UN extends peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

The UN Security Council has extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, until Aug. 12, 2016.

The mandate of UNMISS is going to expire on July 31. The 15-nation council agreed on a short period of extension because it is considering to revise the mandate of UNMISS due to a renewed fighting in South Sudan.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the council members also authorized UNMISS to “use all necessary means” to carry out its tasks.

Earlier this month, clashes between government and opposition forces took place in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, leaving 272 people, including 33 civilians, killed. The UNMISS was under attack during which two Chinese peacekeepers were killed.

“China will continue to support the UN peacekeeping operations unswervingly and to continue to make greater contribution for international peace cause,” China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi told the Security Council after Friday’s vote.

Liu said when discussing mandate adjustment, the Security Council should strengthen consultation with countries concerned and the countries in the region.

“The mission should strengthen capacity building in the relevant areas so as to protect the security and safety of the peacekeepers effectively,” he added.

Herve Ladsous, UN peacekeeping chief, has called upon the Security Council to give a stronger mandate for UNMISS. And UN Secretary-General has urged the council to impose an immediate arms embargo on South Sudan.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien will visit South Sudan on Aug. 1-3 to see at first hand the situation on the ground.

South Sudan won independence on July 9, 2011 from Sudan after more than two decades of war that ended in a bitter divorce.

The country again plunged into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, which led to a cycle of retaliatory killings.

Xinhua/Nnenna.O