December 13, 2015 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese official has expressed regret over the criticisms by a United States senator, stressing government’s commitment towards implementing the peace agreement signed in August with armed opposition faction led by former vice president, Riek Machar, to end more than 21 month conflict in the country.
The deputy foreign affairs minister, Peter Bashir Gbandi, told Sudan Tribune it was unfair for anyone to overlook commitments made by government to end the conflict in order to return the nation to a functional state and embark on nation building processes.
“It was unfortunate the senators overlooked the efforts and commitment demonstrated by the government to ending this war by accepting to sign and openly declare by the world willingness to implement the peace despites the reservations we have registered”, said Gbandi
According to the deputy minister, implementation of the peace accord was progressing well.
“The commitment of the government to bringing the conflict to an end is demonstrated by the signing of the Peace and commitment to full implementation. The implementation of the peace has started and it is moving well. The chairman of the joint monitoring and evaluation commission has been appointed and the former detainees have now returned to Juba. We are also expecting the advance team of the SPLM-IO [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition] to come to Juba soon”, he explained.
The official further revealed that the other demonstration of the full commitment of the government to implementing the peace agreement was the redeployment government troops outside the national capital, Juba as part of the security arrangement which calls for withdrawal of the army from the towns to 25 kilometers out of civilians inhabited places to avoid becoming victims of tension between armies.
“We understand these concerns but I think there is a room to work together with the government to implement the peace. This is a time to provide support to the parties and partners to turn around. We, as the government and the international community needs to open a new page and move forward”, said Gbandi.
A United States senator on Thursday attacked, at a Congressional hearing, South Sudan president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, for the mess created in the young nation in the presence of its shocked embassy officials.
“I don’t know how representatives of South Sudan can show up at these types of meeting without being totally embarrassed by the actions of their government,” said Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
“I don’t know what kind of government you represent,” he told South Sudanese diplomats.
The Congressional hearing came in as South Sudan tries to put in place modalities for the proposed Transitional Government of National Unity after over 20 months of conflict.
Tens of thousands of people were killed and nearly two million civilians displaced in South Sudan’s worst outbreak of conflict since its secession from neighbouring Sudan.
Senator Corker was of the view that the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former deputy-turned rebel leader, Riek Machar should end up in jail for their involvement in the conflict.