The UN Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMISS Ellen Margrethe Løj has called on South Sudanese to unite despite their ethnic affiliation to create a strong single national identity to enjoys fruits of their independence.
She expressed concern that the South Sudanese “hopes and aspirations at the time of independence have not yet been fulfilled”.
Ellen Margrethe Løj made these remarks at a press conference on Monday, in Juba, during a farewell speech to the Security Council as she prepares to leave office as head of UNMISS at the end of November.
In her final briefing, she underlined that the security situation in the country, particularly in the Greater Equatorias, in parts of Unity, and Western Bahr el Ghazal states, remained volatile.
She further acknowledged the resilience of the people of South Sudan despite frequent attacks that resulted in civilian casualties and displacement, as well as disrupted supply of essential goods, including food.
The outgoing UNMISS head added that the increasingly fragmented conflict – often with ethnic undertones – continued to push the country towards further division and risked a full-scale civil conflict.
She also said the humanitarian situation that remained “dire” with some 4.8 million people estimated to be severely food insecure and farmers in parts of the country likely to miss the upcoming planting season due to lack of availability of seeds, was caused by fragile security.
According to the UNMISS Head, the success and failure of the South Sudanese Peace Agreement lay in its comprehensive and inclusive implementation by its parties and called for sustained regional and international support to the country.
More so, she called upon stakeholders to the peace agreement to support its implementation, and urged all involved especially the South Sudanese leaders never to lose sight of the ultimate goal – a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of South Sudan.
Close to three million South Sudanese have fled their homes since the conflict began in December 2013.
Some 205,000 are sheltering in Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites established by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country UNMISS.