Delivered By: Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative

At the outset, I thank Special Representative Haysom and Major General (rtd) Gituai for their briefings.

We also welcome the statement delivered by Mr. Impagliazzo, which illustrates the importance of supporting political initiatives and endeavors that foster dialogue and mutual understanding among people of different religions and cultures for peace. We also hope that the Rome Peace Talks result in solutions to the existing challenges in South Sudan, and we reaffirm our commitment to support these noble endeavors. I also welcome the participation of the representative of South Sudan in today’s meeting.

Members of this Council,

As we all know, the path to peace begins when parties show their willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue to overcome differences and lay the foundations for peace. We believe this is essential when discussing the situation in South Sudan, and that is precisely what I would like to emphasize in my statement.

First and foremost, inter-communal dialogue must be strengthened to end the cyclical nature of violence and establish a culture of peace at the grassroots level. Therefore, we believe that the efforts of UNMISS are essential when engaging with local and traditional leaders and establishing a platform to discuss various issues, de-escalate tensions, and renew the commitment of communities to the values of peaceful coexistence.

We also believe that continued dialogue and engagement among stakeholders, including women and youth, is vital to rebuild confidence among the parties and make further progress in implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Here I recall the positive steps taken in this direction, such as the approval of the National Elections Act, the submission of a number of important bills, as well as the approval of the national budget for the deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces. This trajectory needs to continue and must be mindful of the road map and the deadlines specified therein. We also underscore the importance of upholding national interest above any other considerations.

In order to consolidate peace, we must continue to address the security challenges in South Sudan, especially in light of recent events in Upper Nile State, particularly the city of Malakal.

The country is witnessing continued targeting and killing of civilians and humanitarian workers and attacks against humanitarian and commercial convoys. This is hindering the ability for assistance to reach those in need and the refugees arriving in South Sudan in the face of regional tensions. In this context, we commend the role of UNMISS in supporting and strengthening the Government’s capacity to protect civilians and implementing measures, including proactive troop deployment in line with the Mission’s mandate. We also appreciate the Mission’s work in ensuring the protection of humanitarian workers and facilitating humanitarian access.

In conclusion, we look forward to the continuation of diplomatic efforts at the regional level, and with international support, to help South Sudan overcome its challenges. In addition, regional organizations, such as the African Union and IGAD, have shown their determined leadership in supporting the country’s stability. This includes launching the “post-conflict needs assessment” and supporting the constitutional-making and electoral processes as part of the trilateral task force to meet the aspirations of the people of South Sudan.

Thank you.