South Sudan rejects unilateral renewal of UNMISS mandate

Chinese peacekeepers of UNMISS, patrol outside the premises of the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Juba on October 4, 2016. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/AFP Photo)

September 5, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan said Tuesday it will not accept any unilateral decision to renew the mandate of the United Nations in South Sudan without seeking her consent and approval.

Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that the government and the people of South Sudan want to be working in partnership with the United Nations as a member state.

“The United Nations and the government of the republic and the people needs be working together as partners. Whatever is to be done on behalf of the people and the government needs to be subject to consultations and discussions before taking actions. So as the government we have been getting genuine concerns from the people about the mandate of UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) is renewed without sufficient consultations and discussion, which is a right way,” said Lomuro.

“Because of these genuine concerns, we say the renewal of the mandate of UNMISS in December this needs to be done with the approval of the people and the government,” further said the cabinet minister.

He echoed the statements of the information minister and the government spokesman that the government will not allow an automatic renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at the end of its current mandate in December 2017.

Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters at the news conference on Thursday last week that the government will review the mandate of the UN in the country. The government spokesman, also, accused the UN of causing situations in order for their mandates to be renewed.

“We are talking of revisiting the mandate because once the UN comes to your country, they will never write one day that this country is at peace we [the UN] are going away. They will continue all the time to write there is insecurity so that they continue to stay,” said Lueth.

“With the end of the mandate of the UN at the end of December, the government of South Sudan must be consulted before they talk of renewing anything. This idea of automatic renewal without the involvement of the government of South Sudan is not acceptable and will not happen,” he said.

The minister also said the mandate of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) also needs to be reviewed because they were supposed to be deployed at a time when the forces of Riek Machar were in Juba.

“They [the UN] do admit that Juba is at peace. If Juba is at peace then we need to revisit the mandate of the RPF and this is what we will do. We will have to revisit the mandate of the RPF… if they have come to assist the people and the government of South Sudan then we will have to revisit their mandate so that they render a better service to the people of South Sudan,” he added.

The government mouth piece also accused the UN forces of causing tensions when patrolling the streets of Juba, claiming they move in the town with guns cocked creating unnecessary havoc to our people, sending a negative message that Juba is not yet at peace, and when somebody comes and see these UN forces moving in three or four trucks moving just like that with their guns then what message will that person take?”