New York [US], March 3 (ANI): India at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reiterated that it will continue with the Government of South Sudan in its quest for peace, progress and prosperity in the region.
Speaking at a UNSC meeting, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of India's Mission to UN, Nagaraj Naidu said: "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 the agriculture, health and livelihood sectors in South Sudan. Indian oil companies have invested US$ 2.5 billion in South Sudan.""We have been extending bilateral assistance by way of projects in agriculture, health and livelihood sectors in South Sudan. Indian oil companies have invested USD 2.5 billion in South Sudan. Our capacity building training programmes have been deeply appreciated by the South Sudan Government," he added.
Naidu also welcomed the progress made in the recent weeks in South Sudan towards implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement after months of impasse, adding that there has also been notable progress in the functioning of important government institutions.
However, he also noted that 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 the Council of States are yet to take place, he opined.
"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," he said.
The Deputy Permanent Representative also said it is critical that parties of the Agreement work in good faith, leaving aside narrow political considerations, to move forward on the peace process.
"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 stakeholders," Naidu added.
Naidu also recalled that India had recently supplied 70 metric tonnes of food aid including rice, wheat and sugar to the region and said that it is now in the process of sending 10 metric tonnes of medical assistance to South Sudan in the coming weeks.
"In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the Secretary General's request, India promptly scaled up the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (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," he further said.
He also highlighted the important role of Indian peacekeepers to prevent conflict-related sexual violence, noting Major Suman Gawani's role in mentoring over 230 UN Military Observers and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the mission's team sites, for which she was awarded the UN military gender advocate for 2019. (ANI)