Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNMISS
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on UNMISS, 28 November 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking Assistant Secretary-General Keita for his informative briefing to the Council today.
As we have just heard, the situation in South Sudan remains gravely worrying, not least for the civilians caught up in a seemingly endless nightmare of conflict, displacement and hunger. We remain deeply concerned by reports of continued fighting as well as preparations for renewed offensive operations, which points to a lack of commitment by the parties to finding a solution to the conflict through dialogue. Let me reiterate: an immediate cessation of hostilities by all parties, the Government and armed groups alike, is a sine qua non, not only to alleviate suffering, but also to allow for a meaningful political process.
All parties must recognise that only a political solution can resolve the conflict. In this regard, we strongly commend IGAD for preparing the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) as a means of reinvigorating the peace process. The Forum represents a unique window of opportunity, which merits our full and active support.
It is imperative that the forum now takes place without delay. The legitimacy and success of the Forum will be strengthened by ensuring that the process is transparent and inclusive, with the effective participation of women and civil society. Building on the AU-PSC Communique of 20 September, the Council must now stand unified, and speak with "one voice", to give the Forum the best possible prospect of delivering a genuine step forward. We note, in this regard, the support voiced by the EU in its statement of 07 November.
A national dialogue could be one part of the way forward, but only if it is genuinely inclusive, impartial and transparent. A national dialogue will not be credible while violence continues and freedom of expression is restricted. While a national dialogue cannot replace the peace agreement, it could be a complement as part of a national reconciliation process.
The humanitarian and human rights situation for millions of people in South Sudan remains perilous. We are extremely alarmed by accounts of access to food is being used to further military objectives. These serious reports need to be actively pursued, it is unacceptable that violations and abuses of human rights, and violations of international humanitarian law continue.
Restrictions on access to health care, attacks against medical facilities and transport, and wide-spread looting of medical facilities, by all parties to the conflict, are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. This clearly shows that the work of UNMISS is crucial, and that there is a need to make further progress on deployment of the Regional Protection Force. The establishment of the Hybrid Court will further act as a strong deterrent against atrocity crimes. We welcome the steps taken so far towards its establishment.
Time is running out for millions of South Sudanese. Each day that the conflict continues makes building peace, recovery and reconciliation even more difficult. We fully support the leadership being shown by IGAD and the region. It is now essential that we exhaust every avenue in the search for peace in South Sudan.