Newly appointed UNMIS Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) Haile Menkerios made a three-day familiarization tour of Southern Sudan beginning 29 March.
The SRSG was in the south to orient himself with the humanitarian and security situation, progress on preparations for upcoming elections and the work of UNMIS as well as other UN agencies in Southern Sudan.
Mr. Menkerios was making his first visit to the region since he assumed duties as UN special envoy to Sudan in March.
Accompanied by UNMIS Regional Coordinator for Southern Sudan David Gressly, the SRSG met with Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba, before departing for Western Bahr El-Ghazal, Warrap, Unity, and Upper Nile states.
In a meeting with Lieut. Gen. Salva Mathok, Warrap State caretaker governor during the election period, in the capital Kuajok, Mr. Menkerios said he was there to learn about challenges the state was facing and see areas UNMIS could support.
Noting that his state was one of the least developed in Southern Sudan, Lt. Gen. Mathok said it had been plagued by tribal clashes, food insecurity caused by drought, cattle raiding and a shortage of police.
Pointing to seasonal Dinka-Messeriya conflicts involving grazing and watering points, SRSG Menkerios urged the governors of Warrap and Unity to seek peaceful means of resolving tribal friction, rather than resorting to violence.
As part of its mandate, UNMIS was keen to assist in capacity building of local institutions, so that services needed by the community could be delivered, the SRSG said.
While in Kuajok, Mr. Menkerios also visited the police training centre and met with UN police advisors, who are currently training local law enforcers there, and the recently established Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) office, before departing for Western Bahr El-Ghazal State.
Speaking to staff in Western Bahr El-Ghazal's capital Wau, the SRSG said UNMIS would continue to assist the Sudanese in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He encouraged staff members to continue their commitment to fulfil the mission's mandate in Sudan.
"Your contributions have an enormous impact on the future of the country," Mr. Menkerios said.