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UN regional protection force for South Sudan to deploy ‘soon’

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The first vanguard of the UN Security Council-mandated Regional Protection Force should be deployed to Juba ‘in the next few weeks’, outgoing Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, has said.

According to Ladsous, the units will be comprised of Bangladeshi, Nepalese, and Rwandan troops, followed by Ethiopian forces and troops from other countries.

The senior UN official who was accompanied by his successor Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the media in Juba. added that he will meet with Member States who are contributing troops in New York today to discuss the deployments. Mr. Lacroix takes over from Ladsous in April.

And, once deployed to Juba, he said, the Force will free a number of UNMISS units to “the countryside to better protect the civilians,”. He noted, however, that the main responsibility for protection of the South Sudan citizens is with the Government.

“We cannot have one blue helmet behind every single South Sudanese citizen. The responsibly to protect its own citizens is that of the Government. And we are here to support, to facilitate, to help the Government of the sovereign country of South Sudan,” Mr. Ladsous,

Meanwhile, the security situation in South Sudan is ‘very worrisome’, Mr. Ladsous said, warning that the number of people fleeing the country showing no signs of slowing and calling for a political solution to the hostilities.

“You cannot hope that a solution will come by the use of weapons, the solution has to be political,” he said, and underscored the importance of the 2015 peace agreement signed by President Salva Kiir and opposition groups.

He however, noted that there are concerns about implementing an agreement which will shortly be two-years old.

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