South Sudan needs to restore peace, security to win int'l support: EU envoy
South Sudan needs to restore peace, security to win int'l support: EU envoy

The South Sudanese government should restore peace and security in order to win crucial financial assistance from the international community in 2023 and beyond, a visiting top European Union (EU) envoy has said.

Michael Koehler, deputy director-general for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), said on Wednesday the continued communal violence and attacks on aid workers and convoys have kept away badly needed financial assistance to the country.

"Unfortunately, we see that more and more often aid workers being attacked, South Sudanese just as much as international expatriate aid workers, we see more checkpoints and we see more attacks against aid convoys, and that is very difficult to accept," Koehler told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Koehler was speaking after concluding his two-day visit to the country, where he met with internally displaced persons in Bentiu Town of Unity State and senior government officials to understand the humanitarian situation.

Last year, UN agencies launched the 2023 humanitarian response for South Sudan, seeking 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, but only 488.6 million dollars have been secured so far.

"In international meetings, people speak about the crisis in Ukraine, the crisis in Afghanistan, Syria, and the crisis in Venezuela and Somalia and forth; we have to make sure that they keep the needs of the people of South Sudan on the radar screen, so visibility is important," Koehler said.

"The second thing is more important, you need to have good news from South Sudan, every single step that you can take yourself and it starts with peace, and it starts with ensuring that security is good and it encourages international donors to come in," he added, saying the situation is getting worse and the nation is falling back into war and conflict.

An estimated 9.4 million people, a staggering 76 percent of South Sudan's population, will have humanitarian or protection needs in 2023, which presents an increase of half a million people compared to 2022, according to the UN.

Timo Olkkonen, EU ambassador and head of Delegation of the EU to South Sudan, called on the parties to the revitalized peace deal to speed up the constitutional-making process and also conclude the graduation of the remaining unified forces.

Olkkonen added that the parties require renewed efforts to complete different chapters of the peace agreement before the country prepares for elections in December 2024.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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