New York/Juba, January 23, 2017 (SSNA) — The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday called for an immediate deployment of the regional protection force to end what it described as systematic “obstructions.”
The world body says it is concerned by the continuation of fighting throughout South Sudan, denials of humanitarian access to many parts of the country.
The calls came days after the new UN Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres accused South Sudan of hindering deployment of more UN peacekeepers.
UN Security Council President Olof Skoog told reporters today that the 15-member council had a ‘long and fruitful discussion on South Sudan’ at a closed-door meeting and that the council calls for “a speedy deployment of additional troops” were agreed.
“The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern that fighting continues throughout South Sudan, and that there are continued denials of humanitarian access to many regions of the country where the South Sudanese people are suffering and in need,” Skoog said.
Skoog disclosed that at the news conference that the UNSC told South Sudanese government “to work constructively with the UN on a swift deployment of the regional protection force and to end obstructions.”
The new UN chief stated in a confidential report last Tuesday that South Sudan should give visas to UN advance teams to conduct visits as required in the agreement, adding that the deployment of a 4,000-strong regional protection force could be completed by the end of next month or early March if Juba follows steps needed.
South Sudan also said on January 11 that Juba would no longer accept 4,000 additional UN peacekeepers, saying the country is peaceful and that only people who live outside the South Sudan “still believe that there is fighting in Juba and around the country.”
A detailed transcript of last year agreement shows Ethiopia and Rwanda have already agreed to be part of the regional protection force and would send their troops to South Sudan as soon as they are given the go-ahead.
In the meeting, the UNSC also calls on South Sudan’s warring factions to cease hostility and urges South Sudanese stakeholders to stop hate speech.