Statement delivered by Undersecretary of State Hon. Vincenzo Amendola at the Security Council Open Debate on the Reports of the Secretary-General on Sudan and the South Sudan —
I thank you especially for convening this meeting. Let me thank the Secretary-General for his update on the situation in South Sudan and let me reiterate Italy’s appreciation and support to his Plan of Action as it marks a first step for the way-out to the current crisis.
I also thank President Mogae and Ms. Sunday for their insightful remarks.
Needs for action: as we have heard today, the security situation in South Sudan keeps deteriorating. The political landscape is increasingly fragmented along ethnic lines. The nation is wrecked by widespread violations of human rights, impunity, gender-based violence and recruitment of child-soldiers. And the humanitarian crisis is reaching its tipping point: famine has already been declared in some parts of the country. UNMISS, the humanitarian personnel, including religious volunteers, and their facilities are attacked, looted, or obstructed while attempting at providing relief to the population.
Time is running out, as you, president, mentioned before. Clearly, the Council needs to pursue a strategy, following on what we have agreed today in the Presidential Declaration.
We are friends of South Sudan. Back in 2011, together with our partners, Italy has promoted the South Sudanese independence. We have welcomed President Kiir’s announcement on the National Dialogue. But to be credible and effective, the Dialogue needs two pre-conditions to be fulfilled and a clear and common objective in order to succeed.
First, ceasefire. Along with the Secretary-General and other Member States, we believe that the solution to the conflict can only be a political one. In order to achieve a political solution, the parties have to stop the fight. The regional partners of South Sudan are the most influential actors to help achieve this first goal. The African Union Special Representative’s shuttle diplomacy, the UN’s engagement in the country, and this Council can greatly contribute as well.
We work in this Council to keep the focus on that first concrete step which is the key to move the process forward. We thus support the request made by President Konare’ to the South Sudanese Government to announce a unilateral ceasefire.
Second, inclusivity. Our engagement is aimed at promoting a truly inclusive National Dialogue, open to all the national political stakeholders as well as civil society and religious leaders. The Dialogue could be the proper tool for the conclusion of the conflict, and the way to help respond to the profound impact of the current humanitarian crisis. We can step up our political engagement, with the African Union and IGAD, for laying the ground for achieving that goal.
We have to set up security guarantees first. At present, the progress in this area remain limited. We call on the South Sudanese parties to cooperate constructively with the UN to improve the security standards in Juba and abstain from obstructing the humanitarian access.
Third, the implementation of the Peace Agreement. The parties to the conflict signed a Peace Agreement in 2015. For most of its parts, the Agreement has not been implemented. I think of the Hybrid Court and the reconciliation process. In other cases, its implementation needs to be reinstated. The National Dialogue can succeed if correlated to the achievement of these goals.
Italy continues to provide humanitarian support to the people affected by famine and sorrow in South Sudan. We have just announced our new contribution to respond to the Secretary-General’s appeal. But the humanitarian crisis in the country is mostly man-made. It is time for action. Let’s work seriously, cooperatively, jointly in this Council, and at the regional and international level, to bring peace back in South Sudan.
I thank you.