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UNMISS mandate extends; Russia, China abstain vote

By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto


United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for one year.

The Council adopted resolution 2729 (2024) with a vote of 13 in favour, none against, and two abstentions from Russia and China.

The resolution, which maintains the force levels of UNMISS, including a troop ceiling of 17,000 personnel and a police ceiling of 2,101 personnel, aims to ensure stability and support peacekeeping efforts in South Sudan.

It also includes 88 justice and corrections advisors as part of the mission.

The decision to renew the mandate until April 30, 2025, comes as South Sudan continues to grapple with political and security challenges.

The ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the country have led to significant loss of life and displacement of communities, making the role of UNMISS crucial in facilitating peace and security.

While the majority of Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution, Russia and China abstained from the vote.

The UNMISS mandate extension also comes at a crucial time when South Sudan prepares for its first-ever post-independence elections.

China’s deputy representative to the UN, Dai Bing, told the Council that the resolution puts too much pressure on the South Sudan government while making judgments “beyond reasonable limits.”

China further criticized the US for ignoring their calls for amendments and said the penholder should display inclusiveness, remain objective, and be impartial.

Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative for Political Affairs, Anna Evstigneeva, hailed UNMISS’s role in South Sudan; however, she rejected the broadening of the mission’s mandate, which she referred to as an “already complex” one.

Ann stated that the resolution text is full of wording “focused on domestic politics. The Russian envoy accused the US of “undermining” trust.

UNMISS is mandated by the Security Council to carry out tasks in four key areas: protection of civilians; creation of conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; support for the implementation of the Revised Agreement; and the Peace Process.

Its mandate further covers monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, while requesting that the Secretary-General inform it of any obstacles and stressing that the protection of civilians shall be given priority.

South Sudan is scheduled to hold elections in December 2024, but the UN, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Norway, and other observers have repeatedly stressed that the country is not prepared for the elections and that the government is doing little to prepare for transparent, credible, free, and fair polls.

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