June 24, 2021 — Speaking on behalf of the United Kingdoms during the recent Security Council briefing on UNMISS, the UK Acting Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador James Roscoe, applauded the UN Security Council for taking a bold decision to renew arms embargos, sanction regimes and the Panel of Experts’ mandate on South Sudan despite strikes from the South Sudanese authorities.
According to Ambassador Roscoe, South Sudan has a lot of oil revenues but due to lack of political will to utilize the resources in the best interests of the citizens, the government diverts resources to arm the military and allied militias who later turn the same arms on themselves or on civilians.
“We welcome that this Council recently renewed the arms embargo, sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts’ mandate.” Said the UK Acting Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador James Roscoe
“Because we know that there are billions of dollars in oil revenues, but despite this, the economy over the period has contracted significantly. We also know that natural resources, those very oil dollars, are being exploited and public funds diverted. And this is leaving next to no money available to invest in public infrastructure or services” Amb. Roscoe said.
The UK representative reiterated that for the arms embargo and sanction regimes to be uplifted, the South Sudanese authorities must establish the Necessary Unified Forces with a genuinely unified command.
“We encourage the Government to take forward tasks on the arms embargo benchmarks, including the establishment of the Necessary Unified Force with a genuinely unified command.” Amb. Roscoe continued.
“Progress implementing the peace process has been too slow and too limited. And there are many reasons for this, but it’s clear, as we listened again today, that one of the reasons is an absence of political will, and the political will necessary to deliver.” He further reiterated.
On contrary, the South Sudanese government threatens that it cannot implement the security arrangement or unify the forces because the arms embargoes are preventing the country from buying arms to equip the unified forces.
Instead, most mechanisms that address the security arrangement are left to expire by default and senior military officials including the SPLM/A-IO Chief of Staff are being appointed into political positions.
According to Amb. Roscoe, South Sudan leaders should use this limited opportunity of peace to reflect on the future of their country and try to build on their commitment to working together for the benefit of their people.
“In closing, Mr President, let me reiterate the call for South Sudan’s leaders to use this milestone, this decade anniversary, to reflect on the future they want for their country, and build on their commitment to working together for the benefit of all, for the benefit of the people, that they’re of course there to serve. Because we know what needs to happen – that all of it requires the Government of South Sudan to take ownership.” Amb. Roscoe underscores.
“We can ensure the next decade delivers the stability and prosperous nation its people deserve. Let’s seize this opportunity.” He added.
In addition, the UK Representative calls on South Sudanese authorities to protect humanitarian aid workers who are delivering the most needed basic services to vulnerable people across the country – saying if they fail to hold such individuals accountable, the country could face more sanctions.
“We urge the South Sudanese authorities to take action to guarantee the safety of those delivering life-saving assistance and to hold perpetrators to account. And if they fail to do so, we need to consider new sanctions listings.” He said.
“But it’s also very clear to all of us, reading the report and hearing today, that so much remains to be done. Because the stark reality is that South Sudan remains one of the world’s least developed countries, with its short history dominated by violence, by corruption and subsequent suffering.” He added.