South Sudan: Troika calls on parties to redouble efforts as new deadline handy, vows to support peace process

By Deng Machol

Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir while his opposition rival Rick Marchar looks on after a two day spiritual retreat for South Sudan leaders in April 2019.
Pope Francis kisses the feet of President Salva Kiir while his opposition rival Rick Marchar looks on after a two day spiritual retreat for South Sudan leaders in April 2019.

Juba – The United States, United Kingdom, and Norway has called on the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to redouble their efforts to implement the most pressing issues, including security reforms, as agreed in May this year in the 11th months old fragile revitalized peace deal.

The troika countries were being inaudible on the Khartoum – backing revitalized peace deal until last month they expressed willingness to support the transitional period.

The US, UK and Norway are South Sudan’s main friends and developmental partners since the two decades of scorched-earth civil war until today despite that they got disappointed after the country returned into another civil war in late 2013, two years of her independence from Sudan regime in 2011.

In the aftermath of political conflict, several ceasefire and deal were reached through the Troika’s support but has been violated within a month.

But with latest litmus test, President Kiir and the key opposition groups, including the main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the peace deal on September, 2018 to end the conflict, which has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes. The plans to form a power-sharing in May, this year were delayed after there was no funding to disarm, establish cantonments, rehabilitate and integrate militias and rebels across the country to November 12, this year.

Something that concerns the troika countries, ‘with less than four months until the new deadline for the end of the pre-transitional period in November, time is running out.’

In a statement issued on late July, Troika said it is ready to work with the reconstituted transitional government of national unity in November as mandated by the peace agreement.

“Troika stands by the people of South Sudan and looks forward to support a successful transitional period,” said troika in the statement for the first time.

“While there is progress, lack of momentum to fully implement the peace agreement may threaten the successful formation of the transitional government and the prospects for the peace process,” the statement partially read. “We call on the parties to redouble their efforts to resolve the most pressing remaining issues, which includes ensuring agreed security reforms are delivered, through the mobilization of necessary support,” it added.

They further said focused discussions on outstanding tasks are critical for progress towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, which will set the foundation for effective joint governance.

The power sharing deal that resuscitated Dr. Machar as first vice president would run for three years until general elections is held.

“Credible elections in South Sudan in 2022 are another important milestone,” the statement further said

However, Troika further welcomed the significant globule in political violence and the presence of many opposition politicians in Juba.

The Troika countries also added its voice to the calls by the region and South Sudan’s civil society for regular engagement between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, in bid to narrow a gap on outstanding matters.

“For the peace process to remain credible, it is important that the parties demonstrate their commitment to peace and meet the assurances they made in May,” the group said.

IGAD recently announced plans for another face-to-face talks between Kiir and Machar, but Juba government always says that Kiir will not meet Machar in another country, except in Juba.

The observers, experts argued that consistent meeting between the two principals will help them appraisal the progress, build trust and confidence and extend a signal to South Sudanese that the deal is on right track.

Troika also reaffirmed its commitment to the IGAD-led peace process and to the lasting peace which they say the people of South Sudan deserve.

The Troika also welcomed recently appointment of Kenyan former vice president, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Kenyan Special Envoy to South Sudan by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also the IGAD Rapporteur to sustain his country peace efforts in the East Africa youngest country.

“We are encouraged by the appointment of H.E. Stephen Kalonzo as the Kenyan Special Envoy on South Sudan; this is an important demonstration of commitment from an IGAD member state,” Troika avowed.

More so, the statement concluded that the role of IGAD countries and the wider international community remains critical, and “the Troika stands ready to support the region’s engagement.”

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