Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Sudan and South Sudan

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 15, 2023


Thank you, Madam President. And thank you, Special Representative Haysom and Ms. Worsornu, for your comprehensive briefings today. And thank you, Ms. Racheal Juan, for your insights on South Sudan.

The United States reaffirms its appreciation for the dedication and commitment of UNMISS – including its peacekeeping troops, police, and civilian staff, along with humanitarian partners who serve to protect civilians in South Sudan, deliver assistance, and mitigate conflict in many volatile areas.

As we heard from our briefers today, fighting in Sudan continues to severely impact South Sudan’s resources, humanitarian needs, security, and infrastructure due to more than a quarter million returnees and refugees seeking refuge in border towns and IDP camps, including UNMISS’s protection of civilians site. An additional 26,000 South Sudanese displaced persons have fled violence and food insecurity in Ethiopia’s refugee camps, further straining resources and food supply.

Rising tensions between new arrivals and residents are contributing to the violence as evidenced by clashes in Malakal protection of civilians site and IDP camps. The United States remains gravely concerned over the congestion and overcrowding in border towns, such as Renk, and IDP camps, as well as the lack of adequate shelter and medical aid for displaced persons.

In that regard, we strongly urge UNMISS, the transitional government, and humanitarian partners to strengthen efforts to provide returnees and displaced persons sufficient shelter, food, medical, and relocation services. We also urge parties to continue to provide assistance and services to host communities and those displaced less recently to ensure a balanced approach that takes into account the needs of all groups.

Turning to the political transition, the United States remains disappointed with the lack of progress by the Transitional Government of South Sudan’s implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement and 2022 Roadmap. With only 15 months remaining until the December 2024 elections, it is not evident South Sudan will be prepared to hold elections under conditions consistent with President Kiir’s commitments.

Open political space for a genuine campaign free of intimidation and violence does not exist, the transitional government has failed to detail the budget revenue it will dedicate to electoral administrative tasks, and needed legislation has not been passed.

We look forward to the October 15 release of the Secretary-General’s report that will provide the UN assessment of the factors that have caused the delays in peace agreement implementation.

We also deplore that sexual violence remains an ongoing issue that must be addressed. This reporting period highlighted 18 cases of conflict related sexual violence including 12 women, eight girls, and one man.

The United States strongly condemns any form of gender-based violence. We call on the Government to take immediate steps to strengthen rule of law institutions and increase survivors’ access to services.

In closing, Madam President, the transitional government must seize this opportunity to give the South Sudanese people a hopeful future. The people of South Sudan deserve to live without violence, to feel safe, and to contribute to the betterment of their country.

We reiterate our call to transitional leaders to expand civic space and create conditions under which all political parties, civil society, internally displaced persons, and South Sudanese citizens, including women, youth, and displaced persons, will have full, equal, and meaningful inclusion in the peace process that will shape South Sudan’s future.

The United States remains committed to the cause of peace and to the people of South Sudan.

Thank you, Madam President.