France stresses urgent need to protect civilians in South Sudan
South Sudan – Remarks to the press from France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as President of the Security Council (excerpts)¹
New York, 23 December 2013
The members of the Security Council just had an emergency meeting on the crisis in South Sudan. Mr Mulet, Assistant-Secretary-General for peacekeeping, briefed us on the situation on the ground. Fighting has extended to many parts of the country. Violence continues to follow ethnic lines. The humanitarian situation is worsening with 100,000 IDPs. 45,000 IDPs have been seeking refuge in and around the UNMISS bases.
In this context, the Secretary-General circulated a letter to the Security Council to reinforce UNMISS by 5,500 peacekeepers, plus some enablers.
To respond to the request of the Secretary-General, the US delegation just circulated a draft resolution. This draft resolution received a positive reaction from all the members of the Security Council. This text will be negotiated and amended but could be voted tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Q. – What will this reinforced mission’s mandate be? (…)
THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE – In view of what I’ve said, in the current circumstances clearly certain parts of the mandate are no longer a matter of urgency. All the United Nations’ resources are going to have to be concentrated on three urgent matters: 1) facilitating political dialogue; 2) protecting civilians, particularly those at UNMISS bases – but let’s be clear: the United Nations, which has around 4,000 soldiers and could have 9,000, absolutely won’t be able to protect all civilians in South Sudan, given the size of the country; and 3) humanitarian aid and the defence of human rights. This is also why the United Nations will be able to repatriate non-essential personnel for obvious security reasons. These are personnel carrying out missions which are no longer a priority, for example DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration]. Clearly this isn’t the heart of the mission today. (…)./.
¹ M. Araud spoke in French and English.