By Deng Machol
Juba – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Wednesday warned South Sudan’s leaders that the 2018 fragile peace process is under serious threats due to slow progress, calling for “fresh urgency” to the process.
South Sudan has experienced chronic instability since independence in 2011, including a brutal five-year civil war that broke out in late 2013, cost almost 400,000 lives and uprooted four million people from their homes
But the 2018 deal which ended the war has been stabbed by lack of political-will between rival peace parties, and key provisions of the deal are yet to be implemented.
Nicholas Haysom, the UN’s special envoy to South Sudan, said the process risked becoming nonviable if it failed to pick up the pace.
“The pace of implementation remains too slow. If this continues, there is a risk that the viability of the broader agreement will come under threat,” said Hayson. Put simply, there cannot continue to be a “business as usual” approach,” he added.
“The parties must inject fresh urgency into the process and demonstrate a sustained, collective political will to finalize critical areas of the agreement,” the UN chief told a press briefing in Juba.
According to him, this includes transitional security arrangements, legislation promoting financial and judicial reform, and constitution-making so that elections can be held.
He added that a concrete action in these areas will allow the international community and UNMISS to play an even greater role in providing support to the government and people of South Sudan.
Hayson further said the UNMISS continues to actively support the peace process, working alongside political actors and other stakeholders to support locally driven solutions.
Though it is the primary responsibility of the government to protect its people and ensure that their needs are being met, Hayson said the UN is providing support within the limits of its capacity.
“We are taking proactive and robust action to protect civilians by rapidly deploying to areas where there is a threat, or actual violence,” he said. This year, our military peacekeepers and UN Police have carried out more than 7000 patrols and established 125 temporary bases in conflict hotspots.”
However, South Sudan has been blighted with civil war, famine and chronic political and economic crisis since celebrating its hard-fought independence from Sudan in July 2011.