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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir grants
a 'full amnesty' to rebel leader Riek Machar

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Wednesday night granted amnesty to rebel leader Riek Machar, a few days after warring parties signed a power-sharing deal in Sudan.

In a republican order aired on state-owned radio in Juba, Kiir said the pardon which came after nearly five years of conflict will take immediate effect.

Kiir also said the amnesty applies to all the other estranged groups that waged war against the country since the conflict broke out in mid December 2013, till the time the security and power-sharing deal was signed in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Sunday.

"Republican order number 14 for the year 2018 for the grant of general amnesty to the leader of SPLM-IO Riek Machar Teny and other estranged groups who waged war against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan from 2013 to date," Kiir said in his order.

Kiir reiterated his full commitment to the peace agreement which was signed in Khartoum including the cease-fire and its implementation. He also instructed the army to remain vigilant in their bases and only fight in self-defense.

The South Sudanese leader called on the army and all other organized forces to allow access to humanitarian relief convoy without hindrance.

The latest move by President Kiir came after the regional mediating body, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development lifted Machar’s house arrest in South Africa in June in order to negotiate with Kiir to end the conflict.

President Kiir was strongly opposed to participation of the rebel leader in the transitional period but yielded to regional pressure to appoint Machar as First Vice-President.

He also pledged to incorporate warring factions into the government after he met with Machar and an alliance of opposition leaders.

The deal that was inked in Sudan will lead to the formation of a unity government which will run for three years in South Sudan.

The Khartoum agreement was signed collectively by the two leaders as well as all political parties in South Sudan, signaling their desire to end the conflict that has caused a lot of suffering and displacement of people.

South Sudan’s 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 violated in July 2016 when 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.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

East African bloc meets in Khartoum to boost peace process in South Sudan

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The East African trade bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Thursday kicked off an extraordinary ministerial session in Sudan’s capital Khartoum to boost the peace process in South Sudan.

In his address at the opening of the 64th extraordinary session of the the Council of Ministers of IGAD, Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed said the meeting aims to give a new spirit to the negotiations over South Sudan and set out a timetable for the implementation of the peace deal signed by the conflicting parties in Khartoum on Aug. 5.
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"With this new spirit, we are very hopeful that the region will all come together until peace is finally arriving in South Sudan," he noted.

Hirut Zemene, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the signing of the deal over power-sharing and security arrangements by South Sudanese rivals reflects the ability of the African countries to resolve their issues within the African framework.

She commended Sudan’s role in reaching the peace deal, expressing hope that the agreement would bring lasting peace to the new-born state.

Meanwhile, British Minister of State for Africa Harriett Baldwin said the signing of the Khartoum agreement on the outstanding issues of power-sharing in South Sudan represents an important step in the peace process in the country.

"Over the significant challenges ahead of us, we can build on the progress in Khartoum to work toward a brighter South Sudan of peace, prosperity and democracy," said Baldwin, who is also the representative of Sweden, Norway and the United States to the meeting.

  Council of Ministers of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Khartoum, Sudan | Coastweek

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Meeting of the 64th extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Khartoum, Sudan. The East African trade bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Thursday kicked off an extraordinary ministerial session in Sudan’s capital Khartoum to boost the peace process in South Sudan. XINHUA PHOTO - MOHAMED KHIDIR


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On Aug. 5, South Sudan’s conflicting parties signed a final peace deal in Khartoum on power-sharing and security arrangements.

The deal was signed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, major opposition leader Riek Machar and representatives of other South Sudanese opposition factions.

It stipulates that Kiir will continue his post as President during the transitional period, while Machar will be the first Vice President among the four vice presidents from different political parties.

Under the agreement, the transitional cabinet would be composed of 35 ministers, including 20 ministers from the government, and nine from Machar-led Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The deal stipulates a transitional national legislative body would be composed of 550 members, with 332 from the government, and 128 from the SPLM-IO.

South Sudan has been witnessing a civil war since December 2013, which has left about 10,000 dead and millions of others displaced.
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United Nations Security Council concerned about food insecurity in South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday expressed "grave concern" about the level of food insecurity in South Sudan, said British ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce, whose country holds the council presidency for the month of August.

The members of the council noted that the ongoing conflict is one of the main direct causes of the food security crisis in the country, Pierce told reporters after chairing closed-door Security Council consultations on South Sudan and Yemen.

The council members demanded all parties to the conflict in South Sudan allow safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need, she said.

The council members welcomed the region’s role in reaching agreement on outstanding governance and security issues in the peace process, but noted that considerable challenges remain on the path to peace, stability and security, including the need for detailed plans for implementation.

They asked the parties to conflict to immediately implement cessation of hostilities and cease-fire agreements to demonstrate their commitment to a revitalized comprehensive peace agreement, said the British ambassador.

Dutch deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Lise Gregoire-van Haaren, whose country, together with some other council members, requested the consultations on South Sudan, said the situation in the African country is between hope and despair.

On the one hand, there is a cease-fire agreement. But on the other hand, there is a dire situation on the ground with 60 percent of the population in food insecurity, she told reporters before the consultations.

Friday’s consultations were held in the context of a Security Council resolution on conflict and hunger that was adopted in May.

