Unified position on South Sudan needed to advance political process: UN official

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A wide view of the Security Council chamber as David Shearer briefs the Council via video conference. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

The Security Council needs to unite on a common strategy to advance the political process in South Sudan, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, UNMISS, has urged.

David Shearer briefed Council members on the security situation in Africa's youngest nation via video-link on Wednesday.

Ana Carmo has more.

The UN Special Representative for the Secretary-General in South Sudan, David Shearer began his briefing to members of the Security Council with a weather report. 

The arrival of the rains might bring a respite to large-scale military manoeuvres, he noted, but they also greatly complicate the UN's humanitarian response. 

Mr Shearer, who is also head of UNMISS, welcomed "President Salva Kiir's announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and pledge to review the cases of political prisoners." 

He further briefed the Council on efforts led by leaders in the region to advance peace in South Sudan, emphasizing their "significant influence" on the political process. 

"I am encouraged to see member states of the region stepping up their engagement. It remains critical, however, that a coherent and unified regional position on South Sudan is forthcoming. As I mentioned last month, now more than ever, it is imperative the Council also unites on a common strategy to advance the political process in South Sudan. We acknowledge and thank you individually and collectively for your support of UNMISS and the humanitarian community, who are overcoming immense difficulties to make a real difference to people’s lives. But unity of purpose will send the best signal to South Sudan’s political leaders to focus first and foremost on the plight of their citizens." 

The UN special envoy welcomed the Government of South Sudan's effort to promote reconciliation through a National Dialogue, but stressed the need for a genuine participation from the opposition in order for it to be credible. 

Ana Carmo, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’37″

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