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UNMISS head emphasizes need for UN and government to work together in the best interests of the people of South Sudan

David Shearer, head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), left, greets the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, on Wednesday, 6 September, 2017.

The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, has emphasized the need for the Mission and the government of the country to work together in the best interests of the people.

Speaking after meeting the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, on Wednesday, Mr Shearer said UNMISS was “committed to carrying out its mandate and to working alongside the government so we can do our best for the South Sudanese people.” He added that “moving forward together was very much the spirit” of his discussion with the President.

Mr Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan, reiterated in the meeting that, with the arrival of up to 4000 new troops as part of the UN Security Council-mandated regional Protection Force (RPF), the mission would be able to deploy more peacekeepers outside the capital, Juba.

“With the arrival of the additional peacekeepers of the RPF, UNMISS will be able to move forces out of Juba to areas where they can be of more assistance to the people of South Sudan,” he said. “That will mean more patrolling of roads where there have been attacks on people and goods. It is essential that there should be free movement.”

The Juba-Yei, Juba-Nimule and Juba-Bor roads may all see increased patrolling once the RPF has fully deployed.

The issue of road rehabilitation was also discussed by the UNMISS head and President Kiir.

“We spoke about the need to repair many of these roads,” Mr Shearer said, “and I told the President that the Bangladeshi engineering company, which is part of the RPF, is currently surveying the Juba-Yei road corridor.”

The engineering company will spend two days inspecting the route and then will report back to the UNMISS head on how the mission can help rehabilitate the roads “so goods and people can move more freely.”

Mr Shearer reiterated the need for “clear lines of communication” with the government so that UNMISS could support what the Special Representative called “a prosperous future” for the country.

Speaking for the government after the meeting, Ambassador John Andruga Duku, the Director for International Organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed good working relations between UNMISS and the government.

“Both UNMISS and the government are going to work together to see that, going forward, we cooperate and if there are communication breakdowns, we rectify them and move forward for the people of South Sudan. Today is a bright day and we should cooperate with the UN.”