General Assembly Security Council

UNSC meeting on UN Secretary General’s report on UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)




Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu

Deputy Permanent Representative


3 March 2021


Thank you Madam President.


Let me begin by congratulating you and the delegation of United States on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council. I assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation and support. I also thank the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom and her delegation for their able stewardship of the Council last month.


2. I join others in thanking SRSG David Shearer for his briefing on recent developments in South Sudan and activities of UNMISS. We acknowledge the important role played by SRSG during his tenure and wish him success in his future endeavors. I also welcome his successor Nicholas Haysom to the assignment in an area that he is familiar with.


Madam President,


3. The progress made in the recent weeks in South Sudan towards implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement is a welcome departure from months of impasse. We are encouraged by the fact that appointments to gubernatorial positions and constitution of regional administrative structures, which were marred by delays after the formation of the unity government in February last year, have now taken place.  There has also been notable progress in the functioning of important government institutions. The Council of Ministers is meeting regularly, and national institutions have begun to show their presence at the ground level. Three POC sites have seen a transition to IDP camps, while preparations for other POC sites are currently underway. All these developments are indeed positive. We are also pleased to note that appointments by the opposition have adhered to the 35 percent quota for women.


4. Despite the progress, Madam President, South Sudan continues to face several impediments in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. The political defections, lack of trust at all levels and growing inter-communal clashes reflect the tenuous nature of the political and security situation. The key benchmarks of the peace agreement, particularly the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and appointment of Council of States are yet to take place. The ceasefire has held by and large across the country. But the lack of a coherent security strategy and funding is impeding progress on the implementation of the transitional security arrangements.


5. It is critical that parties to the Agreement work in good faith, leaving aside narrow political considerations, to move forward on the peace process. The support of the international community, particularly the AU and the IGAD in bringing the parties together for expediting the implementation of the agreement, will be crucial. We support such efforts.


6. On sanctions, the Security Council has committed to an ongoing review of all sanctions measures on South Sudan. We support all efforts seeking to establish a clear benchmarking process to assess the arms embargo, assets freeze and travel ban components, in full consultation with the Government of South Sudan and other regional stake-holders. 


7. The humanitarian situation has remained worrying with flooding in many parts of the country. The inter-communal violence and the resulting displacement of communities, attacks on humanitarian workers and assets and the Covid-19 pandemic have all exacerbated the situation. While the UN coordinated humanitarian response with the assistance of donor partners has been largely effective, the funding gap of US $ 1 billion deserves the immediate attention of the international community. For our part, India recently supplied 70 metric tonnes of food aid including rice, wheat and sugar to South Sudan. We are now in the process of sending 10 metric tonnes of medical assistance to the country in the coming weeks.


8. In the context of Covid-19 pandemic, in response to Secretary General’s request, India promptly scaled up the UNMISS hospitals in both Juba and Malakal. These facilities, in addition to serving the UNMISS personnel, are also catering to the emergency needs of the local population. During an open debate at the Council last month, the External Affairs Minister of India announced a gift of 200,000 doses of Made in India Covid-19 vaccines for UN Peacekeepers across the world, including those deployed at UNMISS.


9. We have taken positive note of the activities of UNMISS in implementing its mandate. The Mission should continue supporting the South Sudan Police forces in ensuring the safety and security of camps. Its support for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance will remain critical, in view of the difficult humanitarian situation. The decrease in Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) violations during the reporting period is a positive sign; so is the clearing of backlog in issuance of visas to UNMISS personnel.  We have also taken note of the independent strategic review of UNMISS. Such periodic reviews of UN peacekeeping missions are important to ensure that the Mission’s objectives are in sync with the situation on the ground.


Madam President,


10. India is one of the largest troop contributors to UNMISS, which has been ably led by Lt. Gen. Shailesh Tinaikar. Indian contingents have been playing an important role in bringing communities together, including by carrying out several community development programmes. These have been highly appreciated by the people of South Sudan. It is an honour for us that the Indian contingent of more than 800 peacekeepers based in Malakal, was awarded a UN medal for its exemplary service for UNMISS in December last year. The recipients included Major Chetna, an engineering officer, the only female peacekeeper among the Indian troops. The Indian battalion provided their services to local communities and humanitarian workers, not just in Malakal but also in far-flung places such as Kodok, Baliet, Melut and Renk, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.


11. Indian peacekeepers are also playing an important mentoring role to prevent conflict related sexual violence. Major Suman Gawani, an Indian woman peacekeeper, deployed earlier with UNMISS, mentored over 230 UN Military Observers and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the Mission’s team sites. In recognition of her service, she was awarded the UN military gender advocate of the year-2019. She also trained South Sudanese government forces and helped them launch their action plan to prevent conflict-related sexual violence.


12. Lastly, Madam President, India has long standing relations with the people of South Sudan. India was the first Asian country to establish a Consulate in Juba in 2007 after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). We have been extending bilateral assistance by way of projects in agriculture, health and livelihood sectors in South Sudan. Indian oil companies have invested US$ 2.5 billion in South Sudan. Our capacity building training programmes have been deeply appreciated by the South Sudan Government. We recently organised an online capacity building program on electoral technology for government officials in Juba.  India will continue to work with Government of South Sudan in its quest for peace, progress and prosperity.


I Thank you Madam President.