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The Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, has expressed his gratitude to Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the country’s contribution to the protection of civilians and building of durable peace in South Sudan.
Speaking during a visit by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, to UNMISS in the capital, Juba, David Shearer acknowledged the doubling of Germany’s humanitarian aid contribution to US$90 million.
“There is no doubt in my mind that will contribute to hundreds, if not thousands, of peoples’ lives being saved,” he said.
David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, also praised the expertise and professionalism of the 16 German uniformed personnel serving with the Mission in South Sudan.
“I think what Germany has done in particular is keep their officers in the field in different locations and it is there that they can play the biggest role on the ground. Some other countries have decided to pull their officers into Juba so I thanked the Foreign Minister for keeping them in the field and making a big difference.”
During his visit, Mr Gabriel was briefed on the security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan. The country has been plagued by ongoing violence since civil war broke out in 2013. The humanitarian situation is dire with four million people displaced by the conflict, severe levels of food insecurity, extreme poverty, and disease, including an ongoing cholera outbreak with 18,000 cases and 328 deaths in the past year
Despite the challenges, Mr Shearer remains optimistic that peace can be achieved with the support of international partners such as Germany.
“If we achieve peace and the elections start then I would like to think that the United Nations can move from the mandate that it has now, which is the protection of civilians and building peace, to the more technical and capacity-building type of role that we had before. That’s what my hope would be,” he said.