President Salva Kiir today said that improving South Sudan’s international image and mending strained relations with the United Nations are two of his priorities.
“Our relations with the United Nations have not been smooth over the last three years,” President Kiir told the Transitional National Legislative Assembly in Juba.
He recognised the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, as a “pragmatic man,” and added:
“My government pledges to work with him very closely to improve our relationship with the UN system in general.”
That relationship includes David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan.
“The new head of UNMISS is also someone I have confidence will work very closely with the government to improve our relations,” said president Kiir.
Officially opening the second session of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, President Kiir said that he is also optimistic about the government of South Sudan being able to improve its diplomatic relations with the United States of America.
“We believe that a strong bilateral cooperation between South Sudan and the United States of America will end all the destabilising hands of external actors in our affairs,” the president said.
Underlining his optimism regarding the prospects of a peaceful year ahead, President Kiir called on partners to resume development activities in the country and to support the implementation of the peace agreement.
“Those governments and agencies that have already come back and resumed their work hearten us,” he said.
He assured the legislators that “the government will ensure that all humanitarian and development organisations have unimpeded access to needy populations across the country.”
The government and the United Nations yesterday declared famine in parts of Unity State in the northern central part of the country.