8644th Security Council Meeting: Reports of Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan

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24-Oct-2019 01:30:41
Sudan, South Sudan must make greater progress on status of Abyei, given their increased cooperation, Under Secretary General tells Security Council at 8644th meeting.

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Given the increased cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan on a host of issues, it is time for the parties to finally make progress on the status of the disputed area of Abyei, the Under‑Secretary‑General for Peace Operations told the Security Council today.

“We witness an unprecedented opportunity to resolve the border‑related issues between Sudan and South Sudan,” Jean‑Pierre Lacroix informed the 15‑nation organ in a briefing ahead of the mandate renewal of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Positive momentum is being driven by reciprocal visits of the leaders of both countries as well as support for each other’s peace processes, he said. Nonetheless, no progress has been made in settling the final status of Abyei. That lack of progress in joint policing in the areas — which has experienced increased criminality and presence of armed elements — is concerning.

Recalling recent reviews of UNISFA’s capacity to implement its mandate and support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, he underlined the importance of the Mechanism as a monitoring and confidence‑building measure between the parties. However, its effectiveness required the two countries to implement the outcomes of the border management discussions.

Presenting recommendations for the reconfiguration of UNISFA, he pointed to a need to improve capabilities in intelligence, protection, engineering and medical capacity and civilian expertise. While stating his preference for a delayed reduction of troops until April 2020, he also welcomed the planned deployment of United Nations police by January 2020.

He described recommendations for the deployment of political, justice and civil affairs expertise as well. As for the request from the Council to appoint a civilian deputy head of mission for UNISFA, he reported that Sudan maintains its objection that it would be inconsistent with existing agreements.

He added that he is continuing to work with the African Union in support of the immediate resumption of direct talks between Sudan and South Sudan to resolve the final status of Abyei and other border issues. In the meantime, he called on the Council to extend the mandate of UNISFA and its support for the Monitoring Mechanism, thus sending a strong signal to the parties that the United Nations remains committed to maintaining stability in the area.

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, briefed via video teleconference from Addis Ababa, also welcoming the heightened cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan following the changes in the latter’s Government. “With this new partnership in place, the past five months have seen a flurry of high‑level visits between Khartoum and Juba,” he said, recounting the progression of mutual support for the countries’ respective peace processes.

The September meeting in Juba between the new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan, and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan was a first step towards finding a solution for Abyei, he said. That meeting tackled a wide range of issues that remain unresolved between the two countries, including oil arrangements. The talks broached the opening of additional border crossing points, the redeployment of forces from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone and the full deployment of the Monitoring Mechanism.

Council members affirmed support for the role of UNISFA in providing protection and stability in Abyei and in supporting the Monitoring Mechanism. In that context, they also agreed on the need to consider the most effective reconfiguration of the Mission to fulfil that role. However, most stressed that it is, ultimately, the responsibility of the parties to ensure security and to settle outstanding issues regarding the final status of the area.

In that regard, Poland’s representative pointed to a lack of cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan on border issues, which is resulting in solidifying an administrative vacuum. Along with other speakers, she urged them to end the delay in addressing all outstanding issues.

Kuwait’s representative, however, saw the developing cooperation between Sudan and South Sudan as a priority and called for the Security Council to exhibit patience to allow them to further develop their relationship in order to resolve all outstanding issues.

Sudan’s representative also urged international support for the efforts of the two countries to assist one another. He asked the Council to consider all positive developments when it takes up the extension of UNISFA’s mandate in November.

South Sudan’s representative affirmed her country’s support for UNISFA, as well, urging the extension of its presence beyond its current areas of operation in order to allow the civil population to return.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, France, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, China, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Germany, Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom, Peru and South Africa.

The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 11:31 a.m.

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