The Security Council heard briefings from UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, UN secretary-general’s special representative for Sudan and South Sudan Nicholas Haysom, and head of the UN mission in South Sudan David Shearer.
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United States, Britain and Norway say South Sudan peace deal "not sustainable"

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United States, Britain and Norway on Friday described the recently signed South Sudan peace deal in Khartoum as "not realistic or sustainable."

"Considerable challenges lie ahead, and we are concerned that the arrangements agreed to date are not realistic or sustainable," said the three countries in a joint statement Friday.

"Given their past leadership failures, South Sudanese leaders will need to behave differently and demonstrate commitment to peace and good governance," added the statement.

The three countries stressed that they now expect to see a change in the situation on the ground, beginning with a further significant reduction in violence, and all parties taking measures to allow full humanitarian access.

However, the three countries expressed support for the engagement of the region in the recent Khartoum-based negotiations on outstanding governance and security issues and acknowledged the role of Sudan in hosting these negotiations.

South Sudan’s conflicting parties, on Aug. 5, signed a final deal in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on power-sharing and security arrangements.

The deal was signed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, major opposition leader Riek Machar and representatives of other South Sudanese opposition factions.

It stipulates that Kiir will continue his post during the transitional period, while Machar will be the first vice president among the four vice presidents from different political parties.

Under the agreement, the transitional cabinet would be composed of 35 ministers, including 20 ministers from the government, and nine from Machar-led Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The deal stipulates a transitional national legislative body would be composed of 550 members, with 332 from the government, and 128 from the SPLM-IO.

South Sudan has been witnessing a civil war since December 2013, which has left about 10,000 dead and millions of others displaced.
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Ugandan president optimistic about return of South Sudan refugees

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday said the recent signing of the peace agreement between rival factions in South Sudan will ensure that peace prevails in the region and refugees return home.

"We hope that with the UN support in regards to food and basic essentials, the refuges could return home by January and take advantage of the rains that start in March in order to grow some food," Museveni said, according to a State House statement issued here.

Museveni said this during his one-day working visit to neighboring Tanzania where he met his counterpart John Magufuli.

Museveni said that the conflict in South Sudan has affected trade and retarded development.

Magufuli commended Museveni, who is one of the guarantors of the South Sudan peace process, for his efforts to bring peace to the East African country.

Uganda is host to over 1 million South Sudan refugees who have fled fighting back home since December 2013, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir fought with those of the then vice president Riek Machar.

The two leaders Kiir and Machar this week signed a peace agreement to end years of war and conflict.
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South Sudan Wildlife officials alarmed by raising elephant poaching

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Wildlife officials in South Sudan have expressed concerns over the rising cases of elephant poaching in the country’s game parks.

Thomas Sebit, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, told Xinhua on Wednesday that over 20 elephants are estimated to have been killed in the East African nation this year alone.

Sebit said airport authorities last Sunday seized 24 pieces of illegal elephant tusks destined for the capital of Juba from the eastern town of Pibor.

He added that conservationists have made seizures of at least 46 pieces of illegal ivory across South Sudan in the past four months alone, showing a drastic increase in ivory trafficking in the war-torn country

"This is real destruction. We must stop this killing of our animals," Sebit said.

The minister blamed the rise in poaching on armed groups operating in the country’s national parks.

"We need collective efforts to protect our animals because we are lucky that we still have wildlife after the long civil war. We protected them during the war and now again we are resorting to killing them," he said.

South Sudan has the world’s second largest animal migration and is considered a good place for ecotourism, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The East African country is also known for its vast swamp region of the Sudd, sometimes referred to as one of the largest wetlands in the world hosting about 400 species of birds.

However, the tourism industry made up only 1.8 percent of South Sudan’s GDP, WTTC said in 2013.
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South Sudan to resume oil production in oil damaged fields in September

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan announced on Friday that oil production will resume in the damaged oilfields of Unity in September following completion of repairs by a joint team of technicians from Juba and neighboring Sudan.

Lilly Albino, Deputy Government Spokesperson, told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting in Juba that preparations for resumption of oil production in the war-torn Unity region are complete and production would kick off on Sept.2.

The Unity oilfields were destroyed during the nearly five-year-old civil war that erupted in late 2013.

The East African nation said last month that it hopes to increase oil output from the current 130,000 to over 200,000 barrels per day in the coming months with reopening of the unity oilfields.

"Our engineers are in the field working around the clock to ensure that all the preparations are being done before first September. Once the production resume, we shall be producing at full capacity," Albino told reporters.

"This will increase revenue to the government and also lead to economic stability," Albino added.

In June, Juba and Khartoum agreed to jointly repair oil infrastructure damaged during South Sudan’s ongoing civil war and allow resumption of production in the next three months.

The Khartoum Declaration also said the two countries would deploy a joint security force to protect oil facilities from further attacks.

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with oil accounting for almost the totality of exports, and around 60 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

But after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production declined from 350,000 barrels in 2011 to less than 130,000 barrels per day in 2014 amid soaring inflation.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands and created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
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SEE ALSO:

South Sudan renews commitment to restoring permanent ceasefire

South Sudan to boost electricity as 100MW plant nears completion

South Sudan regrets ‘outrageous’ U.S. statement on president Kiir

             

 

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