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UN chief proposes to amend UNMISS mandate to meet peace implementation

 António Guterres (Photo Reuters/ Denis Balibouse)

March 7, 2019 (NEW YORK) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed to amend the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to include supporting implementation process of the revitalized peace agreement.

On Friday, the Security Council will be briefed by Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer on the situation in South Sudan, as the 15 member body is expected to renew its mandate for one year.

In his report to the Council, Guterres spoke about the much-delayed implementation process and pointed to the need to review the UNMISS mandate which is mainly related to the protection of civilians and aid workers to meet with the needs of the oncoming transitional period.

Accordingly, he mentioned the IGAD demand to integrate its force in support of the peace implementation and the growing return of displaced people and refugees to their areas of origin.

"While the four pillars of the mandate remain valid, I propose that the mandate be renewed for one year and be strengthened to allow the Mission to support the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the peace process in a nimble and flexible manner, including through the provision of technical assistance for peacebuilding priorities," he said in a 18-page report to the Council seen by Sudan Tribune.

With regard to the IGAD regional force, the UN chief said ready to submit appropriate recommendations regarding possible adjustments of the UNMISS mandate, once a security arrangement has been reached.

In December 2018, the African Union Peace and Security Council backed the 1695-troop IGAD force to South Sudan and tasked the Ethiopian Ambassador to hand over the request to the UN Security Council.

Initially, the head of the UN peacekeeping department was reluctant to the integration of the IGAD force when he told the Security Council in November 2018 that the IGAD force which means mainly to protect the opposition leaders does not cope with the UNMISS mandate which is limited to civilians’ protection.

The UN chief further said the UNMISS mandate amendment is needed to allow the mission to be more flexible and to respond to the growing trend of returns across the country after the signing of the peace agreement.

"I propose to amend the UNMISS mandate to allow the Mission to better support such returns, beyond those currently living in UNMISS protection sites, in a voluntary and dignified manner and to help make returns safe and sustainable," he stressed.

(ST)