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Increased oil output could ease implement-
ation of South Sudan’s peace deal: experts

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s increased oil output, if used effectively, could spur economic recovery and ease implementation of the recently signed peace deal, experts said on Thursday.

The experts said the South Sudan’s plan to raise oil production would help bring in much-needed funds to revive the country’s shattered economy and run the activities of the expanded power-sharing government.

Marial Awou Yol, head of the College of Social and Economic Studies at the University of Juba, said if the war-torn country can resume oil production in full speed, it can help relieve the cash shortage burden on the government and in turn stabilize the economy.

“Our economy is thirsty of resources, we can’t import food now. We can’t supply foreign reserves. We need production of oil to go as far as 350,000 (barrels per day). If we do that, we can be able to rejuvenate the economy and we will have enough resources to implement peace,” the senior economist told Xinhua in Juba.

Leaders of South Sudan’s warring parties on last week signed a “final” power-sharing deal in Ethiopia, aimed at ending a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 4 million both internally and externally since 2013.

In the deal, the peace partners are expected to form a new transitional unity government in the next eight months.

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), according to the World Bank.

But after the young nation descended into civil war in late 2013, oil production declined amid soaring inflation and economic crunch.

The East African nation recently reopened oilfields that were suspended during the war and it hopes to reach its previous daily output of 350,000 barrels in 2019, petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth announced recently.

Political analyst James Okuk said oil money is key for setting up and sustaining the new unity government because most foreign donors are still hesitant to support the latest agreement after a similar one was shattered in July 2016.

Okuk said though there are provisions for economic and institutional reforms in the peace agreement, the parties must this time show absolute commitment to implement the deal and stem out corruption in the power-sharing government.

“It (oil) will benefit the country and sustain the peace agreement because it was war that drained our resources and forced us into crisis,” Okuk said. “If this agreement is implemented in letter and spirit, it can fight corruption in the country.”

Yol also agrees that corruption is a major issue that must be addressed during the three-year tenure of the power-sharing government.

“In the short history we have been a nation, we have been a corrupt nation and if we don’t stem corruption out, it is not going to let us develop,” Yol said.

“We should reform the institutions of the economy as well as the institutions of the government. This will encourage foreign investment in our country which we need most,” he added.



South Sudan faces challenges to implement
new peace deal: UN peacekeeping chief

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said Tuesday that South Sudanese parties face daunting challenges in implementing a new peace agreement.

The deal signed on Wednesday by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar is an important milestone as it provides a roadmap for peace through reform, political transformation, security, socio-economic development, and national reconciliation, Lacroix told the Security Council in a briefing.

“Indeed, all the ingredients for success are present. However, there are legitimate questions and concerns about the commitment of the parties, and many practical aspects related to the implementation of the agreement still require clarification,” he cautioned.

The onus of ensuring implementation of the agreement will be on the parties, he said. It will be crucial for the parties to build trust and muster the political will to work together to ensure a more protective environment that will allow all South Sudanese stakeholders to meaningfully engage in the full implementation of the agreement, said Lacroix.

“A full and immediate cessation of hostilities is an imperative first step.”

However, he said that there have been reports of fighting in parts of the country within days of the signing of the agreement.

“We remain concerned about the potential for further clashes where government and opposition forces are in close proximity,” he said.

The fighting has worsened the already dire humanitarian and human rights situation in the country, said the UN peacekeeping chief.

Extreme violence, including conflict-related sexual violence, and threats and harassment experienced by civilians continue to be a hallmark of the five-year-old conflict, he said.

“Despite the concerns, the need for peace in South Sudan is so urgent that we must seize this opportunity and work together to make the agreement a basis for lasting peace,” said Lacroix.

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. Some 1.8 million people are displaced within South Sudan, 2.5 million others have fled to neighboring countries.


South Sudan President Salva Kiir invites rebel chiefs to Juba as gesture of peace

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has invited all opposition leaders who rebelled against him to come to Juba to witness his commitment to the recently signed peace deal.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei said on Tuesday that the president’s move is aimed at building trust and confidence among the several foes.

Makuei said Kiir would provide protection to the rebels during their stay in Juba.

“He (Kiir) invited him (Machar) and other colleagues as a matter of trust and confidence building. He invited them to come and spend two to three days here in Juba under his protection so that they see for themselves and they go back,” Makuei told reporters after an extraordinary cabinet meeting in Juba.

Parties to South Sudan’s five-year old conflict last week signed a power-sharing deal in neighboring Ethiopia aimed at ending a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 4 million internally and externally since 2013.

The South Sudanese government also announced that Kiir and his mediation team will visit Sudan on Friday to celebrate the signing of the pact with their opposition counterparts.

It, however, remains unclear whether the opposition chiefs will honor Kiir’s invitation as none has so far responded to the call.


South Sudan leader in phone talks with rebel leader over renewed clashes

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Monday called on rebel leader Riek Machar to discuss the latest reports of fighting in Yei days after the warring parties signed a revitalized peace deal to end the five-year strife in the east African nation.

Kiir told the crowds of mourners that he telephoned rebel leader early Monday to discuss reports of fighting in parts of Yei River State that has been ongoing for the last three days.

“I called him and ask him why he is still fighting the government forces when we have signed the agreement. So I told him what is this? Is it the acquisition of more territories, or what,” Kiir said.

Kiir who was speaking in Juba during a memorial ceremony organized to honor the 20 victims of last week’s Yirol plane crash said he asked the opposition leader Machar to order his forces to cease attacking government troops for the sake of peace.

“I do not want us to go back to war again. So you talk to your field commanders in the field so that they don’t attack us again.” Kiir told congregation of mourners.

The president said the recently signed revitalized peace agreement marked the end of five years of civil war in the oil-rich country.

“I want to assure the citizens that the agreement we have just signed has ended the war. Your suffering provided the primary motivation for this government to pursue peace by all means necessary,” Kiir added.

The latest clashes in which a Nepalese peacekeeper was attacked comes less than a week after the parties to South Sudan’s five-year old conflict signed a peace deal in neighboring Ethiopia on Sept. 13.

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.


UNHCR urges South Sudan’s parties to fully implement peace deal

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency on Monday called on South Sudan’s warring parties to the conflict to fully implement the revitalized peace agreement which was signed in Ethiopia last week.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement issued in Juba that the signing of the landmark peace deal is a critical milestone towards permanent ceasefire and lasting peace for millions of war-ravaged South Sudanese.

The peace process must include the voices of refugees and those displaced inside of South Sudan to bring an end to years of senseless suffering, said Arnauld Akodjenou, UNHCR special adviser on the South Sudan situation.

Leaders of South Sudan’s warring parties on Sept. 13 signed a final power-sharing deal in Ethiopia, aimed at ending a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 4 million both internally and externally since 2013.

In the deal, the peace partners are expected to form a new transitional unity government in the next eight months.

The UN agency called on all parties to the conflict to uphold the deal for South Sudan to maintain a sustainable and permanent peace.

“UNHCR stands ready to support all parties who genuinely strive to achieve an inclusive peace process, which includes a provision in the signed accord requiring the agreement be disseminated to the 2.5 million South Sudanese living in exile across six countries,” it said.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.


Fresh fighting has broken out again in South
Sudan after signing most recent Peace Deal



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