SRSG Johnson lauds Kiir’s commitment to political pluralism

28 Sep 2011

SRSG Johnson lauds Kiir’s commitment to political pluralism

28 September 2011 - Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan Hilde F. Johnson today praised South Sudanese President Salva Kiir's commitment to ensure political inclusion in his country's government.

Speaking in Juba upon her return from the UN General Assembly (GA) in New York, Ms. Johnson applauded President Kiir's statement to the GA to curb corruption by increasing transparency and accountability through new standards for public finances and government officials.

"He highlighted the recent formation of the new government inclusive of other political parties as a first sign in this regard," the SRSG said. "This commitment to political pluralism is very welcome."

Ms Johnson acknowledged that it was difficult to obtain figures on diversion of public funds and corruption. "We do not have numbers, but it is of course clear that there have been significant problems in this area, which is why the president himself in his statement called for the repatriation of funds."
On inter-communal violence plaguing the new nation, Ms. Johnson said lack of capacity had limited the mission's ability to deploy peacekeeping forces to curb violence in all states of South Sudan.
"UNMISS, double SS, is not only a new mission with a new mandate but it has not got its troops yet," she said. "We have less of a capacity militarily than we will have when the new mission is up and running properly."
She added, however, that the UN was now receiving commitments from troop contributing countries and expected to have more troops come in by the end of the year.
Ms. Johnson noted that keeping the peace in Jonglei State was currently one of the mission's highest priorities due to the scale of violence witnessed in August, when a reported 600 people died following violent attacks there between local communities.
To deter retaliatory attacks by collecting intelligence, the mission had deployed integrated teams – comprised of military, UN police and civil affairs officers -- to engage communities and increase UN presence in the state. The mission was also sending military platoons to different communities and supporting community led reconciliation efforts.
The SRSG reiterated the UN's call for full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement -- between Sudan and South Sudan -- and peaceful resolution of remaining issues. She said she fully supported UN Special Envoy to Sudan Haile Menkerios in his efforts to ensure completion of pending issues between the two countries.
"It is of great importance that the president of the new republic of South Sudan promised to expeditiously resolve pending issues related to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and separation between the two countries," she said.
The SRSG added that the world was watching South Sudan. "The way the government of the new republic manages its own security in Jonglei State and elsewhere, and critical processes in relation to governance, transparency and accountability, political pluralism and protection of human rights, will be important for South Sudan's standing internationally."

Hilde F. Johnson's press conference transcript

President Kiir's statementat the United Nations General Assembly