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UN envoy urges transparency, accountability in South Sudan

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April 15, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan has the potential to become a tourist destination and the oil and mineral riches to spur economic progress if it can eliminate corruption and establish a transparent and open government, a top United Nations official said Thursday.

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David Shearer UNMISS head briefs the Security Council on 26 September 2017 (UN photo)

“If you [South Sudan] had stability, you would have a tourist industry that could rival any of the countries in East Africa, the Nile, the animals, and its extraordinary,” David Shearer, the outgoing head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said at a press briefing.

He added, “What I’d really like to see is a government that is transparent and open with its finances, where it’s starting to take its own responsibility providing services, and it’s turning around with the confidence to say to the international community.”

The UN official expressed concerns that financial resources coming to the government are being siphoned off by these very people and there is very little understanding of where the money goes.

“It’s not going to services for the people of South Sudan and there’s a problem with holding the government accountable,” he said.

Shearer said to hold elections, the appointed legislature needs to approve a constitution and electoral legislation, stressing that there are growing voices for election preparations to begin.

"That needs to be the rallying cry as we go forward - to bring everybody on board and to put pressure on the government to actually speak up and hold those elections," said Shearer.

South Sudan has been struggling to recover from five years of a civil war that killed almost 400,000 people, according to reports. A coalition government formed in February last year between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar is implementing a revitalized peace agreement that is behind schedule, while deadly violence continues in parts of the country.

(ST)

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