Airport security mission in doubt
The South Sudan mission – known by the EU as EUAVSEC South Sudan – is intended to train and mentor South Sudan’s security services at the airport in the country’s capital, Juba. However, as the mission approaches the end of its 19-month mandate, it has struggled to make significant headway in its two principal tasks, training airport staff and helping to create a government organisation responsible for aviation security.
The airport has yet to be completed because of gaps in South Sudan’s budget caused by the country’s decision in 2012 to cut off oil to Sudan in the wake of border clashes.
Although South Sudan has been pumping oil to Sudan since this April, the budget shortfall has disrupted construction and delayed recruitment of security staff. In addition, the EU’s member states failed to second enough staff for the mission, which was supposed to have 64 trainers and other staff. As a result, the mission has been scaled back.
There had been doubts from the outset about the value of a mission to improve national security at an airport yet to be built. However, a group of member states wants to show continued support both for South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, and for the EU’s ‘comprehensive approach’ to security.
They have suggested that the mission should be continued beyond mid-January and that the bill (the mission’s original budget was €12.5 million) should be picked up by the European Commission’s development department. That department has, however, indicated that funds for the mission are not available.