Herve Ladsous, the United Nations Under-Secretary for peacekeeping operations says, South Sudan has opened a new page in its national life with the coming into force of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
He made the comment whiles addressing the press on the final day of his trip to South Sudan, during which time he held discussions with President Salva Kiir and his two vice presidents.
‘‘First, why I came at this particular point to South Sudan. This was simply a reflection that the coming into operation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan equates the opening of a new page in the situation of the country,’‘ he said.
'I would also mention, of course that we remain very attentive to human rights and similar issues, but we are taking a positive view. Again, a new page has opened.
He added that the United Nations involvement in the country should not be seen as the rôle of a substitute government, but rather all the key decisions in repositioning the country would and should rest in the hands of South Sudanese.
‘‘It was very important to listen to our South Sudanese interlocutors with one very important message, it is that the responsibilities are theirs, but that the UN are here to help. We are not there to substitute, the decisions have to be made by the South Sudanese themselves, but we are in support,’‘ Lasdous added.
He reiterated the thematic areas that the Kiir-led government had decided to focus on, stability and security; the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); building an institutional framework and the economy and humanitarian situation with highlight on food insecurity.
Earlier during his visit, Ladsous visited IDP camps in Bentiu and Malakal, before heading to the Bangladesh force marine unit aslo in Malakal to visit troops on duty there. He is however quick to raise the issues of human rights tasking the government not to compromise on the rights of ordinary South Sudanese.
‘‘I would also mention, of course that we remain very attentive to human rights and similar issues, but we are taking a positive view. Again, a new page has opened and the relationship of the United Nations with South Sudan similarly is now on a new footing,’‘ he concluded.
South Sudan had been in political crisis since the current first vice-president was sacked by president Kiir in 2013, following which a war broke out in the young African nation later in the year.
Under a peace accord signed in August 2015, Machar agreed to rejoin Kiir in a 30-month transitional government, leading to new elections. His return was however delayed on a number of occasions key among the reasons being a lack of agreement relative to the quantity of arms his soldiers could bring into Juba.
He has now assumed the first vice-president post and running the country with Salva Kiir pending elections as scheduled.