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United Nations General Assembly President arrives in South Sudan to support peace effort

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis, arrived in Juba for a four-day visit to support the implementation of the peace deal & learn firsthand about the challenges faced by the people of South Sudan. Photo by Photos by Nektarios Markogiannis/UNMISS.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis, arrived in South Sudan for a four-day visit to demonstrate support for ongoing efforts to consolidate peace, security, and development in the country.He is using the opportunity to further strengthen and foster cooperation between South Sudan and the United Nations and to express support for the full implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.“It is a mission of goodwill, but it’s more than goodwill. It’s a mission to let the people of South Sudan know that the United Nations has not forgotten you. We are not ignoring you. We will be here for the long haul,” said President Francis.“We know it will not be easy, but that will not detain us or distract us. We will be here with you, shoulder to shoulder, trying to get to the bottom of this so that your people can live their right to a peaceful, civil life where their prospects, their individual prospects, and ambitions can be achieved.”Accompanied by his Chef de Cabinet, Ambassador Collen Vixen Kelapile, Mr. Francis was welcomed by a government delegation before being whisked away to a nearby base where Rwandese peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) provided a special guard of honour to recognize the importance of his visit. In the coming days, he is due to meet with South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and ministers, and to hold discussions with senior leaders of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). He will also hear from humanitarian agencies who are grappling with a dire situation where three-quarters of the population, nine million people, need assistance while the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan has received only 18 percent of the USD$1.8 billion needed to support vulnerable communities. “I’m hoping that my visit will elevate the level of attention that is given to the situation here in South Sudan and therefore generate more in the way of international support, humanitarian and other support, for the people who are always the ordinary people who play the biggest price in conflict,” he said. The Government expressed its appreciation for his visit and support to the world’s youngest country as it makes the difficult transition from conflict to peace. “I’m very optimistic that this visit will be very fruitful and that this visit will have a positive impact towards our ongoing and upcoming engagement with the United Nations family,” said South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Monday Semaya Kumba. “I thank you on behalf of the Government and people of South Sudan. We are looking forward also to continue engaging you and looking forward to fruitful, transparent and productive discussions between you and our leaders.”During the visit, the President will also engage with civil society, university students and children as well as women peacekeepers serving with UNMISS. He hopes to learn firsthand about progress and the challenges faced by the people of South Sudan and plans to spend time in a displacement camp where he will hear from community leaders about their needs as well as opportunities for peace and progress.“The first words of the [UN] Charter are ‘We the peoples of the United Nations’. So, the United Nations is about people, making people’s lives better, and that is the commitment I think that brings us together,” he said. “Where there is a will there is a way. It might take a little time, but we will cross that Rubicon. That is my faith. That is my hope and that is my desire for this great country of South Sudan.”