9620th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Renews United Nations Mission in South Sudan for One Year, Adopting Resolution 2729 (2024) by Vote of 13 in Favour, 2 Abstentions

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for one year, until 30 April 2025, maintaining its force levels to cope with the continuing political, security and humanitarian challenges in the African country.

Adopting resolution 2729 (2024) by a vote of 13 in favor to none against, with two abstentions (the Russian Federation and China) and acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council decided that UNMISS should advance a multiyear strategic vision to prevent a return to civil war and an escalation of violence, enable the country's self-reliance, address the critical gaps towards building durable peace at the local and national levels, support inclusive and accountable governance, and provide support for free and fair, peaceful elections in accordance with the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

To that end, the Council maintained the Mission’s troop ceiling of 17,000 personnel and a police ceiling of 2,101 personnel, including 88 justice and corrections advisors.  It also expressed its readiness to consider adjustments to UNMISS force levels and capacity-building tasks based on security conditions on the ground.

The Mission’s mandate covers four main areas: the protection of civilians; creating the conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the peace process; and monitoring, investigating, and reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.

The resolution also details the Mission’s electoral assistance to the Government of South Sudan and other relevant parties by saying that such support focuses on:  expert advice on technical aspects of the conduct of elections; support to voter education programs to prevent and respond to election violence; continued trainings and dialogues among all political stakeholders to mitigate tensions throughout the electoral period; and technical assistance and logistical support for creating the conditions conducive to free and fair elections.  Additional UNMISS support will be continually assessed and reviewed by the Council.

Having failed to achieve unanimity on the vote, some delegations expressed disappointment over how the United States-authored draft resolution was negotiated.

The representative of China, noting his country’s abstention, said that the draft puts “undue pressure” on the Government of South Sudan and accuses it of some electoral issues.  Having achieved Statehood not long ago, the country lacks experience in organizing elections.  Imposing external solutions and unrealistic standards should be avoided, he said, stressing the need for technical assistance based on the actual needs. Furthermore, peacekeeping missions should not overstep the primary responsibility of States for protecting civilians.  “The repeated push by the penholder to give UNMISS an offensive mandate will not only put peacekeepers at risk but also will ultimately jeopardize the Mission’s cooperation with South Sudan,” he asserted, stressing:  “Penholdership is not a privilege but a responsibility.”

Similarly, the Russian Federation’s representative said that her delegation also abstained on the vote as Moscow disagreed with several United States proposals aimed at broadening the UNMISS mandate, which is already complicated.  Regarding elections, she said that the Mission “is not some sort of gadget we have in our pocket” and doesn't belong to the penholders.  The draft continued to urge Juba to organize the political process, in keeping with what the West wanted.  The real issue is the tall challenges Juba is confronted with — not to extend the transitional period any further.  To do that, they must hold elections.  The Council should consider the efforts undertaken by the South Sudanese authorities, instead of “looking for new reasons to criticize them”. 

The representative of Mozambique, speaking also for Algeria, Guyana, and Sierra Leone, concurred that the negotiations on the draft could have been better to achieve consensus.  He said that they however voted in favour to ensure that South Sudan continues to get the assistance it needs.  “As the country prepares to hold its first democratic elections, it is also compelled to address several compounding challenges,” he said, citing the economic crisis, the appalling humanitarian situation, the influx of refugees and returnees, intercommunal violence and the effects of climate change.

“South Sudan remains committed to the electoral process”, its representative declared, adding that this commitment has been demonstrated by the establishment of necessary institutions, legislation and the provision of funding.  “We recognize the need for a strategic approach that ensures lasting impact beyond the electoral period, promoting democratic development, progress and stability in South Sudan,” she said, noting the mandate renewal of UNMISS and thanking the Council for continued support.

For information media. Not an official record.