February 09, 2017 (JUBA) - Head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, visited area controlled by allies of former First Vice President Riek Machar in Unity state to discuss humanitarian and peace processes.
- The Special Representative of the U.N Secretary General in South Sudan David Shearer, February 1, 2017 (ST)
Shearer, returned to Juba on Thursday from a two-day field visit to Bentiu and Leer, which have been most-affected by the country’s ongoing conflict.
In Bentiu, he reportedly met state government officials, as well as internally displaced people who are living in the largest protection of civilians site in the country.
In Leer, he visited the mission’s temporary operating base to assess UNMISS’ success in mounting robust patrols which push the mission’s presence deep into the field.
"He [Shearer] held discussions with local officials and also took the opportunity to travel to an opposition-controlled area to meet with pro-Machar representatives so he could hear all shades of opinion on how to facilitate humanitarian assistance and advance the peace process," the mission said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The local opposition reportedly the head of the UN mission in South Sudan that they support the current localized cessation of hostilities and remain in a defensive position which they hope will encourage the return of humanitarian agencies to Leer.
"Both the local authorities and the opposition praised the UN for its efforts to facilitate communications between them," noted the statement, adding,"Shearer heard that they both recognize that an inclusive national dialogue will assist the peace process"
This was the first time UNMISS visited Machar’s territory since fighting resumed in July 2016 forcing the armed opposition leader to flee the South Sudanese capital.
According to UNMISS, pro-Machar supporters have accepted an inclusive peace process.
"The local opposition told Mr Shearer that they support the current localized cessation of hostilities and remain in a defensive position which they hope will encourage the return of humanitarian agencies to Leer," further noted the U.N statement.