PRESSURE, Mounts as November deadline looms
By Charles Lotara/Agencies
Global representatives to the United Nations are piling pressure on South Sudanese political leaders to fasten discussions on outstanding matters ahead of the November 12th deadline.
Speaking at the on-going 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General said the peace process remains precarious though progress is being made.
David Shearer, the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan emphasized that the peace process depends on sustained goodwill between both parties, unrelenting focus by international partners, including IGAD and the African Union.
United States special representative to the UN Kelly Craft said political elites have always dominated the discussions and addressed their interests at the expense of the South Sudanese people.
“One year ago, South Sudan’s leaders signed a peace agreement which has helped local reconciliation efforts gain traction. Unfortunately, the peace process has focused too much on political elites and too little on people’s suffering,” said Craft in a press statement, a copy of which Juba Monitor obtained.
Craft added that there is still time for the parties to move closer to peace before November’s political deadline urging them to formally establish a hybrid court with the assistance of the African Union.
Underscoring the need to abide by quotas for women as noted in the agreement, Anne Gueguen, the French special representative to the UN called on women to take part in their national affairs, emphasizing the dire humanitarian situation in the country.
“Women must be encouraged to participate in the affairs of their country. The humanitarian situation in South Sudan is alarming,” she said.
Gueguen called on the both the government to address communal violence, food scarcity and protect humanitarian workers and medical staff. This, she said, is an obligation on which the international community cannot compromise.
Jonathan Allen, a United Kingdom special envoy to the UN applauded efforts being exerted toward the success of the peace process.
Allen urged government and opposition to regard the meeting between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar as one of the stepping stones to the genuine peace dialogue.
The UK representative drew skepticism on the return of the internally displaced persons and refugees saying conditions are not yet conducive.
He said all parties must play their part to create a safe environment, noting that accountability will be essential in that regard.
Vassily Nebenzia of the Russian Federation called on non-signatories to join the peace process. Nebenzia said peace progress in South Sudan was assisted not by sanctions or arms embargo, but rather, by the contributions of regional actors.
Marc Buytswerve, a Belgian representative to the UN said trust between political leaders is essential for the peace process to succeed, adding that all parties must take part.
“All parties must move forward rapidly on security arrangements, the status of Juba, finalizing the internal boundaries and the full release of implementation funds,” Buytswerve said.
The Belgian official said the involvement and follow-up by regional actors is indispensable to the Agreement’s implementation.
Noting the prevalence of sexual violence and other rights violation, Buytswerve said all parties must extend the rule of law and invest funds in establishing essential services.