Cover Story

VIOLATORS – Troika threaten with punitive consequences

Mr. Brian Shukan (C), Director, Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, U.S. Department of State;  Mr. Christopher Trott (L), UK Special Envoy to Sudan and S. Sudan; and Mr. Erling Skjonsberg (R) Norwegian Special Envoy to Sudan and S. Sudan (photo by Jale Richard):

By Jake Richard in Addis Ababa

Members of the Troika countries have said South Sudanese warring parties who violate their commitments for peace by continuing to fight should face consequences for their actions.

This comes immediately after the South Sudan peace talks were adjourned by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Wednesday after a week of talks. The South Sudan warring parties and stakeholders concluded the peace talks with recommitment to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement they signed in December last year. However, some of the parties left Addis Ababa unsatisfied with the new IGAD proposal on power sharing and security arrangement.

The Special Envoys of the Troika to South Sudan (United States, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway) in a press conference on Wednesday said for peace to be achieved in South Sudan, the fighting must stop and the violators of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement be punished.

“We can only achieve sustainable peace in South Sudan if the conflict stops. Not next month, not week, not tomorrow, the conflict needs to stop today,” the Special Envoy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Sudan and South Sudan, Mr. Christopher Trott said.

“I am pleased to see that the parties have recommitted to the Cessation of Hostilities but commitment on paper is not the same as stopping the guns on the grounds,” he added.

He added that what they wanted was to see consequences for those who violate the commitments they have made in order for the people of South Sudan to hold them accountable for their actions.

If they are punished, Chris said it will lead to increasing confidence between the parties that should make compromise easier. “If we can generate political will, there will be progress,” he said.

Trott added that they were looking forward to the next Council of Ministers of IGAD with the hope that IGAD was prepared to hold violators of the cessation of hostilities agreement accountable.

The US Director, Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Mr. Brian Shukan said the Troika will continue to support the people of South Sudan to end “this terrible conflict that has resulted to one of the most severe humanitarian disaster including millions who have been displaced and facing life threatening hunger.”

Mr. Shukan added that the United States government is committed to working with the region to support peace and stability in South Sudan.

He said they recognized the recommitment of the parties to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, what mattered was the implementation.

“The Cessation of Hostilities must be respected by the parties and must be enforced,” Mr. Shukan said.

He added that ceasefire monitoring body CTSAMM has reported 19 violations of the agreement since December. “It is time to enforce the agreement and hold the violators accountable,” he stated.

The US Envoy said they were deeply concerned by the renewed fighting in South Unity where government related forces allegedly targeted civilians for sexual and gender based violence including 66 women and girls who have been raped since April 21st.

“The parties particularly the government cannot hope to reach peace and narrow the trust deficit without first silencing the guns and protecting the civilian population of South Sudan,” Mr. Shukun added.

The Special Envoy of Norway to Sudan and South Sudan, Mr. Erling Skjonsberg said they listened to the deliberations at the peace talks and saw some progress especially in building of trust and confidence between the parties facilitated by the Church.

He said they welcomed the recommitment to Cessation of Hostilities Agreement but regretted its continued violations by the parties.

“We believe that unless the violence stops and the perpetrators are held accountable according to this agreement, durable peace will not come to South Sudan,” Mr. Skjonsberg said adding that the violence on the ground undermined the prospects for peace and impeded the humanitarian assistance.

He called upon the parties to be flexible when they enter the final rounds of the talks in order to reach compromises.







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