South Sudan is keen to cooperate with UNMISS: presidential aide

UNMISS peacekeepers from Rwanda wait to escort members of the visiting U.N. Security Council on Friday, September 2, 2016 (AP/Justin Lynch file Photo)

September 9, 2017 (JUBA) – A presidential aide Saturday said that President Salva Kiir has directed all government institutions to cooperate with the United Nations mission in the country, stressing that the young nation was herself a member of the global organization.

“The government has no problem with the presence of UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan). We know this is not the first time our problem have dealt with the United Nations. The United Nations has been with our people for a very long time. During the war of liberation struggle, the United Nations and western countries led by the United States played a very important role,” a presidential adviser on military affairs”, told Sudan Tribune on Saturday

Daniel Awet Akot said the government and the people cannot forget the support received during dark days from the United Nations and the international community.

“What we are saying now is that: yes, there are challenges but they can be overcome through the same spirit of cooperation and understanding we received from the United Nations and others during the war,” Akot said.

Government spokesperson Minister Michael Makuei Lueth recently said they want to renegotiate UNMISS mandate before its renewal next December. He further accused the peacekeeping operation 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.

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.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Representative in South Sudan, David Shearer said in a statement broadcast by the state owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation following a meeting with President Salva Kiir on Thursday that the discussion he had with South Sudanese leader focused on working relations between the government and the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Shearer described the meeting as a ‘positive’ discussion, covering the UNs cooperation, deployment of the Regional Protection Force and patrols along the volatile Juba-Yei and Juba and Bor roads.

The top UN official in the country said the main message that came out of the meeting was to strengthen cooperation between the government and the United Nations mission in the country.

“We agreed that cooperation was necessary at all levels between the UN and the government and the President asked me to come back and have a chat with him next week before I go off to the UN General Assembly which is in a couple of weeks’ time. So it was a very good meeting and very good to hear the President’s impressions of what is happening on the ground and the continuing cooperation between the UN, UNMISS and the government of South Sudan,” said Shearer.

John Andruga Duku, Director for International Organizations at the ministry of foreign affairs said the meeting marks the beginning of improved working relations between UNMISS and the government.