ENVOYS-Press  parties to ease tensions

By James Atem Kuir

Heads of international and regional bodies in the peace process yesterday called on parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement to resolve the political standoff that had heightened tensions in recent days and address their concerns through dialogue.

Fears mounted beginning last week after the main opposition groupSPLM/A-IOwithdrew from peace mechanisms citing ceasefire violations in Unity and Upper Nile states by elements of the SSPDF.

Tensions further heightened on Sunday after heavy deployment of forces was witnessed in parts of Juba city including around the residence of FVP and leader of the SPLM/A-IO Dr. Riek Machar, which President Salva Kiir Mayardit defended on Monday as the normal and routine deployment of forces to maintain peace.

In a joint statement on Thursday, April 1, 2022, the delegation made up of heads of UNMISS, African Union, IGAD, and peace monitoring body, R-JMEC, urged the Presidency comprising of President Kiir, First Vice President Dr Machar and the four vice presidents to recommit to full implementation of the 2018 pact.

The delegation includes Nicolas Haysom, Chief of UNMISS, Amb. Joram Biswaro, head of AU mission, Ismail Wais, IGAD’s envoy, and General Charles Tai Gituai (rtd), Interim Chair of RJMEC.

“The delegation encouraged the reaffirmation by both the President and the First Vice President that they would not return the country to war, urging them to de-escalate the heightened political tensions, dialogue amongst themselves to address any concerns, and return to full implementation of the agreement”.

“In the meeting with the President, the delegation acknowledged his intervention through the news conference of Monday 28 March 2022, which helped reduce the anxieties in Juba and across the country,”read in part the statement by the envoys.

The group told the leaders of the peace parties to fulfill their commitments and recommit to the full implementation of the text of the agreement.  The statement also urged SPLM/A-IO to reconsider its withdrawal from R-JMEC and other mechanisms and seek solutions through dialogue in order for peace implementation to progress.

“It encouraged the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO)to rescind its suspension of participation in the agreement institutions and mechanisms, including RJMEC and CTSAMVM. Furthermore, it also underscored the seriousness of the surge in inter-communal violence, which serves to undermine the security throughout the country,” the statement said.

The group also tasked the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to expedite the implementation of pending tasks including the drafting of permanent constitution text and graduation of forces among others as the transitional period come to an end next year.

“With only 11 months of the Transitional Period remaining, the delegation highlighted the pending tasks of the agreement, such as the unification of forces, the constitution-making process, and preparations for elections, and urged the transitional government to develop a roadmap to set out how to complete what needs to be implemented before the end of the transitional period,” the statement added.

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