeaway is, faced with all these challenges - the collective efforts are, and I insist on the collective because it is the South Sudanese and ourself - it is multidimensional. All these efforts have to go in parallel. It's challenging, this needs to be coordinated, but it's the reality.

Briefly, there was a question on the arms embargo, as you know the arms embargo is a decision by Member States. It is a decision by the UN Security Council. If it is to change or to evolve, it will also have to come from the UN Security Council.

Now you probably know as well that the Security Council has determined a few benchmarks that it would consider in reviewing the arms embargo and possibly adapting it. There are a number of benchmarks or criteria for in which we can help. And we do this, and we provide this kind of support in other countries. One of them has to do with the management of weapons and ammunition. In other words, how they're being kept and so as to make sure that, you know … basically a unit is provided with weapons and these weapons will be safely handled and kept and same with the ammunition. These are the kind of expertise that we provide through our UN Mine Action Service.

Finally, just a brief word on the hybrid court and coming back to the point on accountability. We are actively supporting accountability and putting in place the mechanism so that there will be accountability and the hybrid court is one of them. I think supporting the judicial system and the rule of law institution in this country is also critically important. I just wanted to emphasize again this point about accountability.

Spokesperson: Did you want to comment on the question about the specific ask to the Government regarding the takeaways?

USG Lacroix: I don't want to repeat what we've said. Again, there is a process that is ongoing right now and it's the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and the Roadmap. There is a timeline for that. It's the expectation of the South Sudanese people primarily, but also the expectation of the UN and our partners that this process will be carried out and that positive steps will be made, will continue to be made, actually that the pace will be sustained, so as to bring confidence to the population of South Sudan and also to the partners and to the donors. But I want to add that it's the quality of the process that also matters. It's not about, checking one box and then another. A key element of the quality is about inclusivity, an issue that we already highlighted in this discussion.

Contact: UNMISS Spokesperson at