US urges Kiir, Machar to combine efforts to overcome challenges

June 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–While making remarks at the United Nations Security Council briefing on the situation in South Sudan on Tuesday, a US diplomat called on President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar to work together in order to overcome the ongoing challenges facing the country.

“The United States is committed to working closely with the Transitional Government and its partners to implement the peace agreement and ensure a better future for the people of South Sudan. However, we expect South Sudan’s leaders to govern together as one government, and work in the best interest of its citizens. A government working together would respond immediately to address outbreaks of violence anywhere in the country,” said Rodney Hunter, Political Coordinator, U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Rodney stressed the need for South Sudan’s leaders to consider UNMISS and other humanitarian agencies as partners while addressing the country’s deep-seated problems.

“A government working together would look to UNMISS and the UN as a valuable partner not only in providing safety and security for its citizens, but also in addressing the COVID-19 crisis. A government working together would recognize the essential role played by humanitarian partners in delivering much needed assistance.”

The US official expressed his disappointment at the leaders’ reluctance to work together as a team.

“Unfortunately, we still do not see the Transitional Government working together. We recognize the challenges posed by COVID-19, but we see the pandemic as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between all of the parties and stakeholders in the Transitional Government.”

He reiterated his country’s commitment to support full implementation of the peace agreement.

“The United States remains committed to full implementation of the peace agreement – just as we remain committed to the people of South Sudan at this most pressing time.”

“The people of South Sudan are facing monumental challenges as they confront both escalating violence and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The United States remains concerned about increasing violence in Jonglei State, including widespread sexual and gender-based violence. This has already killed at least 600 individuals this year and resulted in the abduction of 150 women and girls. The violence, which is spreading to other parts of the country, risks eroding gains in the peace process which this Council has sought to support.”

“The continued delays in the peace process are unacceptable. While there has been an agreement on the political formula to be used for appointing governors, the actual appointments and implementation of security arrangements need to occur in short order. A priority in all of this should be the meaningful participation of women.”

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