Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan and South Sudan

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
June 20, 2023


Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Special Representative Haysom, Ambassador Gituai, and Dr. Impagliazzo for your comprehensive briefings today.

The United States is alarmed by the June 8 reports of deadly intercommunal violence in the Malakal protection of civilian site. We condemn the reported attacks and offer our deep condolences to the families affected by the violence.

We commend the Governor of Upper Nile State and state authorities working in coordination with UNMISS on strengthening security measures, including securing the perimeter of the Malakal POC site.

While we also commend UNMISS for its rapid deployment of peacekeepers to quell the violence, we are concerned that the mission had not adopted measures to address potential violence in advance despite early signals of tensions between the two communities. We look forward to the results of the independent assessment by October 15 on UNMISS’ implementation of its protection of its civilians mandate and where we need to help the mission address gaps.

We are gravely concerned for the welfare of civilians and internally displaced residents, who remain in a vulnerable and life-threatening situation in and around the Malakal camp. We are also alarmed by reports of armed groups moving towards the POC site, as well as rumors concerning the presence of small arms inside the camp.

We urge UNMISS, in close coordination with state authorities, but unilaterally if it must, consistent with its mandate, to restore calm and security and ensure protection of civilians and IDPs inside and outside the camp, especially vulnerable populations. We further urge South Sudanese transitional authorities to prevent such movement by armed groups towards the POC site.

The influx of civilians from continued fighting in Sudan has further deteriorated South Sudan’s already declining humanitarian situation and caused greater strain on the POC site. Over 100,000 individuals have crossed the border from Sudan into South Sudan, with the expectation that 180,000 more will cross over the next three months according to UNHCR’s and IOM’s emergency response plan.

Coupled with a cost-of-living crisis, consecutive years of flash floods that have damaged viable land for cultivation and livelihoods, as well as a continued outbreak of waterborne and other diseases in several states, this crisis has placed a further strain on social cohesion. Immediate implementation of the transitional government’s commitments is the best way to ensure the effects of the Sudan crisis can be mitigated in South Sudan.

Despite the challenges this country faces, South Sudanese officials need to make progress on implementing the Roadmap and political transition. We again stress that the only way for the Transitional Government of South Sudan to achieve a successful transition to a permanent government is to create and maintain a stable environment where civilians are protected.

South Sudan’s transitional leaders must deliver the results they committed to in the peace agreement and address immediate issues such as the ongoing violence in Upper Nile State and the dire humanitarian situation.

The United States remains committed to the cause of peace and to the people of South Sudan. Thank you, Madam President.