UNIFIED-Forces to graduate with sticks–Kiir

By James Atem Kuir

President Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday said that soldiers undergoing training across the country will be graduated with sticks as the UN arms embargo prevent the government from acquiring weapons for the forces.

The Head of State made the remark while addressing the Fifth Governors’ Forum that ended in Juba.

The Forum was attended by all governors and chief administrators, first to be held since 2014, commenced on November 22 to discuss the role of states and administrative areas in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

The President said the unification of forces which was a key provision in Chapter II of the 2018peace agreement, had been stalled due to triple challenges of lack of funds, disagreement over the formation of unified army command and the 2018 arms embargo adopted against South Sudan by the United Nations Security Council.

As part of the security arrangements stipulated in Chapter II, parties to the peace agreement were supposed to train and unify their forces into one national army but soldiers sent to the training centers had remained there since 2019.

President Kiir said due to the sanction, the government could not buy weapons to arm and graduate troops waiting deployment in the training centers.

“We have repeatedly informed the UN system about the negative impac tthis has on the implementation of Chapter Two of the agreement and all we have received in return are more conditions that do not recognize progress achieved so far… we will have no option other than to graduate these forces with sticks,” he said.

The UN Security Council which has renewed the arms embargo several times, has preconditioned the lifting of the ban on sale of arms to the country, on full implementation of security arrangement, incorporation of the 2018 agreement in the transitional constitution and completing the permanent constitution making.

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