New York/Juba, January 17, 2017 (SSNA) — The government of South Sudan has been accused of obstructing UN process to deploy additional 4,000 peacekeepers as agreed last year, the newly appointed United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a confidential report to the 15-member council.
The report which was sent to the UN Security Council Tuesday cites recent contradictory statements made by South Sudanese government officials as indications that Juba is not willing to cooperate with the deployment of an addition peacekeeping force.
“These statements by key officials in charge of defense and security shed doubt on the (government’s) actual willingness to actively cooperate with the deployment and operationalization of the force unless credible pressure is applied to the council and the region to support it,” Guterres said in the report.
Guterres, who urges the Security Council to apply maximum pressure on South Sudan’s government, added that “The trend of bureaucratic impediments and restrictions continues to constrain the mission’s capacity to carry out its mandated tasks … and its ability to project presence in locations where civilians are in need of protection, including from ethnically driven attacks.”
South Sudan said on January 11 that it rejected the deployment of more UN peacekeepers, claiming the war-torn young nation is calm and capable of protecting itself, adding only people who live outside South Sudan still believe there is fighting in Juba and around the country.
“The government of South Sudan has the ability to provide security and stability for the country and for its citizens without the deployment of a protection force,” Mawein Makol Ariik, the spokesperson for South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said last Wednesday in a statement obtained by the South Sudan News Agency.
The UN chief further explained in the report that Juba needed to issues visas for UN advance teams, adding that advance teams are parts of the standby 4,000 strong regional protection force already approved by the UN Security Council. In the report, Guterres disclosed that if advance teams conduct visits as required in the deployment agreement, the first batch of the peacekeepers could arrive in South Sudan by the end of February or early March.