South Sudan: Statement on the visit of Norway’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to Juba from 4th to 5th March

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Juba
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Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Kravik just concluded a two-day visit to Juba. During his visit, the minister engaged with a range of government officials, representatives of the international community, and civil society.

“I confirmed Norway’s strong support for the people of South Sudan which is based on fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.” Mr. Kravik said.

“We discussed various issues of mutual interest, chief amongst them the upcoming elections at the end of the year. I underlined Norway’s unwavering commitment to credible and democratic elections as the best means to ensure a peaceful end to the transitional period.”

Norway is concerned that much work still remains in order to meet the prerequisites for free, fair, and credible elections. “In my meetings, I urged the Government to urgently address the ten points raised by the trilateral mechanism (IGAD, AU and UN) last summer.”

Mr. Kravik further underscored the need for progress on some key aspects fundamental to the Peace Agreement and the election process.

“This includes reform of the security sector with a focus on politically neutral security forces, sufficient government funding of the electoral bodies, and that the parties jointly decide on the appropriate modalities of the elections. These elements must be addressed as promptly as possible and before April to adhere to the timeline set out by the SRSG.” Mr. Kravik said.

During his visit, Mr. Kravik met South Sudanese civil society representatives, who underscored the need for an opening of political and civic space as South Sudan prepares for elections. The deputy Foreign Minister also underscored the importance of civic and political space in meetings with government officials:

“We also discussed other vital issues such as the importance of ensuring sufficient space for civic and political engagement and transparency in the financial sector, two issues where Norway has serious concerns regarding the current state of affairs”, Mr. Kravik said.

Finally, Mr. Kravik noted that progress in the next few weeks is critically needed.

“The world is watching how South Sudan confronts these issues of fundamental importance for the people of this country. Norway sincerely hopes that the government will rise to the occasion and act with determination and credibility to ensure a prosperous and free South Sudan based on democracy, rule of law and human rights.” Mr. Kravik concluded.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Juba.

Source: Apo-Opa

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