U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Issues Warning on South Sudan
Oct 20, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– The leader of United Nations’ peacekeeping operations offered a dire appraisal of South Sudan on Tuesday, saying the world’s youngest nation is sliding further into mayhem with no sign that its antagonists want peace.
In a report to the United Nations Security Council, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the under secretary general of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, called upon the leaders of South Sudan’s warring factions to “bring the country back from the impending abyss.”
Mr. Lacroix said that a diplomatic effort by eight African nations to revitalize a 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan had received only a “lukewarm response” from the government of President Salva Kiir, and that Mr. Kiir’s political adversaries also remained cautious about it.
Despite the presence of 17,000 United Nations peacekeepers in South Sudan, Mr. Lacroix said that security had deteriorated and that armed clashes, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and other rights abuses had increased in much of the country.
His report came a week before the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, is scheduled to visit South Sudan to press for a solution to the four-year-old civil war, which has left tens of thousands dead and has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
More than two million people have fled South Sudan and nearly two million have been displaced, totaling a third of the country’s population. United Nations relief officials have said extreme hunger threatens half the country.
At least 200,000 South Sudanese are sheltering at United Nations peacekeeping bases.
Ms. Haley, who will be the highest-ranking Trump administration official to travel to Africa, said last month that the eight-nation African diplomatic effort, known as the High Level Revitalization Forum, was “the last chance at salvaging the peace agreement in South Sudan.”
She also pledged to the South Sudanese people in a Twitter posting that “we look forward to delivering the message in person very soon that we have not given up on them and have not forgotten them.”
The United States is a leading aid provider to South Sudan and was a strong supporter of its independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011.
Optimism about South Sudan’s prospects faded within a few years when an ethnic civil war erupted between forces loyal to President Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic group, and his former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer. Mr. Machar now lives in exile in South Africa.