SRSG says security and peace are key to South Sudan's future

29 May 2012

SRSG says security and peace are key to South Sudan's future

28 May 2012 – The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for South Sudan Hilde F. Johnson stated that security and the consolidation of peace are vital to the future of South Sudan during a visit to Western Bahr El-Ghazal state.

Ms. Johnson met with Governor Riziq Zakaria Hassan at his offices in the state capital of Wau and told journalists that her tripwas intendedto "assess the disputed areas in (the states of) South Sudan and ensure bilateral relationships between peacekeepers in these states with the local authorities."

The state governor gave assurances to Ms. Johnson that his government was "ready to work with the international community at all levels," but he also called on the international community to halt what he called "Khartoum's aggression" against Western Bahr El-Ghazal.

In her remarks, the SRSG noted that UNMISS is not authorized to monitor the international border between Sudan and South Sudan or carry out demarcation of that border under the terms of its mandate from the UN Security Council.

However, Ms. Johnson said that the peacekeeping mission "can monitor the security situation" inside South Sudan." UNMISS can also investigate allegations of attacks on unarmed civilians from outside or within the country, condemn them if they are verified and "lobby the UN Security Council" to take action where appropriate.

The SRSG also emphasized the importance of decentralizing the distribution of state power and responsibility in South Sudan and said that UNMISS will work to decentralize its own structure.

"(The mission) will have presence in almost half of the (nation's) counties within three years," she said, adding that UNMISS is committed to building capacity at the county and district levels throughout South Sudan.

During her first visit to the state as SRSG, Ms. Johnson also met with locally based representatives of the United Nations Country Team and held a town hall meeting with UNMISS staff members based in Wau.