ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),
an East African bloc, brought together South Sudanese warring
parties to discuss governance and security issues ahead of a new
round of peace talks scheduled for May 17.
According to the
East African bloc, the consultation session, underway in
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from May 15 to 16, is providing
South Sudanese parties with key information to enable them to
identify optimal security arrangements, power-sharing options
and challenges associated with a Transitional Government of
It is “an
opportunity for the key representatives of the parties, leading
on governance and security issues, to revisit general principles
and practices relating to governance and security issues during
political transitions,” the East African bloc said in a
The IGAD Director of
Peace and Security Division, Tewolde Gebremeskel, told
representatives of the South Sudanese warring parties that the
seminar on governance and security was organized in order to
support the parties’ deliberations during the HLRF due to start
“In the intervening
period between Phase II of the HLRF and today, IGAD Council of
Ministers have been engaging with your respective parties in
Juba, Addis Ababa, and Pretoria, in order to bridge the gaps in
your divergent views on the outstanding substantive issues,”
The session on South
Sudan’s governance system and security situations will be
followed by a new High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) that
aimed to bring peace agreement among the warring parties towards
ending the conflict in the world’s youngest nation, according to
descended into violence in December 2013 following 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 the outbreak of
renewed fighting in July 2016 caused the SPLA-in opposition
rebel leader Machar to flee the capital.
UN urges South
Sudan to protect aid workers, cease hostilities
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The UN top relief official wrapped up a two-day
visit to South Sudan on Wednesday, calling all warring parties
to cease hostilities and protect humanitarian workers and
Mark Lowcock, the UN
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency
Relief Coordinator, lamented that ordinary persons are now
suffering amidst fresh fighting that has displaced tens of
thousands of people in multiple locations across the country.
“The conflict in
South Sudan is now in its fifth year. Ordinary people are
suffering on an unimaginable scale. The peace process has so far
produced nothing. The cessation of hostilities is a fiction. The
economy has collapsed,” Lowcock said in a statement issued at
the end of his visit.
Lowcock who arrived
in Juba on Tuesday held talks with senior government officials,
members of SPLA-in Opposition, humanitarian agencies, and
partners. He also visited people affected by the crisis in Juba,
Yei Town and Mundu.
scorched-earth tactics, murder and rape as weapons of war. All
these are gross violations of international law. Seven million
people need humanitarian assistance in 2018. And things are
simply getting worse,” he said.
The UN relief
official said ending the violence in the world’s youngest nation
is the first and single most important thing needed to
alleviating human suffering in South Sudan.
According to the UN,
about 4.3 million people have been displaced, including more
than 1.76 million who are internally displaced and about 2.5
million in neighboring countries.
displaced people are more vulnerable to threats to their safety,
health and livelihoods. “Despite a multitude of challenges,
humanitarians are saving lives and protecting people,” said
He said about 7
million people, more than one in two across the country, will
need humanitarian assistance in 2018 due to compounding effects
of widespread violence and insecurity and a deteriorating
Lowcock, who also
met with relief agencies whose staff and operations have been
affected by insecurity and paid tribute to the bravery of aid
workers across the country, said the humanitarian workers need
rapid, safe, unhindered access to all people in need.
“Aid agencies are
subject to harassment, extortion, looting, kidnappings,
killings, predatory fees and levies and other blockages across
the country—perpetrated by all parties to the conflict,” he
He described South
Sudan as “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a
humanitarian worker as crimes are being committed against aid
workers, with apparent impunity.
“There needs to be
accountability, and the Government - because it is the
Government, and this is a responsibility of Governments
everywhere—has the prime responsibility for that,” Lowcock said.
The number of aid
workers killed in South Sudan since conflict broke out in
December 2013 reached 101 this month, according to the UN.
leader urges regional support amid peace deal pressure
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan President Salva Kiir on
Wednesday urged countries in the region to continue supporting
Juba amid pressure from the United States to reach peace
agreement with rebels.
“For those who are
not South Sudanese and they have interfered in our own affairs I
want them really to realize their role. There are people who
have helped us during the (liberation) war all our neighbors
here helped us to fight effectively and I would like them also
not to forget what they did to us, now if they get involved in a
sinister way we would not be happy with them,” Kiir said on
State radio in Juba to mark the army day of liberation.
South Sudan marks
May 16, since it was the day when the Sudan People’s Liberation
Army (SPLA) led by the late founder John Garang Demabior
launched the struggle for liberation against the Sudanese
government in 1983 in the northern Bor town of Jonglei.
