The new head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, met with President Salva Kiir in the country’s capital of Juba, where he reiterated the mission’s commitment to supporting peace efforts.
According to a UN spokesperson, in a meeting this week, Shearer told Kiir the UN and UNMISS are there to support government and help the people of South Sudan. His job will be done when conditions in the world’s youngest country permit UNMISS to leave. He added he had come to South Sudan with an open mind.
Shearer also met with the South Sudanese Minister of Cabinet Affairs. The UN said he was pleased to hear the Minister reiterate South Sudan Government’s commitment to the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) mandated by the UN Security Council in August 2016.
UNMISS was deployed in July 2011, just as South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. The current strength of the Mission is some 13 000 uniformed personnel and more than 2 000 international and local civilian staff.
South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political stalemate erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.
Shearer is a New Zealander who has previously been a deputy UN envoy in Iraq, UN aid chief in the Palestinian territories and UN humanitarian aid co-ordinator in Lebanon.