Address at High-Level Event on South Sudan (political)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende's address at an event for the participants in the South Sudan peace process - at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Secretary-General,
Excellences,
ladies and gentlemen,

All of us who sit in this room today have supported peace in South Sudan for years.

Unfortunately, and despite all our efforts, we are nowhere near where we hoped we would be when the peace agreement was signed more than two years ago.

Norway has supported many peace processes around the world over the years.

We know that it is incredibly hard to create peace unless there is a will among the parties.

Given the catastrophic humanitarian situation and immense human suffering in South Sudan, it is incomprehensible to me how anyone could not want peace.

Yet we continue to see attempts to derail and delay peace efforts.

We see a government that launches military offensives, obstructs humanitarian assistance and engages in widespread human rights abuses.

Opposition groups are no better.

But the primary responsibility lies with the sovereign government of South Sudan, legally and morally.

My clear message to the parties is that the time for promises is over.

We need to see action.

A good place to start would be ending military offensives, ending obstruction of humanitarians and peacekeepers and participating constructively in the High Level Revitalization Forum.

I have underlined that message in my bilateral meetings this week.

For those of us here today the question is what we can do to bring about a change.

The coming together of the region and launch of the revitalization process has been incredibly important.

It is key that we all stand together behind the robust and clear message from the IGAD Summit and the Communiqué from the IGAD Council of Ministers.

Norway remains a firm supporter of the region's efforts and of IGAD, the AU and the UN.

Norway also fully supports the decision of our Troika partner the US to implement punitive measures. We believe it is time to draw a line.

If there is no constructive engagement in the revitalization process by the parties, we would encourage IGAD and the UN Security Council to consider similar measures in line with previous statements.

The parties in South Sudan have received very clear messages. The Revitalization Forum will be a first indicator of whether this message has had any impact.

Let us hope the parties listen to its good neighbors and friends.