The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Koro Bessho (Japan):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the escalation of fighting in Juba, South Sudan, that started on 7 July.  The members of the Security Council expressed particular shock and outrage at the attacks on United Nations compounds and protection of civilians sites in Juba.  The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against civilians and the United Nations.  They expressed their condolences and sympathies to the families of Chinese and Rwandan peacekeepers who were killed or injured in the attacks.  They emphasized the need for United Nations protection of civilians sites and United Nations personnel to remain secure.

The members of the Security Council urged an immediate end to the fighting by all concerned and demanded that President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence and genuinely commit themselves to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba.

The members of the Security Council reminded all parties, including Government security forces, of the civilian character of the protection of civilians sites in South Sudan.  The members of the Security Council stressed that attacks against civilians and United Nations premises and personnel may constitute war crimes and they emphasized the importance of transparent investigations into these crimes and that those involved must be held accountable and could be potentially subject to sanctions as authorized under resolution 2206 (2015) for actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.

The members of the Security Council encouraged countries in the region, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to continue firmly engaging with South Sudanese leaders to address the crisis.

The members of the Security Council expressed their support for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).  The members of the Security Council expressed their readiness to consider enhancing UNMISS to better ensure that UNMISS and the international community can prevent and respond to violence in South Sudan.  The members of the Security Council encouraged States in the region to prepare to provide additional troops in the event the Council so decides.  In the interim, the members of the Security Council stressed the need for UNMISS to make full use of its authority to use all necessary means to protect civilians.