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UN News:On eve of independence, UN creates new mission to assist South Sudan

Friday, July 8, 2011

Laaska News  July 8,2011

Festivities underway in Juba as South Sudan prepares for its independence on 9 July 2011

8 July 2011 –On the eve of South Sudan’s independence, the Security Council today voted unanimously to set up a new United Nations mission to help Africa’s newest nation consolidate peace and lay the foundation for longer-term state-building, conflict prevention and economic development.

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Resolution 1996 establishes the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) for an initial period of one year. Headed by the newly-appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hilde Johnson of Norway, the peacekeeping mission will consist of up to 7,000 military personnel and up to 900 civilian police personnel as well as a civilian component.

UNMISS will take over from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which was created following the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the north-south civil war and that paved the way for the independence of South Sudan.

The Council requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to transfer the appropriate functions performed by UNMIS to the new mission, including the appropriate staff and logistics necessary for achieving the new scope of functions and to begin the orderly liquidation of UNMIS.

The mandate of UNMISS shall be to consolidate peace and security, and to help establish the conditions for development in the Republic of South Sudan, with a view to strengthening the capacity of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to govern effectively and democratically and establish good relations with its neighbours,” the Council stated in the resolution.

The 15-member body also authorized UNMISS “to use all necessary means, within the limits of its capacity and in the areas where its units are deployed, to carry out its [civilian] protection mandate.”

The Council demanded that the Government of South Sudan and all other relevant parties cooperate fully in the deployment, operations, and monitoring, verification, and reporting functions of UNMISS, particularly by guaranteeing the safety, security and unrestricted freedom of movement of UN personnel, as well as of associated personnel throughout South Sudan.

It also called on all parties to allow the full, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need of humanitarian assistance, especially internally displaced persons and refugees.

Mr. Ban, who arrived in Khartoum today on his way to attend the South Sudan independence celebrations in Juba tomorrow, reiterated his concern over the ongoing violence in border state of Southern Kordofan and its impact on civilians. He once against urged the Sudanese Government and the forces allied to the south to conclude a ceasefire.

“I also strenuously urge the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North [Sudan People Liberation Movement-North] to display the same leadership that brought an end to the north-south civil war, and to immediately end this new confrontation, cease all hostilities and resolve all pending disputes through negotiation.

Now is the moment for all Sudanese, north and south, to come together to shape their common future,” Mr. Ban told reporters.

He said he knew that the secession of the south was painful, emotionally and financially, but he believed that Sudan will have a bright future and continue to be a leader in the region.

While the people of North and South Sudan will soon live in different countries, their future will continue to be closely linked. Ties of culture, politics and commerce compel both to face their common future as partners, not as rivals. A viable South Sudan requires a viable North Sudan, and vice versa,” the Secretary-General added.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today called for increased resources to help the four million children of South Sudan – 50 per cent of the total population – to survive and thrive.

“Tomorrow, children who have known only war now have a chance to know peace. We must not fail them,” said Executive Director Anthony Lake.

For even in the absence of conflict, the children of South Sudan face significant challenges. One child in nine still dies before reaching the age of five. Hundreds of thousands are deprived of their right to an education, to adequate health care and other critical services. Many are still displaced and at risk,” said Mr. Lake.

He emphasized UNICEF’s commitment to supporting the Government of South Sudan protect the rights of all children.

In a related development, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it had drawn up a $50 million Interim Assistance Plan (IAP) to help build capacity in South Sudan’s agriculture sector, prevent conflict over water resources and develop the livestock sector.

South Sudan is enormously rich in terms of natural resources, and with 95 per cent of the population dependent on them for survival, it has huge potential for sustainable growth through agriculture,” said George Okech, head of the FAO office in South Sudan.

FAO currently manages a $61 million emergency rehabilitation programme in South Sudan that has already helped 250,000 returnee and internally displaced households who fled their farms during the conflict return to agriculture, as well as vulnerable households who are hosting the returnees.

The agency recently carried out an extensive satellite land cover survey that showed that only 4.5 per cent of the available land was currently under cultivation.

UN News.

 

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South Sudan will need strong partnerships to tackle challenges ahead – Ban

South Sudan prepares for its independence on 9 July 2011

7 July 2011 – South Sudan, which is just days away from becoming the world’s newest country, will need to develop a broad set of partnerships – with the North, with its neighbours and its own people – to tackle the “daunting” challenges it faces, says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
On 9 July, Mr. Ban and a host of foreign dignitaries will converge on Juba, the capital of the soon-to-be Republic of South Sudan, to watch the new nation raise its flag and inaugurate its first president, Salva Kiir.

South Sudan’s independence follows a referendum held in January in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement – the 2005 accord that ended the decades-long North-South civil war in Sudan.

“For the more than eight million citizens of South Sudan, it will be a momentous and emotional day,” the Secretary-General wrote in an op-ed published today in The New York Times ahead of Saturday’s independence ceremony.

“Yet, nationhood has come at steep cost,” he added. “When the assembled presidents and prime ministers board their official planes to return home, the challenges that remain will be daunting indeed.”

On the day of its birth, Mr. Ban noted, South Sudan will rank near the bottom of all recognized human development indices, including the world’s highest maternal mortality rate and a female illiteracy rate of over 80 per cent.

“Critical issues of poverty, insecurity and lack of infrastructure must all be addressed by a relatively new government with little experience and only embryonic institutions,” said Mr. Ban, adding that the risk of increased violence, harm to civilian populations and further humanitarian suffering is “very real.”

At the same time, he noted, South Sudan has remarkable potential, given its substantial oil reserves, huge amounts of arable land and the Nile River flowing through its centre.

“Alone, South Sudan cannot meet these challenges nor realize its potential. Doing so will require partnership – a full (and ongoing) engagement with the international community and, most especially, South Sudan’s neighbours.”

Mr. Ban highlighted the need for the country’s new leaders, first and foremost, to reach out to their counterparts in the Government of Sudan, stressing that strong, peaceful relations with the North are essential.

“A priority for both countries is agreement on their common border, sustainable relations to ensure both States can benefit from the oil revenues in the region, and cross-border arrangements to continue their strong historical, economic and cultural ties,” he stated.

He noted that recent instability in Southern Kordofan and Abyei have strained North-South relations and heightened political rhetoric. “Now is the time for both the North and the South to think of the long-term benefits of working together, not short-term political gains at the other’s expense,” he said.

South Sudan must also reach out to its other neighbours, both in Africa and across the globe, the Secretary-General stated. It must also reach out to its own people. “It must find strength in diversity and build institutions that represent the full constellation of its broad geographic and ethnic communities.”

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, where he is on an official visit, Mr. Ban commended the leadership of both North and South for the progress they have made to date. “And let us emphasize that the path of prosperity and stability lies in peace and partnership – cemented at the negotiating table and supported by the entire international community.”

UN officials have highlighted the grave humanitarian impact of the fighting between northern and southern forces in Southern Kordofan that has displaced an estimated 73,000 people since it began a few weeks ago.

Haile Menkerios, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) that is due to end on 9 July, urged both sides to “display the same leadership that allowed the end of the North-South war,” to rapidly end this new confrontation, cease hostilities and resolve all pending disputes through dialogue.

“As in the past, the United Nations stands ready to assist the parties in resolving their differences and implementing new agreements they now must find,” he told a news conference.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the security situation in Southern Kordofan remains tense and volatile, with fighting reported near the main town of Kadugli every day over the past week.

While humanitarian agencies have access to Kadugli town, access to locations outside of Kadugli for aid activities is still being denied, it added. UN agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are continuing to provide assistance where possible.

 

UN News.