A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called for efforts to advance the political process in South Sudan.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of South Sudan. Over the past 10 years, the South Sudanese have overcome numerous challenges and made new progress in nation-building. At present, the situation in South Sudan presents both opportunities and challenges, said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
There is a need to maintain the positive momentum of the political process, he told the Security Council.
For some time now, the cease-fire in South Sudan has been holding on the whole. And the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has made positive progress on key issues, such as government formation and appointment of governors. China welcomes this development, he said.
China encourages all parties in South Sudan to consolidate existing gains; move forward the key tasks of security arrangements, the reconstitution of parliament, and preparations for general elections; stay in the course of implementing the peace agreement and resolve potential differences by peaceful means, said Zhang.
“We call on the armed factions that have not yet joined the agreement to do so as soon as possible. The implementation of the agreement faces practical difficulties, such as lack of funding. We hope the international community will provide responsive assistance,” he said.
The international community should continue to support the peace efforts of the African Union (AU) and sub-regional organizations such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and countries such as Sudan, he said.
China calls on the international community to respond to the AU’s initiative and lift sanctions against South Sudan as soon as possible, he said.
It is necessary to continue to improve the security situation in South Sudan, said Zhang.
Communal and ethnic conflicts continue to pose a security threat to the people of South Sudan, and require a combination of responses such as prevention, mediation, reconciliation, and protection. The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, has devoted considerable efforts to this end with some success. The government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility for protecting civilians. China supports the international community in continuing to provide capacity-building assistance to the government of South Sudan in this regard, he said.
Competing for resources remains a major cause of communal and ethnic conflict. Developing the economy and improving people’s livelihood can help eliminate the root causes of conflict. Special attention should be paid to this point, he said.
It is necessary to help South Sudan in its response to challenges such as COVID-19. The COVID-19 infection rate in South Sudan is reported to be as high as 15 percent to 25 percent, which is worrying, he said.
The immediate priority is to provide anti-COVID-19 support to South Sudan, ensure timely and fair access to vaccines for those in need and curb the spread of the pandemic, said Zhang.
South Sudan is experiencing severe economic difficulties, and more than 8 million people may need humanitarian assistance this year. The international community should step up its support and assistance in this regard, he said.
China has all along actively supported South Sudan’s economic and social development. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has provided several batches of anti-pandemic materials and humanitarian assistance to South Sudan and has decided to donate COVID-19 vaccines to the country, said Zhang.
While Chinese medical teams remain on the ground, additional teams of medical experts have been dispatched. Chinese female peacekeepers are also actively involved in providing medical help to local people, he said.
China will continue to work with all parties to help South Sudan meet its challenges, he added.
UNMISS has done a great deal and played a significant role in improving the situation in South Sudan. China pays tribute to the peacekeepers who have remained at their posts against COVID-19 and supports the extension of its mandate, said Zhang.
China hopes that UNMISS will give top priority to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and strengthen coordination and synergy with regional organizations such as IGAD.
COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the health of peacekeepers and affects the normal performance of peacekeeping operations, including UNMISS. This situation warrants high attention. China has decided to donate COVID-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers. China will continue to support the work of UNMISS, he said.