16th July 2024
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Govt, UNMISS discuss mutual issues, including increasing peacekeepers

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Sunday, June 30, 2024

Officials from the government and UNMISS hold meeting in Juba. (-)

The government and the UN Mission in South Sudan discussed a number of issues including the possibility of increasing UN peacekeepers in the country and ways to have the existing arms embargo lifted.

The meeting between foreign ministry officials and UNMISS led by the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, held a meeting on Friday to address several issues and strengthen cooperation.

The high-level engagement agreed to address issues of mutual concerns including the implementation of benchmarks outlined in 28 May 2021 for modifying, suspending, or progressively lifting the arms embargo.

These include the completion of Strategic Defense and Security Review process contained in the 2018 peace agreement, establishment and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process, and the proper management of existing arms and ammunition stockpiles.

The dialogue is said to be essential in resolving key mutual benchmarks, including tax exemption and measures necessary for the lifting of arms embargo.

Mr. Guang Cong, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the meeting also discussed the issue of free movement for UN peacekeepers and humanitarian agencies.

Mr. Cong said a technical committee was proposed to examine existing issues hindering close cooperation between the government and UNMISS.

“We discussed several issues including the freedom of movement, and also, how we can support the government in addressing the key benchmarks to lift the arms embargo,” he said.

“We also discussed the issue of expired ammunition and increasing the present number of battalions and platoons on UN force. We have agreed to set technical committee to address all outstanding issues.”

It was not clear how many more troops the UN Mission intends to deploy in South Sudan

There are about 18,000 UNMISS peacekeepers working in partnership with the government to provide civilians protection through peacekeeping patrols and establishing temporary bases in conflict hotspots.

On his part, Amb. Wol Mayar, spokesperson of the foreign ministry, emphasized the meeting’s role in closing working gaps and fostering constructive engagement.

“This is a normal engagement between the Ministry and UNMISS and other UN agencies to hold dialogue and constructive engagement in understanding the way of conducting business,” Mayar said.

“We have this technical committee to do with the movement of the forces and the issue of taxation exemption on UN agencies these are the matters that will be addressed to close the gaps.”

 

 

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