A boy walks on the remaining rooftops of the houses destroyed by the floods in the Yusuf Batir refugee camp in Maban, South Sudan. — AFP/VNA Photo
NEW YORK — A Vietnamese diplomat underlined the importance of the transitional period and fully implementing the peace agreement in South Sudan while attending the UN Security Council’s online meeting on this country’s situation and activities of the UN Mission there (UNMISS) on Tuesday (local time)
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for South Sudan and head of UNMISS David Shearer, and Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), in South Sudan Edmund Yakani delivered reports at the event.
The reports noted encouraging steps in South Sudan recently, especially the formation of the transitional government on February 22, with former opposition leader Riek Machar appointed as First Vice President.
The new cabinet also includes one vice president and nine female ministers while relevant parties there reached an agreement on the allocation of states, the reports noted.
However, conflicts between the government’s troops and armed groups that haven’t taken part in the 2018 peace deal, as well as violence among communities, are tending to escalate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has damaged the economic and humanitarian situations in South Sudan and hampered the transitional period as the government has had to focus on the outbreak, the reports added.
As of June 23, South Sudan had recorded 1,892 COVID-19 cases, with three vice presidents and nine ministers infected. There were also 34 deaths.
Shearer said the UNMISS has continued efforts to protect civilians amid the spread of COVID-19, pointing out some difficulties the mission is facing as the local government has issued travel restrictions to curb the pandemic. He also called on the UN Security Council and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to keep pushing parties in South Sudan to push ahead with the peace agreement.
At the meeting, some member countries of the UN Security Council urged parties in South Sudan to fully implement the peace and ceasefire agreements while welcoming some positive developments.
They showed their support for the international community to increase assistance for South Sudan to handle humanitarian issues and COVID-19. Some suggested the country pay attention to exercising justice during the transitional period, fighting corruption, and ensuring the rights to freedom and participation of people, especially women, during national reconstruction.
For his part, Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of Việt Nam’s mission to the UN, said he highly valued the recent progress in South Sudan and its transitional government’s efforts to cope with COVID-19.
He also sympathised with difficulties in carrying out the peace agreement due to the pandemic and noted that the ceasefire has been basically observed, though complications remain.
Reiterating Việt Nam’s support for the UNMISS, Quý also detailed the efforts of Việt Nam’s level-2 field hospital in Bentiu city to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country now has 68 officers at the UNMISS.
Việt Nam officially took part in UN peacekeeping operations by sending two officers to the UNMISS in 2014. Its level-2 field hospital has been deployed in Bentiu since 2018. From the beginning of 2020 to June 10, this hospital has handled 927 patients. Its members have also participated in anti-COVID-19 training for UN staff and local people. — VNS