Sept 28, 2014(UN) —Good Morning: I congratulate you, Mr President, and your country, Uganda and the African continent on your election, as the President of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. My delegation and I pledge our full support to you in this important mission. I also wish to congratulate Ambassador John Ashe for having successfully completed his term.
Global Peace and Security
We are all bound by our moral duty and legal obligations to address the challenges confronting the world today. We need to act in solidarity to promote global peace and security for the good of our nations. In this context, I urge the UN and all of you, Heads of State and Government, to support the current peace initiatives in the world, especially those in the Middle East, Central Africa Republic, Somalia, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of South Sudan. We need to find appropriate ways and means of ending these conflicts, and many others in the world and to pave the way for all the nations and the peoples of the world to live in peace and to enjoy their basic rights.
In addition, the United Nations Security Council needs to be strengthened to deal with new global challenges. Therefore, we support the call of the African leaders for a comprehensive review of the UN Security Council to ensure that Africa and other continents are well represented in this important international body, according to the African position as Stipulated by Azalwin Consensus and Sirte Declaration. This will create a more inclusive Security Council and empower all the continents to play a bigger and more effective role in promoting global peace and security for the benefit of the human race. More importantly, it will ensure that the Security Council continues to fulfil its purpose and be more able to achieve its mandate.
The journey of my people from conflict to peace, independence and freedom was costly. It was characterized by economic and political marginalization, a prolonged war, humanitarian disasters, loss of millions of lives, and untold human suffering. At independence, we acquired a country with a multitude of challenges ranging from weak national institutions, inadequate physical infrastructure, limited human capacity and weak security mechanisms. We are grateful the international community supported us and continue to do so with humanitarian and development assistance.
I have no doubt that the world has followed with shock and disbelief the violent conflict that erupted in South Sudan on Sunday 15 December 2013, which was plotted by my former Vice President who wanted to seize power by force.
He was too impatient in his thirst for power and did not want to wait for the general elections, which were scheduled to take place in 2015, and to seek the mandate from the people of South Sudan as required by The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. The failed coup and the rebellion that followed resulted in the loss of too many innocent lives, destruction of properties, and damage of community relationships. However, the coup was foiled and the Government is continuing to defend the country and the people against the ensuing rebellion.
The Government and the people of South Sudan take this opportunity to thank the United Nations, the African Union, and the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the entire international community for their prompt action to restore peace and stability in my country.
My Government is unwaveringly committed to resolve the conflict peacefully and my negotiating team has been in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since January 2014 talking peace with the rebels to close this dark chapter in the history of our young country; open a new page and pave the way for us to, once again, embark on the difficult mission of socio-economic development, which our people urgently need.
With the dedicated efforts of the mediators, we were able to sign the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement on 23 January 2014, and re-affirm our commitment to that Agreement on 9 May 2014. My Government has demonstrated its firm commitment to peace, has unreservedly honoured these Agreements, and is continuing to negotiate in good faith to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. However, the rebels have violated the Agreements too many times, and have refused to sign the Protocol Agreement, which is a crucially important document signed by the Heads of State and Government of IGAD, including myself as a party to the conflict. This important document forms the basis for resolving the crisis peacefully and inclusively. Therefore, I urge the international community to exert efforts on the rebels to sign the Protocol Agreement.
We appreciate that the international community is rightly concerned with humanitarian crisis and about human rights abuses that resulted from the failed coup and the rebellion. In this regard, my Government has ordered an investigation into these abuses and also has accepted to cooperate with the Commission of Enquiry formed by the African Union to carryout investigations into allegations of human rights violations. We are determined to hold those who will be found responsible accountable, as we do not condone impunity under any circumstances.
My Government has recently signed into law the Media Laws to guarantee freedom of expression and has also ratified (3) UN core Conventions, namely:
a) Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
b) International Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading or Treatment Punishment and its First optional Protocol; and
c) Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional Protocol on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts and optional Protocol on Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. These are all positive measures put in place to address some of these concerns.
The conflict in South Sudan is purely a political struggle for power – not an ethnic conflict as reported. The citizens displaced by the conflict, especially in the three States of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, have sought refuge in the neighbouring States of Lakes, Warrap, Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria and in the neighbouring countries. These innocent victims of the conflict urgently need and deserve humanitarian assistance. We, therefore, thank the United Nations, the Government of Norway and the other stakeholders for organizing the Donor Conference in Oslo, Norway, in May 2014, to support our humanitarian needs. We also deeply appreciate and welcome the High-level Ministerial Meeting on South Sudan, which the UN organized in the margin of the 69th Session of UN-GA on 25 September 2014 during which a number of donors made fledges of support. My Government is fully committed to render humanitarian access and has taken the necessary measures to facilitate access for Humanitarian Agencies.
