The Security Council Thursday agreed to extend the UN Mission in South Sudan for another year, days before the country is set to celebrate the first anniversary of its independence.
South Sudan’s Ambassador welcomed the renewal of the UNMISS mandate but said he would like to see the mission do more to protect civilians and help the new government build its security force capabilities.
“South Sudan as a new country is faced by the challenges of providing for its people, and given the fact that we have slowed down the production of oil, it has an effect.” Ambassador Francis Nazario told reporters outside the Security Council. “We are calling also on the international community to come and support and give more assistance to our people to overcome the current situation.”
The world’s newest country continues to deal with several humanitarian and economic crises.
Clashes with the North over disputed border territories and oil producing regions like Abyei have displaced hundreds of thousands civilians. South Sudan and Sudan have also yet to reach an agreement on an oil sharing deal. In January South Sudan shut down oil production after it accused Sudan of trying to steal from one of its pipelines. The decision to halt oil production has had a serious economic impact on both nations.
South Sudan also blames the North for its growing refugee crisis. Fighting between government forces and rebel groups in Sudan have forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to seek refuge across the border in South Sudan, despite the country’s lack of resources and infrastructure. Camps are overcrowded and aid organizations say urgent funding is needed to respond to the growing number of people in need of assistance.
UN peacekeepers and South Sudanese government forces have themselves struggled to stop internal violence between tribal groups competing for resources in remote regions of the country. The UN has more than 5 000 troops in South Sudan and nearly 2000 civilian staff, however limited access to helicopters and a small network of paved roads have at times seriously impeded the mission’s work.