Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations At the Briefing of the Security Council on the Situation in South Sudan

Thank you, Mr. President.

I also thank the Assitant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Mr. Wane, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Haysom, and the Chairman of JMEC, President Mogae, for their informative briefings.

Japan is deeply concerned by the continued clashes, especially in Upper Nile, despite the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Kiir.  Large numbers of the population and humanitarian actors have fled due to the government forces’ advance towards Pagak.  The Government of South Sudan must be fully aware that displaced people are increasing at a faster rate in South Sudan than anywhere in the world, with one in three citizens a refugee or an IDP.  Children under 18, who represent the country’s future, account for approximately two thirds of these refugees. 

Japan is concerned that the number of humanitarian access incidents in July, which included violence against personnel and assets, were the highest since the crisis began in December 2013.  All parties must take prompt and effective action.  At the joint meeting in July of the JMEC Working Committee on humanitarian issues and the Humanitarian High Level Oversight Committee, agreement was reached that the HHLOC would meet quarterly and the Humanitarian Coordination Forum would meet monthly.  We urge the Government to take steps to ensure that the HHLOC and HCF continue to meet regularly, and that their decisions are faithfully implemented.

Progress in the deployment of the RPF vanguard units is welcome.  We thank all troop-contributing countries for their efforts, and appreciate Kenya’s agreement to deploy troops to the RPF.  Nevertheless, it is regrettable that violations of the Status of Forces Agreement occurred this month regarding flight clearances for UNMISS personnel.  In a meeting this week with the diplomatic corps in Juba, the Government again announced a policy of cooperation on UNMISS activities, including the deployment of the RPF.  Concrete actions must follow.  We strongly urge the Government’s full cooperation with UNMISS, including on the completion of the RPF’s deployment and its effective operation, as stipulated in the unanimously-adopted Security Council resolution 2327.

We welcome the progress in the various political processes underway, including efforts by IGAD to resolve the violence and revitalize the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, the National Dialogue process, and the SPLM reintegration process.  Constructive and continuous engagement by all key parties in these processes is the only way to ensure peace in South Sudan.  The Council should provide full support to IGAD Heads of State, the AU Commission Chairperson and AU High Representative, the UN Secretary-General, and JMEC Chair to ensure success.  

To achieve success of these processes with synergy and complementarity, genuine inclusivity and transparency are key.  In this regard, we welcome the news of the recent release of political prisoners by the Government.  We urge continued steps to create a conducive environment for advancing an inclusive political process.  These include the Government’s full observance of the unilateral ceasefire, the release of any remaining political prisoners, the establishment of the Hybrid Court, and improved media freedom.  A ceasefire and constructive participation in the political process from the opposition groups are also important.

The Council must be united in ensuring that all parties are actively engaged in an inclusive political process to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan.

I thank you, Mr. President.