I also join others in thanking the briefers for their insightful overviews.
Estonia warmly welcomes the continuing rapprochement between the Sudan and South Sudan. We recognize that the political transitions in both countries continue to require much of the attention of the respective governments. However, we also urge the parties to use the newly strengthened relations, to facilitate progress towards resolving the question of Abyei. This is especially important, given the heightened tensions in the larger Horn of Africa region.
Estonia believes that there is no substitute for a meaningful political process between the parties. Therefore, we welcome all steps taken in this direction, and call on the Sudan and South-Sudan to continue to build a viable political process, leading to the implementation of security and administrative arrangements that both can agree to. The political process could be significantly aided by the appointment of Civilian Deputy Head of Mission, and we call on parties to help to make this a reality. We also call for regional actors to actively engage the parties on the Abyei question, as their support is crucial for making progress on this issue.
We are concerned about the violence and criminality, the recent trend of attacks on UN troops and contractors, as well as, obstruction and looting of humanitarian convoys. This worrying trend needs decisive action. In this connection, I reiterate my call to, firstly, expedite the deployment of the police component; secondly, conduct joint investigations into the deadly incidents of violence with the purpose of bringing the perpetrators to justice; and thirdly, deploy human rights expertise to UNISFA, including enhanced child protection capacities. While these asks have been repeatedly made in the Council, unfortunately there has been little progress, and we urge the relevant parties to heed these calls.
Estonia supports the extension of the mandate of UNISFA for the next six months. On this note, I would also like to express our gratitude to UNISFA for their invaluable contributions. However, moving forward, we need to have a discussion about how the UN can be most helpful given the current realities surrounding the Abyei question. We note that the Secretary-General’s consultations about the future exit of UNISFA were inconclusive, yet we need to continue our work to find a common ground on this issue.
To conclude, the Abyei people deserve better than the current status quo. Therefore, we call on the parties to capitalize on their improved relationship to push for progress on the question of Abyei. We also continue to call for the removal of any impediments to the implementation of the mandate of UNISFA. Finally, I would like to underscore the importance of dialogue and cooperation in resolving the question of Abyei, as well as the heightened tensions in the wider region.