November 29, 2017 (JUBA) - A United Nations official has urged members of the Security Council to “unanimously" express its support to the urgent revitalization of the peace process so that the suffering of all South Sudanese can come to an end.
The revitalization is being led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with support from the neighbouring countries, to revive the implementation of the 2015 peace accord and bring all the warring parties together.
Addressing the Council on the security situation in the war-torn nation, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on Tuesday, Bintou Keita also raised concerns about the growing number of incidents targeting humanitarian actors and restrictions on movement of the UN Mission in South Sudan personnel.
“The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to be dire, compounded by widespread armed conflict, inter-communal violence, large displacements of the civilian population and access restrictions which prevents the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” said Keita.
According to the world body, an estimated 4 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes in the conflict that erupted nearly four years ago following a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and ex-Vice-President, Riek Machar.
Despite an August 2015 peace agreement, however, the violence has continued.
Keita further warned that the arrival of the dry season in South Sudan could lead to more fighting that would undermine the political process and cause additional civilian casualties and displacement.
According to UN figures, nearly half of the country’s 12 million people are hungry, including about 1.7 million on the brink of famine.
"The situation is likely to get worse with onset of the dry season", said Keita.
She added, "The government’s push to assert military dominance across the country, notably when faced with continued resistance by armed opposition groups."
The conflict in South Sudan, the senior UN official emphasized, can only have a political solution and urged the international community to provide unified and unconditional support for the peace process.