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A decade after Sudan gained independence, the country remains “on a path of nation-building” and is working to implement a revived 2018 peace agreement that led to the formation of a unity government last year.
“I want to assure our friends and partners that we are determined never to go to war again,” said Ms De Mabior.
“We must replace the destruction of war with the productive use of our vast natural resources and national assets for the good of our people.”
Prioritize nation building
The Vice-President recalled that when South Sudan became independent, the international community pledged to build capacity for nation-building and to establish a UN mission in the country, UNMISS, to support this process.
“However, after the outbreak of the war, that vision was abandoned and priority was given to protecting civilians and providing humanitarian aid. As a result, support for state capacity building was discontinued,” she said.
Ms De Mabior stressed that supporting a state’s ability to govern responsibly and effectively is essential. It is also necessary to guard against what she called “the unintended consequences of reliance on humanitarian aid”.
Given the improvements in peace and security, she said it was now time to move from a state of emergency to sustainable development.
“It is a painful and embarrassing situation for a country endowed with vast fertile lands to be considered poor,” she added.
“We must ensure peace and security in the country and redouble our efforts to support our people who want to return and return to their areas of origin so that they can fully participate in nation-building and contribute to building food security in the country.”
Support young people and women
South Sudan is also “a youthful country,” and the vice president called for continued efforts to develop the skills of its youth and women “to provide an alternative to taking up the weapon again and committing destructive behaviors.” .”
Encouraging developments have included joint efforts by national security forces and their UNMISS counterparts to promote peace and security in rural areas, while the government plans to unveil a national youth service programme.
“To fulfill the vision of our liberation struggle, we must use our oil revenues to fuel economic growth through investment in agriculture,” she said.
“We will invest in infrastructure to connect our rural communities to the markets. We need the public and private sectors, including foreign investors, to join forces to make South Sudan’s potential wealth a reality.”
Glass ‘half empty’
Ms De Mabior reported progress in implementing aspects of the revitalized peace agreement, in particular in the establishment of state and national bodies and public finance management reforms
“However, the glass remains half empty” on implementing a permanent ceasefire and temporary security arrangements, she said, pointing to the urgency of a united army.
“Security sector reform is the most challenging part of the agreement as it includes elements central to the violent conflicts in the country,” she said, calling for the dialogue to continue.
“Building lasting peace requires inclusiveness, collective investment, determination, dedication and patience.”
Meanwhile, relations with Sudan have also improved, although there are still unresolved issues in the oil-rich Abyei border region.
Ms De Mabior stressed her country’s determination to learn from the past.
“We must make the Revitalized Peace Agreement succeed, and we can only do that with the support of our regional and international partners. Simply put, South Sudan desires and is ready to turn a new page,” she said.
Link to speech here
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