The conflicts within our two countries of South Sudan and Sudan tend to be interconnected. That is why we in the Republic of South Sudan will exert more efforts to strengthen our relations with the Republic of the Sudan. Our oil flows through the Sudan. In the spirit of cooperation, my Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will soon commence more joint visits with his Sudanese counterpart to donor countries, to appeal and lobby for lifting and waiving Sudan’s foreign debt, as it was agreed in the Cooperation Agreements. There are outstanding issues associated with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), especially the final status of Abyei. The Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan are working through these issues as part of the African Union High Implementation Panel mediation and our other partners to find amicable peaceful solution with the Sudan. I am committed to addressing these outstanding issues and I am in direct communication with President Omar El Bashir of the Sudan to resolve these issues through dialogue.
Furthermore, my Government and the people of South Sudan, would like to express our appreciation and thanks to the countries that have expressed support for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in my country; especially USA, China, Egypt, South Africa, the Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Norway, Congo, Namibia and many others.
My Government is collaborating with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other stakeholders, such as community leaders, political parties, civil societies and faith based organizations to build trust with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in UNMISS Camps so that they return to their homes and their pre-conflict areas, and start once again their normal livelihood.
With respect to our cooperation with UNMISS, my Government would like to raise its concern regarding the recent mandate of UNMISS which has very serious implications in service delivery to my people. I note in particular that the new mandate does not allow UNMISS to support requests from national, state and local partners for assistance in important activities connected with capacity building, peace-building, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), Security Sector Reforms (SSR), recovery and development.
Notwithstanding the fact that the activities mentioned above are of paramount importance to South Sudan, we strongly believe the main objective of UNMISS was to support peace and reconciliation in the first place. We humbly request the United Nations Security Council to reconsider this decision when the renewal of UNMISS mandate comes up in November 2014. On the same note, we would further urge UNMISS to engage in reorientation of its activities related to its mandate to civilians protection, to shift from ‘protection-by-presence’ to ‘protection-by-action’ and to encourage those in UNMISS camps to return to their homes. UNMISS needs to protect the civilians in their neighbourhoods and not in camps in a huge country like ours, which is bigger than the size of France.
The theme of this 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is “Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda”. It is not a surprise that the Republic of South Sudan, being a 3-year-old country with numerous challenges, has missed the MDG targets.
We congratulate the UN Secretary General and the Working Group for coordinating the discussions on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will form the post-2015 global development agenda. It is vital that the SDGs focus the efforts of the Nations on reducing poverty; end hunger and achieve food security; address our health concerns, especially those issues affecting women and children; promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls; address the issues of access, equity and quality of education and tackle youth unemployment.
We strongly believe that attainment of the SDGs will require strong, sustained partnership, collaboration and coordination at international, regional and national levels and leadership of the UN. On our part, we will exert our maximal efforts and will work in partnership with the international community and our partners in the ‘New Deal’, as a member of fragile states in g7+, to achieve the new development goals. I wish to take this opportunity to express our solidarity and support to the victims of Ebola in the greater West African Region, particularly, in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leon. We acknowledge the leading role of the USA in assisting the continent to combat this virus. It is vital that the SDGs address such global health threats.
On the other hand, the Republic of South Sudan strongly condemns all forms of terrorism, including piracy, which has become a menace to international peace and security.
Climate change is now recognised as a huge global threat. It is the single biggest threat that can wipe out the planet Earth and the entire human race. I congratulate the UN Secretary General for convening the UN Climate Summit 2014 to focus attention on this global problem and I urge you all to heed the call of the UN Secretary General and “Take bold actions”. I am pleased that the SDGs cover environmental issues of concern to the international community. And I hope the climate summit in Paris in December 2015 will result in an agreement on a new global and a legally binding framework for tackling climate change. We must race against the clock to save our planet and the human race before it is too late. As Madam Graca Machel said, tackling climate change requires leadership, courage and ambition from all of us. Let us act in solidarity to create “The Future we want”.
Finally Mr President,
I reiterate my resolve to continue my firm commitment to return the people of South Sudan to peace, to full implementation of the Cooperation Agreements with the Republic of the Sudan, to unrestricted support to Humanitarian Assistance, to respect for Human Rights, to democratic governance in my Country, and to stronger working relationship with UNMISS and the entire International Community without exception. I promise that we will work together, united to establish a safe, secure, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.
Your Excellencies, we are all one in this world, whether strong or weak, rich or poor. So, let us stick together.