Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on UNISFA (via VTC)

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 28, 2020


Thank you, Mr. President and good morning to all colleagues. I thank you, Under-Secretary Lacroix and Special Envoy Parfait for your briefing, as well as for your joint visit to Abyei in February.

We commend UNISFA’s activities in Abyei during this difficult period with the COVID-19 pandemic, including its vital support to local peace and protection committees, as noted in the Secretary-General’s April 16th report.

The United States recognizes Ethiopia’s leadership, and we welcome the Ambassador today, in supporting UNISFA, as well as some positive steps Sudan and South Sudan have undertaken to address insecurity in Abyei, such as joint security monitoring, and we welcome the Ambassador to Sudan here today as well. However, despite these steps, the United States is concerned about recent violence in Abyei as was outlined. In January, attacks in the area of Kolom, led to the killing of more than 30 civilians. In mid-April, there was an armed attack on Mabok village. And this violence – the brunt of which has been borne by women and children – is unacceptable.

Perhaps most troubling though, is it demonstrates the lack of political progress by Sudan and South Sudan in resolving outstanding border issues. The people of Abyei and along the border between Sudan and South Sudan deserve better. This violence should serve as a call to action for Sudan and South Sudan. Their leaders should capitalize on the improving relationship and agree on the implementation of arrangements for security and the administration of Abyei.

This Council has repeatedly mandated a reconfiguration of UNISFA to address current security dynamics. Today, we call on the parties to remove obstacles preventing UNISFA from realizing its mandate. Moving forward, the United States encourages senior UN officials to redouble their efforts with the parties and with the African Union to allow UNISFA’s mandate to be fully implemented. Further, we urge them to push for progress in establishing joint security and administrative arrangements. The participation of women is absolutely critical in these discussions.

Especially in these challenging times, the United States remains committed to peace and security in Abyei and across the region.

Thank you very much.