UNMISS declines IGAD request to transport opposition leaders to consultative conference in Pagak

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JUBA, South Sudan, November 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) wishes to correct erroneous media reports claiming that the Mission has sought the consent of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) to use the Mission'! s aircraft to transport delegates of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) from locations inside the country to a consultative conference in Pagak, South Sudan.

UNMISS received a written request dated 17 November 2014 from the Office of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Envoys for South Sudan to provide air transportation to SPLM/A-IO delegates based in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states who are planning to attend this conference on the IGAD-sponsored peace talks in Ethiopia.

The Mission declined the IGAD request in writing on 19 November, citing security and practical reasons. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation forwarded a written communication to the Office of the IGAD Special Envoys for South Sudan advising that the Government of South Sudan has no objection to the facilitation of transportation of participants of SPLM/A-IO from locations in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states to Pagak and back to their respective destinations after the completion of their consultations.

The GRSS communication did not refer to UNMISS as a facilitating organization in this regard, and the UNMISS decision that it is not in a position to provide air transportation for the delegates remains unchanged.

The Mission has accordingly sent a formal communication to the Government conveying this position and setting the record straight, in view of the continuing erroneous press reports.

UNMISS takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support for the IGAD-led peace process and will continue to strictly implement its mandate in an impartial manner.