Home | News    Tuesday 22 October 2019

Security Council urges S. Sudan leaders to salvage peace deal

October 21, 2019 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council on Sunday called on South Sudan leaders to reach a compromise and rescue the fragile 2018 peace agreement from collapse.

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in Juba, October 20, 2019 (PPU)

The call came hours after the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by Riek Machar threatened not to be part of a new government.

“There is an opportunity for the leaders of South Sudan to make political compromise and move forward to the next phase of the peace process in a credible, transparent and accountable manner,” said Kelly Craft, the United States ambassador to the UN.

In September 2018, the warring parties involved in South Sudan’s conflict signed a peace deal to end a civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

The Security Council delegation, on a visit to the South Sudan capital, Juba acknowledged that progress has been made since then, with a ceasefire significantly improving the security situation.

“We noted the reduction of political violence which has contributed to the return of 594,000 displaced people, increased food production, enhanced humanitarian access, and increased commerce among communities,” said Jerry Matthews Matjila, the South African envoy to the UN and Council President for October.

However, key outstanding issues remain which are having an impact on the progression of the peace process. They include decisions on states and boundaries, as well as the reunification of security forces.

The Security Council delegation held separate meetings with President Kiir, Machar and other signatories to the peace agreement, urging them to expedite its implementation and meet the November 12 deadline for forming the transitional government.

MACHAR SPEAKS OUT

Meanwhile Machar expressed concerns over what he described as the failure to reunify security forces, saying his armed opposition movement would not join the government till the issue was resolved.

“Yes, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development stated that by the 12th of November there should be a new government… but the aspects that are needed for establishing the government are not there,” said the opposition leader.

“Suppose we force it on the 12th, we know what will happen; the ceasefire that we have been enjoying will be in jeopardy,” he added.

The Security Council delegation, however, expressed strong disappointment over Machar’s statement, appealing to the country’s leaders to reach a consensus and agree on way forward.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.

In May, the two sides agreed to form a unity government in six months and in September said that they will establish a transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

(ST)