UN Envoy’s Visit to South Sudan: Peace Deal and Elections Take Center Stage

UN Envoy's

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the head of UN peacekeeping, arrived in South Sudan on February 18 to evaluate the progress made in the peace process and assess preparations for the upcoming elections scheduled for December, marking the country’s first elections since gaining independence.

During his visit to Juba, Lacroix is expected to hold crucial meetings with leaders of the Transitional Government of National Unity, representatives from civil society, and other key stakeholders involved in the peace process. Accompanying him is Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the Special UN Envoy’s Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa.

Lacroix emphasized the significance of this time for South Sudan, acknowledging the challenges and expectations faced by the nation. He described the visit as an expression of solidarity from the UN, recognizing the multifaceted issues at hand.

Nicholas Haysom, the Head of the UN Peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, highlighted the opportunity for Lacroix to familiarize himself with the mission’s operations, challenges faced, and the strategies employed to overcome them. Haysom also pointed out Lacroix’s interest in the situation in Abyei and the conflict in Warrap between the Ngok (Dinka) and Twic (Dinka).

Lacroix acknowledged the numerous challenges faced by the region, including the impact of hostilities in Sudan on South Sudan, issues in Abyei, and the broader effects of climate change affecting the civilian population.

As part of their itinerary, Lacroix and Tetteh will visit the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). They will engage with various stakeholders, including the Juba-appointed Chief Administrator, Khartoum-appointed administration officials, traditional leaders, women’s groups, and civil society representatives.

The visit aims to assess the current situation in Southern Abyei, particularly concerning the rise in intercommunal violence. Lacroix and Tetteh will also evaluate the peacekeeping mission’s ongoing efforts to protect civilians and de-escalate intercommunal tensions.

Additionally, Lacroix will interact with both civilian and uniformed peacekeeping personnel in South Sudan and Abyei, expressing gratitude for their dedication and service in the challenging environment. The visit underscores the UN’s commitment to supporting South Sudan through its complex transition and fostering sustainable peace in the region.

 

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