Outgoing British Ambassador Dr Alastair McPhail addressing the media in Juba. [Waakhe Simon Wudu]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 21 March 2013 [Gurtong] -McPhail said it has been exciting working in South Sudan, adding the challenges in the infant nation are huge.
“This is the end of my time in South Sudan having come here two years ago before South Sudan became South Sudan when it was still part of Sudan prior to independence,” he told journalists at the British Embassy in Juba.
“I will hesitate to say that this is the end of my work on South Sudan and Sudan. For the moment my work here is done,” he reiterated.
“It has been an exciting but often troubled two years in my time here. We have had the referendum, the independence achieved through secession from Sudan. This came after many conflicts and a number of agreements with Sudan,” said the outgoing ambassador.
He said the challenges facing South Sudan are huge and make the most developed nations difficult to face very successfully, adding building of the South Sudan nation is almost from scratch but not reconstructing.
He said South Sudan has the sole responsibility of building the nation and own it, pointing out that, partners are only to help.
In his term of being in office for the last two years, McPhail said, the Embassy through its home government had been struggling fighting corruption in the country, assisting in the areas of humanitarian needs, security sector reform, health and education.
Among a number of achievements he pointed out the UK government contribution of 10 million school text books aimed at improving the general education in South Sudan, adding efforts were also being put in constructing schools and improving girl-child education.
He pointed out that UK’s cooperation with South Sudan will continuously remain in place and said reforms on health, education, security reform and corruption still remain key cross cutting issues the embassy will be focusing at.
He said UK will continue paying health care services in six states of the country and leaving the four to other partners.
The ambassador also pointed out concerns on human right issues, freedom of press and expression still remain critical and urged government and activists to sort out the matter.
He urged South Sudan and Sudan to fully implement the cooperation agreement saying it is the only way to make the two nations viable and facilitate mutual understanding for development.
McPhail will be replaced by Ian Hughes as the new UK Ambassador.