Kiir called upon the
rebel groups to lay down arms and negotiate with his government.
“We are now having
our own people (rebels) who are fighting us. I am calling them
to put the guns down and they come to the table to talk. Let us
bring peace back to our country we will not bring it back by
arms because it will take us long,” he said.
The U.S. and Britain
recently expressed frustrations with the warring parties over
continued delays on reaching peace agreement to end the more
than four years conflict, and the U.S. also criticized South
Sudan President for appointing General Gabriel Jok Riak who is
indicted by the UN to head the SPLA.
The warring parties
are set to discuss at the third round of peace talks on Thursday
in the Ethiopian capital where they will be expected to reach
“It is not easy to
come to Juba by force of arms, even if you manage to come and
kick out the current government that is now in Juba. The
government also has its own supporters who are lying around,
they may go back to these bushes that you (rebels) are using to
come back and fight you,” Kiir said.
He also said the
ongoing economic difficulty in the oil dependent country will be
solved when peace is achieved with rebels, adding that it will
be boosted by ongoing exploration for new oil wells amid
international appreciation of oil price.
“It’s the war which
has now brought this situation but we are hopeful that if the
war stops the economy will improve. The oil production will
increase because we are now working on how to discover new wells
and to increase the oil production,” he said.
South Sudan relies
98 percent on oil to finance its fiscal budget but outbreak of
conflict in December 2013 caused oil production to decline from
350,000 barrels per day to 160,000 bpd.
President Kiir said
many people died when they were pursuing the right cause of
“I want to thank our
martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation they did not
enjoy. Let us work hard so that their sacrifices do not go in
vain,” Kiir said.
South Sudan peace
monitors call for sobriety ahead of peace talks
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan peace monitors on Monday
called on warring parties to the conflict not to squander any
opportunity during the next round of peace talks slated for
Thursday in Ethiopia.
Festus Mogae, the
chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC),
said the leaders of the world’s youngest nation have missed so
many opportunities to end the more than four years’ conflict and
achieve a durable peace.
“This is the time
for all parties at the forum to put the interest of the country
first and make compromises necessary to achieve resolution of
all the outstanding issues,” Mogae said after he announced the
postponement of 21st JMEC plenary meeting in Juba.
He reiterated the
urgent need to revisit the range of practical measures that can
be applied on peace saboteurs and make it clear to all concerned
that the world will not tolerate any further disruption of
efforts to deliver peace.
“I want to appeal
directly to the authorities here in Juba and to all the
opposition groups that you are all South Sudanese, and I urge
you all to accommodate one another, to end this senseless
violence,” said the former Botswana president.
He expressed his
disappointment over the violation of a cessation of hostilities
agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa, seen as the desired
impact of halting the violence.
“I continue to urge
the parties to adhere to the CoHA (ceasefire). The parties must
refrain from all acts of violence, cease hostilities and take
immediate steps to investigate and punish those responsible
within their ranks,” Mogae stressed.
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) led High-Level
Revitalization Peace Forum (HLRF) is scheduled to resume on
conflict has now entered its fifth year. The conflict erupted in
2013 after forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former
deputy Riek Machar engaged in combat.
The 2015 peace
agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016
when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital, Juba,
forcing Machar to flee into exile.
Millions of South
Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries
as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international
players to end it.
launches consultations on truth and reconciliation
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
South Sudan on Tuesday launched the country-wide
consultations on the establishment of the Commission on Truth,
Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) as part of the 2015 peace
The Ministry of
Justice and Constitutional Affairs has formed a technical
committee that will leave Juba for 13 major towns across the
country to hear and document public views on issues relating to
the legislation for the creation of the Commission.
“We are launching
the second phase of our work by consulting the masses. We have
sensitized them earlier and this time we are going to collect
their views on what we have sensitized them about through a
questionnaire,” Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice Hon
James Mayen Oka said in a statement.
He disclosed that
they are very late in undertaking this process, but remain very
appreciative to partners in United Nation’s Development Program
(UNDP) and UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for their
consultations will be in two phases, the first phase from May 14
to 18 and the second phase from May 25 to June 1 in the target
locations of Bor, Torit, Yambio, Rumbek, Wau, Malakal, Leer,
Renk, Bentiu, Aweil, Mundri, Yei and Kuajok.
with technical support from UNDP and ICTJ, is composed of 21
questions to be anonymously answered by randomly selected
respondents about their views for design and setting up of the
during the consultations will form the basis for drafting the
CTRH legislation that will be approved by the Transitional
Government of National Unity (TGoNU).