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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Western nations urge flexibility ahead of South Sudan talks

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Three Western countries on Thursday called on South Sudan’s warring parties to make concessions during the next round of peace talks slated for Monday in Ethiopia.

The United States, Norway and Britain which are members of the Troika (peace deal guarantors) said to achieve a sustainable peace, no party to the conflict can have undue influence or a veto on the process, including the government.

“All parties must engage sincerely and make concessions in the national interest; otherwise, the conflict and suffering will continue,” said the peace guarantors.

Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will convene the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan on Dec. 18 in Addis Ababa.

The Western nations said IGAD’s ability to solve this crisis depends on unity of purpose amongst its members, and called on regional countries to speak with one voice.

“As the Troika has previously stated, the HLRF and its outcome must be genuinely inclusive and reflect the political reality of South Sudan today,” they said.

The Troika vowed to stand with IGAD in its efforts to make progress toward peace and effective implementation of the Agreement and warned of severe action against those who obstruct the process.

The Western countries stressed that the peace forum is a unique and critical opportunity to make progress towards peace.

They said humanitarian, economic, security, human rights and political situation continue to deteriorate with devastating consequences for the people of South Sudan.

According to Troika, over half the population now lack enough food to feed themselves and a third of the population have fled their homes, causing the largest refugee crisis in Africa.

“This situation is intolerable to the region and the international community. It cannot continue,” they said, and called on the government to adhere to its repeated public and private commitments to participate in the peace forum in good faith, and with the immediate goal of stopping the fighting.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned rebel chief Riek Machar led to split within the SPLA, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the conflict was weakened after outbreak of renewed fighting in July 2016 caused the SPLA-in opposition rebel leader Machar to flee the capital.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for three months as a technical rollover to allow for the completion of a strategic review of the UN mission.

The Security Council also adopted a presidential statement on South Sudan, expressing deep concern about the political, security, humanitarian, human rights, and economic situation in the war-torn country.

The council is deeply concerned about the actions of the parties to the conflict that are perpetuating the dire situation, with 7.6 million people now in need of aid, 4 million displaced, and 6 million lacking enough food to feed themselves, says the statement.

The Security Council deplored that the parties have failed to honor their commitments to a cease-fire and to allowing the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.

It took note of the cease-fire initiative by the South Sudanese government, called on the government to adhere to its cease-fire, and urged the opposition to reciprocate.

The Security Council strongly urged all parties to engage constructively in an African-led process to revitalize peace.

The council condemned all instances of attacks against civilians and the military use of hospitals and schools, and recalled that the UNMISS mandate includes monitoring, investigating, verifying, and reporting on abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including those that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

It reiterated that perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable, in order to break the prevailing cycle of impunity.

Shortly after its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan plunged into civil war. Up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed since late 2013. More than 1.5 million people having fled to neighboring countries, more are internally displaced.

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South Sudan commend WTO move to speed up its accession

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Thursday lauded the decision by World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a working party committee that will pave way for the country’s final accession to the global trade body.

Mawien Makol, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, said the development was a major achievement that will help boost trade through easing of tariffs on imports to the war-torn country.

“It is a major achievement and very significant for South Sudan to be part of WTO. We will be engaged in trade, it will also help ease tariffs on our imports,” he told Xinhua in Juba of the decision at the just concluded 11th Ministerial Conference of WTO in Argentina.

Oil-rich South Sudan imports 98 percent of its goods and services through the East African neighboring countries of Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.

Makol also hailed Kenya’s support at the Dec. 10-13 WTO conference in Buenos Aires as it proved crucial in speeding up the accession process of South Sudan which still enjoys observer status.

“We have good relations with Kenya and their support is crucial to us being part of WTO,” Makol revealed.

The war-torn country applied to join the WTO in 2015, and was recipient of 6 million U.S. dollar support from WTO under the Enhance Integrated Framework, a multi-donor program which helps least-developed countries in the global trading system.

Akech Chol Ayok, the Deputy Permanent Representative of South Sudan in Geneva, said they want to attract foreign direct investment and have access to international markets as other countries have a desire to trade with South Sudan which cannot be achieved without acceding to the WTO.

“By establishing the Working Party on the Accession of South Sudan, the Ministerial Conference has encouraged us to keep up the nation-building efforts. My government stands committed to undertake the required reforms for WTO accession in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, transparency, good governance and respect for human rights,” Ayok said at the WTO conference.

There are 164 members of the WTO representing 84 percent of the 196 countries in the world that enjoy the benefits of greater international trade conferred by the WTO and also solving trade disputes.

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Chinese entrepreneur imparts IT skills to young South Sudanese

JUBA, Xinhua) -- A Chinese-owned printing business has ushered some young South Sudanese people into the world of Information Technology (IT) by imparting new skills that are invaluable in landing decent jobs in the strife-torn country.

Wang Zhencheng, 60, came to Juba in September and managed to establish Zhen Cheng Printing Company Limited, located in downtown Juba.

“I just started this printing business with a mission to teach young people up-to-date technical skills that will improve their capacity in IT,” said Wang, who only speaks Chinese.

Language barrier should not hinder other successful Chinese businessmen from visiting South Sudan and create opportunities for local people, he said.

He told Xinhua in a recent interview in Juba that his business has employed more than 10 South Sudanese young people after providing them with training on IT solutions skills and how to operate Chinese modern printing equipment.

“Our products and services include photocopying, scanning, printing of engineering drawing, PVC plate, brochures, book binding, receipt book, letterhead, plastic ID cards among other office printing solutions,” Wang said.

“We imported our printing equipment from China,” he added. He was born in Beijing and has worked there for his entire working life in IT sector-related services.

Wang told Xinhua that he decided not to retire in China because he felt the need of unwavering desire to support South Sudanese people in achieving economic recovery and stability.

“I decided not to retire in China simply because I heard about the suffering of South Sudanese people. I felt I should come and empower the youths in South Sudan with entrepreneurial skills,” Wang said.

He noted that South Sudan has a youth bulge that can be tapped by local and foreign investors to promote economic growth.

Wang said that his company strictly adheres to local rules, regulations and customs and has good working relationship with South Sudanese citizens despite language barriers.

Bol Nicknora Nyol, a business manager and translator, said the business has not only empowered him but also his peers with technical skills and transformed their lives thanks to decent wages and IT opportunities provided by his employer.

Nyol studied engineering for four years in Beijing where he learned how to speak Chinese.

“As you can see most of the people who we employed did not know how to operate these machines from the beginning but we trained them and they are now able to do so without direct supervision,” Nyol said.

“Even though they later decided to leave the company, the skills they acquired here will be very useful to them,” he added.

Nyol encourages his colleagues in China to devote their time in learning Chinese language to help boost South Sudanese and Chinese mutual understanding.

“Most of the Chinese businessmen who come from China face communication barrier since they are not able to communicate effectively with the local people. Mastery of the Chinese language is an added advantage,” Nyol added.

Justino Wen Madhohok, who works as an operator, said he was first trained on how to handle the sophisticated printing equipment imported from China.

“When I started I didn’t know how to operate the machine, but now everything is easy because Wang’s mentorship and guidance helps me a lot,” Madhohok said.

He underlined that he is happy to be Wang’s beneficiary of defied retirement age and he hopes to learn more relevant skills.

             

 

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