By Deng Machol
Juba – the representative of the United Nations’ Secretary General in South Sudan said the lack of meetings between President Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader, designated vice president Riek Machar remains a fundamental challenge for the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.
David Shearer, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) made this remark during a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on the slow pace implementation of the signed revitalized peace agreement.
South Sudan declared independence from Sudan regime in 2011 amid celebrations and promises of support from major world powers and friends after the decades of scorched – earth conflict, but the world desired – country returned into another civil war in late 2013 after political disagreement between president Kiir and his former deputy, designated vice president Machar.
Through the regional – bloc, IGAD’s effort, the two principals, including other opposition leaders signed the revitalized peace agreement last September 2018, the latest in a series of others reached since 2013 but are being violated with a month, is largely delaying after South Sudan’s ruling and opposition parties agreed in May to give themselves six more months to form a unity government as part of the peace deal.
However, Shearer said despite the deferment of the transitional government formed months ago, the implementation of the security arrangements particularly the troops’ cantonment and unification of armed forces have been lethargic.
“A fundamental challenge is the lack of regular face-to-face meetings between President Salva Kiir and Opposition leader Dr Riek Machar,” Shearer told the UNSC this week. “These leader-to-leader meetings, preferably held in Juba, are critical because trust and confidence can’t cold start the day a new unified government is formed,” he further said.
Ex- rebel Machar is now based in Khartoum after the regional bloc ended his house arrest in South Africa in mid – last year, and then Machar would only return to Juba, South Sudan when the power – sharing government is formed after the process of the pre-transitional period steps like established of cantonment sites, army unification and delimitation of tribal boundaries.
Shearer further said the United Nations and African Union are working together and now accept, may be some tasks would not be utterly complete by November, 2019, adding that they can consider the pre-transitional tasks as ‘complete,’ but this should not delay the formation of the unity government.
The UNMISS chief has also renewed calls on the South Sudanese government to meet its commitment to release funding its pledged for peace’s implementation.
On the same event, South Sudanese Ambassador to United Nations, Akuei Bona Malwal reiterated his government pledge to pay $100 million dollars to speed up the implementation of peace deal.
Amb. Bona also added that his government have already disbursed two million towards food and cantonment preparation activities in Greater Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal respectively.
“The peace implementation needs technical assistance and experts that we hope the international community would provide,” said Bona.
The Khartoum – backing peace deal is facing financial supports since it was inked and this made its’ implementation slothful. So the due formation of the power – sharing government in November 12, 2019 is an incredulous.