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Time running out for cantonment of forces in S. Sudan: RJMEC

September 12, 2019 (JUBA) - Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), interim chairperson, Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge said time is running out for the cantonment, selection and training of the 50% of the 83,000 necessary unified force to be completed by September 30, even if some progress has been made on the operationalization of cantonment sites.

RJMEC Interim Chairperson H.E Ambassador Lt .Gen. Augostino Njoroge (Center) delivers his statement during the meeting. With him are RJMEC Chief of Staff, Ambassador Berhanu Kebede (right) and Deputy Chief of Staff-Strategy, Dr. Thomson Fontaine, September 12, 2019 (RJMEC photo)

The official made the remarks while addressing the 9th monthly meeting of the RJMEC in the capital, Juba on Thursday.

Njoroge urged the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Commission to immediately operationalize an action plan, saying it is vital to the cantonment process.

He also applauded the recent face-to-face meeting between South Sudan president, Salva Kiir and the leader of the SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, saying that such meetings are critical for the successful implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

“Their commitment to resolve the outstanding issues, either personally or by putting in place official mechanisms, is critical for the successful implementation in order to build trust and confidence among themselves and address the challenges facing implementation,” stressed Njoroge.

The two rival leaders held face-to-face meetings in Juba for the first time since they last met at The Vatican in April this year.

The interim chairperson of the RJMEC, however, reminded the parties on how short the time is, and that they must work closely together in order to accomplish the remaining critical pending Pre-Transitional tasks within the remaining two months.”

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy-turned rebel leader for plotting a coup.

In September 2018, however, the rival factions involved in the South Sudanese conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.

The power-sharing arrangements under the deal were supposed to take effect in May, but the process was delayed by six months until November as both sides disagreed on security arrangements.