Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNISFA
National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), 20 September 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thanks first to our briefers for their updates on the situation this morning.
We welcome that the security situation in Abyei has remained relatively calm while we are aware that the situation still remains unpredictable and tense. The situation could quickly deteriorate and have in that case unacceptable consequences for civilians. Also considering instability in nearby areas, we very much agree with the Secretary-General that the continued presence of UNISFA remains crucial.
We commend the work of the mission and of the Ethiopian troops carrying out this important mandate. Protecting civilians, securing access for humanitarian assistance, mediating migration-based conflicts, facilitating return of displaced persons, and demilitarizing the border region, are all tasks that are vital to upholding stability in this area.
Seven years after UNISFA’s creation we are regrettably no closer to a political solution. The current impasse cannot be allowed to continue, and we must step up efforts to find new ways forward. UNISFA needs to remain part of the path towards normalization of the relations between Sudan and South Sudan.
UN efforts should always aim at reaching political solutions, and each mission should be calibrated to forward this objective. This is true also for UNISFA. Implementation of the relevant chapters of the Cooperation Agreement - namely border issues and security arrangements - and the settlement of the final status of Abyei is the end state that needs to be achieved. We therefore welcome the SG’s recommendation to give the mission an augmented role in supporting the political process.
In this context, we also commend the work of the AU High Level Implementation Panel. UNISFA’s cooperation with the AUHIP must be maintained and further synergies with the efforts of the African Union should be sought.
We share the sense of frustration that the parties have not built on the positive momentum of last spring and carried through on actions expected of them. Some efforts have been made and small positive steps taken – but much more needs to be done to reach a political settlement that addresses the underlying issues. We hope that the recent positive developments in the relations between Sudan and South Sudan can contribute to reaching a political solution also on the future status of Abyei.
The Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanisms is a vital part of the framework that regulates the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan, also contributing to overall stability in the border area. As stated in the SG report, no single confrontation between the parties’ forces has taken place since the inclusion of the JBVMM in the mission’s mandate in 2012. We agree with the need to push for further progress rather than risking the gains made.
Furthermore, and in lack of the envisaged temporary institutions, UNISFA has been carrying out crucial tasks in areas that were not foreseen. We particularly commend the work done in addressing sexual and gender-based violence and children’s rights. There is a serious governance vacuum and the mission must be equipped to appropriately address this. It should for example have the tools to also support mediation opportunities and address essential law and order issues.
Let me conclude by extending our sincere thanks to Special Envoy Haysom for his relentless engagement and invaluable contribution to this work. His efforts have not only contributed to the issue before us today but for the whole region. We will miss his clarity and straight forwardness in his briefings but also look forward to continuing working closely with him in his new important role in Somalia.
I thank you, Mr. President.