REBECCA NYANDENG DE MABIOR, Vice-President of South Sudan, acknowledged that, although her country’s independence was the product of the struggle and sacrifices of its people, it could not have been won without the political and material support from friends, allies and partners around the world. In that context, she assured international partners that South Sudan is determined never to go back to war. The failure of her country to fulfil the promises of the struggle is due to reasons that South Sudanese and partners must cooperate on to find practical solutions.
She went on to recall that, at the time of its independence, the international community pledged to help build the capacity of South Sudan, in all areas of nation-building. As a result, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was created to help establish the foundations of the new nation. However, after the outbreak of war, that vision was abandoned, and priority was placed on protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance. That is unfortunate, as building capacities enables a State to govern responsibly and effectively. However, there must also be guards against the unintended consequence of dependency on humanitarian assistance.
On climate change, she stressed that it has impacted the lives of some 800,000 people across South Sudan. In addition, torrential rains have resulted in the worst flooding in 60 years and have submerged villages, towns and livestock. While South Sudan contributes more than its fair share to climate security, it is a country that suffers the worst effects of a changing climate, she emphasized, urging the international community to help save the lives of more than 5.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
While she acknowledged an urgent need to form a unified professional army under one command and control, she emphasized that security sector reform is the most challenging part of the Revitalized Agreement as it contains elements at the centre of the violent conflicts in the country. As for Juba’s relations with Khartoum, she said they have improved. However, the contested area of Abyei remains an issue of contention. The Abyei Protocol clearly states the basis for resolving this issue, but disagreements over its implementation persist. Nevertheless, she declared: “We must make the Revitalized Peace Agreement succeed, and we can only do that with the support of our regional and international partners. Simply stated, South Sudan desires and is ready to turn a new page.”
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