December 17, 2016 (JUBA)- South Sudan has cautiously welcomed the United Nations Security Council’s decision extending the mandate of its mission in the country (UNMISS) until 15 December 2017.
- Daniel Awet Akot (ST)
The new mandate will increase number of its troops from the existing 13,500 to 17,000 including the 4,000 regional intervention forces.
The core elements of the mission include “protection of civilians, monitoring and investigating human rights, creating the conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance”, and “supporting the implementation of the agreement”.
It also authorized the Regional Protection Force to “protect routes in and out of Juba, take over the Juba International Airport and key infrastructures around Juba and fight any party that attacks or is ready to attack the UN, non-governmental organisations, their staffs and civilians, but it did not include arms embargo and targeted sanctions.
It remains unclear whether the government would accept to handover key infrastructure and installations to be under the control of the regional protection force as most officials initially expressed deep concern at the security situation in South Sudan and the possibility of an outright ethnic war.
Speaking during an interview on Saturday, the presidential advisor on military affairs said the government has not yet received any official briefing from the United Nations about the new mandate
“I have heard from the media yesterday of the renewal of the mandate of UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) but we have not yet received an official briefing from the leadership of UNMISS here. May be this would be the work of the coming week”, Daniel Awet Akot told Sudan Tribune.
He expressed disappointment at the Council for what he described as the continued unilateral action on issues of peace and security without adequate consultations with the government and the African union.
“Issues about peace are supposed to be coordinated since the objective one. They are not supposed to be unilateral. The council should indeed work with the government to implement the peace agreement rather than using threats of sanctions and punishment. What is needed now is a positive and constructive agenda that included the return of security and stability”, he explained.