Thursday, 22 November 2018

Questions (46)

Catherine Murphy


46. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the degree of diplomatic efforts through the EU that Ireland has made to ensure South Sudan’s peace deal remains in place; his plans to continue to support the humanitarian efforts in South Sudan; the level of co-operation on same he has had with other supporting states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48705/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

South Sudan continues to endure an ongoing crisis, in large part the consequence of civil war. Since the most recent outbreak of conflict in 2015, over 50,000 people have been killed and more than 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. On 12 September last, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, signed a peace agreement with the opposition. While this peace agreement has the potential to mark a new departure, it is critical that South Sudan’s leaders implement it without delay. Achieving lasting peace will require sustained effort and commitment as well as a genuinely inclusive approach to building the future South Sudan.

Ireland strongly supports efforts to build peace in South Sudan. In November 2017, during his visit to Addis Ababa, the Tánaiste met representatives of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and the African Union to discuss the situation in South Sudan. On that visit, the Tánaiste announced funding to the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum, the process which delivered the revised peace agreement. Ireland will continue to support IGAD’s work on monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the agreement in 2019.

Our Embassy in Addis Ababa which is accredited to South Sudan, monitors the situation and engages with local, regional and international parties on an ongoing basis. The Irish Ambassador in Addis Ababa visits Juba frequently where she meets with key government, UN, NGO, Red Cross and diplomatic partners, including the EU Delegation. She plans to visit again next week.

Two Departmental officials have been seconded to the EU Delegation in South Sudan, which is working to support the peace process, in particular by providing support to the implementing and monitoring bodies of the peace agreement. Ireland also cooperates closely with other EU member states on the issue of South Sudan in the European Council where Conclusions on South Sudan were adopted in April.

The EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos, appointed in 2012, contributes actively to achieve lasting peace, security and development in the region; this month he visited Dublin to brief the Tánaiste on current dynamics in the Horn of Africa, including South Sudan.

Ireland is responding to the continuing humanitarian need in South Sudan, with over €61 million in humanitarian assistance provided since 2012. Over €10 million in Irish funding has been provided so far this year, including to the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund and UNICEF to assist them in reaching the most vulnerable with lifesaving supplies and basic services. Irish funding will continue to support both those in need inside South Sudan as well as South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries. Ireland is also a significant contributor to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, which has allocated $187 million to alleviate the crisis since 2011, and to the EU, which has provided more than €90 million so far this year.