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UNMISS chief vows to support peace process in South Sudan

June 3, 2021 (JUBA) – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is firmly committed to supporting the peace process in the world’s youngest nation, a senior UN official said.

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The head of UN mission in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom (Getty)

Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan told reporters in Juba on Thursday that achieving peace requires the support of all stakeholders and in partnership with the international community.

“The peace process must be led and owned by the people of South Sudan to ensure that the peace that is achieved is sustainable,” he said.

Haysom said UNMISS will support the drafting of a permanent constitution which is expected to pave the way for general elections in the country.

“When renewing our mandate, the Security Council recognized the imperative of peacebuilding and directed UNMISS to advance a three-year strategic vision to prevent a return to civil war; build durable peace at the local and national levels; and to support inclusive and accountable governance and free, fair, and peaceful elections,” he emphasized.

The top UN official stressed the need to prevent the recurrence of the cycle of violence and revenge attacks occurring in the country.

“I want to believe that Government would not want to see continuing violence there or anywhere. And the same goes for the other stakeholders as well, apart from Government,” said Haysom.

He added, “Without peace, meaningful infrastructure development cannot take place. Without peace, displaced families cannot return home. Without real and lasting peace, progress in almost every aspect of South Sudan’s social, economic, and political life is impossible. Real peace will give South Sudan’s citizens the ability to determine their own future.”

Last week, the United Nations Security Council renewed the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze imposed on South Sudan for another year and further extended until July 1, 2022, the mandate of the panel of experts tasked with helping to oversee those measures.

Security Council Resolution 2577, which saw 13 votes in favour, none against and two absentees, also prohibited the supply, sale or transfer of weapons, as well as the provision of technical assistance, training and other military assistance to the young nation’s territory.

Reacting to the Security Council’s decision, Haysom said there are options for member countries or for South Sudan to apply for a waiver if they have a particular need for small arms or any other kind of arms for a particular purpose.

“So that option is open as well. Do I see South Sudan eventually meeting those conditions? I think so. Yes, I’m an optimist because I do believe that, at the end of the day, we’re going to have to meet the benchmarks set out in the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” he said.

The 15-member body also requested the Secretary-General, in close consultation with UNMISS and the panel of experts assisting the sanctions committee, to conduct an assessment of progress achieved on the key benchmarks by mid-April next year.