Briefing and Consultations on South Sudan
Council members will be briefed tomorrow (15 November), on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. Hilde Johnson, Head of UNMISS, is also expected to brief from Juba by video link. At press time there was no indication the UN representatives from South Sudan and Sudan would participate in tomorrow’s briefing although it is a possibilty. Closed consultations are scheduled to follow the briefing.
It appears that Ladsous’ briefing is likely to cover political progress made in South Sudan following the recent formation of a new cabinet and the preparation of a draft national electoral law and national party act. It seems that he may also highlight some of the challenges facing South Sudan, including corruption, human rights abuses, inter-communal violence, and rebel groups. In keeping with the Secretary-General’s recent report on UNMISS, it also appears that Ladsous is likely to recommend that UNMISS’ troop strength remain at its currently mandated level of 7,000 military personnel.
It seems Johnson is likely to focus on the situation on the ground, particularly the recent bombings and ground combat in South Sudan. Following the last briefing on Friday, 11 November, apparently some Council members were keen to have more verified information on the attacks. (These include bombings on the Yida refugee camp in Unity state and on New Guffa and Yafta in Maban County in Upper Nile state, as well as the recently reported fighting between Sudanese and South Sudanese forces in Upper Nile.)
It is likely during the closed consultations Council members will focus on the military incursions. Some Council members are concerned about how South Sudan’s security, the rule of law, and human rights challenges are going to be addressed given the on-going tensions with Sudan.
It appears that Council members are currently negotiating a presidential statement, circulated by the US, which apparently condemns the recent cross-border attacks and calls on the parties to strengthen efforts to negotiate outstanding CPA issues. It seems that there was agreement following last Friday’s briefings that the Council needed to take some action. There was also apparently agreement that both Sudan and South Sudan needed to adhere to all agreements while engaging in more constructive dialogue on post-CPA issues. However, it appears that some members would like more information on the attacks before finalising the statement and it is unclear if agreement will be reached in time for them to adopt the statement during tomorrow’s meeting.