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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open VTC on UNMISS

2021-03-03 11:34

Madam President,

At the outset, I congratulate the United States for assuming the Presidency of the Council for this month. I'd expect that under your leadership, the Council will successfully complete the work on its agenda this month. I also thank the United Kingdom for the great deal of work during its Presidency of February. China wishes to thank Special Representative Shearer for his briefing. Mr Shearer, since assuming the post of Special Representative, has actively fulfilled the mandate of the Security Council, and made a significant contribution to promoting the political process, protecting the safety and security of the people, and assisting in humanitarian relief. China wishes to register its appreciation. I also listened attentively to the statement made by Ms Nasiwa.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of South Sudan. Over the past 10 years, the people of South Sudan have overcome numerous challenges and made new progress in nation-building. At present, the situation in South Sudan presents both opportunities and challenges. All parties in the country should redouble their efforts, and the international community should continue to provide constructive assistance. I wish to highlight the following.

First, there's a need to maintain the positive momentum of the political process. For some time now, ceasefire in South Sudan has been holding on the whole, and the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement has made positive progress on key issues, such as government formation and the appointment of governance. China welcomes these developments. We encourage all parties in South Sudan to consolidate existing gains, move forward the key tasks of security arrangements, the constitution of Parliament, and the preparation for general elections, stay the course of implementing the agreement, and resolve potential differences by peaceful means. We call on the armed factions that have not yet joined the agreement to do so as soon as possible. The implementation of the agreement faces practical difficulties, including lack of funding. We hope that the international community will provide responsive assistance. The African Union, region organizations such as IGAD, and countries such as Sudan, have made a significant contribution to the implementation of the agreement, and their efforts should continue to be supported by the international community. China calls on the international community to respond to the AU's initiative and lift sanctions against South Sudan as soon as possible.

Second, it is necessary to continue the security situation improvement. Communal and ethnic conflict continues to pose a security threat to the people of South Sudan and requires a combination of responses such as prevention, mediation, reconciliation and protection. UNMISS has devoted considerable efforts to this end with some success. The government of South Sudan bears primary responsibility for protecting civilians. China supports the international community in continuing to provide capacity-building assistance to the government of South Sudan. Competing for resources remains a major cause of communal and ethnic conflict. Developing economy and improving people's livelihood can help eliminate the root causes of conflict. Special attention should be paid to this point.

Third, it is necessary to assist in responding to challenges such as COVID-19. COVID-19 infection rate in South Sudan is reported to be as high as 15-25%, which is worrying. The immediate priority is to provide anti-COVID-19 support to South Sudan, ensure timely and fair access to COVID-19 vaccine for those in need, and curb the spread of the pandemic. South Sudan is experiencing severe economic difficulties and more than 8 million people may need humanitarian assistance this year. The international community should step up its support and assistance in this regard. China has all along actively supported South Sudan's economic and social development. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has provided several batches of anti-pandemic materials and humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, and has decided to donate COVID-19 vaccine to the country. While Chinese medical teams remain on the ground, additional teams of medical experts have been dispatched. Chinese female peacekeepers are also actively involved in providing medical help to local people. China will continue to work with all parties to contribute to helping South Sudan meet its challenges.

Madam President,

UNMISS has done a great deal and played a significant role in improving the situation in South Sudan. China pays tribute to the peacekeepers who have remained at their posts against COVID-19 and supports the extension of its mandate. We hope that UNMISS will give top priority to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and strengthen coordination and synergy with regional organizations, such as IGAD. COVID-19 poses a serious threat to the health of key peacekeepers and affects the normal performance of peacekeeping operations, including UNMISS. This situation warrants our high attention. China has decided to donate COVID-19 vaccine to UN peacekeepers. China will continue to support the work of UNMISS.

Thank you, Madam President.

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