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 thank the Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Ms. Bintou Keita, for updating us on the situation in South Sudan.
We are deeply concerned by some data which we have seen in the past weeks. From October to December 2017, 4.8 million people, about 45% of the population of South Sudan, are reported as severely food insecure. This represents 1.4 million more than at the same time last year. The number of South Sudanese forced to flee their country could approach the three million mark, one in every four citizens in the country, by the end of 2018 unless security improves. This represents almost 1 million more than now. Additionally, the number of IDPs remains at 1.86 million, while 210 thousand reside in Protection of Civilian sites. The people of South Sudan deserve better. They deserve peace. I thank Ambassador Nikki Haley for just now adding real and vivid images to these statistics by recounting her recent experiences in the country.
Innocent people, many of them women and children, are suffering. The primary responsibility of protection of civilians lies on the Government. The Government must take further concrete actions to alleviate their suffering, including food insecurity and displacement.
Regrettably, the Secretary-General has continued to report persistent SoFA violations. On 9th November, President Salva Kiir ordered that humanitarian convoys and NGOs be granted free, unimpeded and unhindered movement in South Sudan. His total government has the responsibility to fully implement this order. The Council stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to urge the Government as well as the opposition on humanitarian access.
A genuinely inclusive political process, including the National Dialogue, is the only way to achieve a political solution. Parties must understand that true peace will never come from fighting. In this regard, Japan strongly supports IGAD Revitalization Forum process. We are encouraged that IGAD ministers have approached the broad range of parties of South Sudan and obtained their commitment and cooperation to this initiative, including commitment to the cessation of hostilities.
This regional Forum will take place in the coming weeks. We urge all parties of South Sudan to fully engage and seriously cooperate with IGAD in good faith. All parties involved in this process must come to the table with a genuine desire for peace and leave behind political games. At the same time, IGAD should continue to display unified efforts and strong determination during the preparation of options and recommendations for this process. As a result of these efforts, we look forward to concrete results with a revised time frame on the revitalization and implementation of the 2015 Agreement, including elections, DDR and SSR.
Japan shares the view with the AUPSC communique of 20 September that this process represents a unique window of opportunity, but equally a last chance for the parties to really achieve peace and stability. The Council should remain vigilant in ensuring that all parties are actively engaged in an inclusive political process, such as the IGAD Forum, to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan. Japan will spare no effort to find the best way forward to support the people of South Sudan in their search for lasting peace and security.
I thank you, Mr. President.