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South Sudan: Peace deal and elections top agenda on visit of UN envoy

Jean-Pierre Lacroix arriving in Juba   -  
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South Sudan

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of UN peacekeeping arrived today (18 Feb) in South Sudan to assess progress made on the peace process and preparations underway for the upcoming elections scheduled for December, the country’s first since independence.

In Juba, he is expected to hold meetings with leaders of the Transitional Government of National Unity, civil society representatives, and other key stakeholders involved in the peace process.

Lacroix is accompanied by Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa.

Lacroix said, “this is an important time for South Sudan. There are challenges and there are also expectations on many fronts, and I think it’s also an expression of solidarity from the UN as a whole.”

For his part, the Head of the UN Peacekeeping mission here, Nicholas Haysom, said, “this is an opportunity for the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations to see one of the bigger and more effective missions; for us to introduce him to the challenges we face and the difficulties and what we’re doing to overcome those. But he also has an interest in Abyei and the conflict in Warrap between the Ngok (Dinka) and Twic (Dinka).”

Lacroix added, “it’s clear that the region is facing many challenges. Of course, the hostilities in Sudan are having an impact on South Sudan itself. There are other challenges—like you mentioned—Abyei; and I believe other phenomena like the impact of climate change are also affecting this country. They have an impact on the civilian population.”

Lacroix and Tetteh will also visit the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), and engage with the Juba-appointed Chief Administrator, Khartoum-appointed administration officials, traditional leaders as well as women’s groups and civil society representatives.

They will also use the visit to assess the prevailing situation in Southern Abyei following the increase in intercommunal violence that we have seen, as well as the peacekeeping mission’s continuing efforts to protect civilians and do whatever they can to de-escalate those intercommunal tensions.

Lacroix will also interact with civilian and uniformed peacekeeping personnel in South Sudan and Abyei and thank them for their dedication and service in a very challenging environment

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