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Nepalese peacekeepers lay a wreath on a monument to commemorate fallen soldiers during the 75th International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on May 29, 2023. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)

UN calls for urgent release of trucks carrying fuel

The United Nations in South Sudan on Tuesday called for the release of trucks carrying fuel and other critical supplies being held up at the Nimule border, following assurances by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs that the imposition of taxes on trucks carrying fuel and other supplies does not apply to UN humanitarian, development, and peacekeeping operations or to the diplomatic community.

“While we acknowledge the government’s confirmation of its intention to end the blockade of our trucks, we now need urgent action to get the trucks moving to ensure our support for South Sudan does not grind to a halt,” Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan said in a statement issued in Juba.

He said they remain concerned that fuel trucks are still being held up at various depots and the border, despite assurances of the government.

“Until they are released, the UN will not be able to conduct many of its activities in support of vulnerable communities across the country,” Haysom said.

Haysom the situation is critical, as fuel reserves of the UN and its agencies, funds, and programmes are running out.

“This will prevent the delivery of millions of dollars of aid during a severe humanitarian crisis and divert already stretched funding provided by donors and other Member States to assist the people of South Sudan,” he said.

Haysom noted that humanitarian airdrops have already been suspended, affecting 60,000 people in need, adding that UNMISS is also forced to review peacekeeping patrols, road repairs, construction of police stations, schools, and health centers, as well as reduce support to peace and electoral processes.

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