July 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–At today’s IGAD Secretariat Extraordinary Summit, the Troika of Norway , the United States of America and the United Kingdom made the following statement.
“Your Excellency Mr Chairman, Heads of States, Ministers, Excellencies, and colleagues—I wish everyone good health in these difficult times.
First let me thank IGAD for convening this Assembly and giving the Troika the opportunity to speak today. It is a much used phrase but the Assembly comes at a critical time for South Sudan. We are seeing growing levels of violence across South Sudan. 6.5 million South Sudanese already face acute food insecurity, many of those in areas impacted by the recent floods and locust swarms. Covid has added an extra layer of complexity to what was already challenging situation.
The Troika (the United States, Kingdom of Norway, and the United Kingdom) commends the Parties to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), for recent progress including the appointment of State governors. We look forward to the swift appointment of the remaining positions in Jonglei and Upper Nile states and the establishment of functioning governance structures in all states.
We also welcome the appointment of one female governor, although we note with disappointment that the agreement’s commitment to appoint a minimum of 35% women has not been met. This is despite the fact that women and girls are heavily impacted by gender based violence in areas of conflict, and remain among the most marginalised populations in the country.
The Troika remains deeply concerned with the lack of progress in other areas and calls upon the parties to further accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement. The Troika looks forward to the formation of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the completion of security sector reform.
The recent rising violence across the country, particularly in Jonglei but also in Warrap and Lakes states, has left at least 60,000 people displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance. This presents a fundamental challenge to the continued credibility of the ceasefire and the peace agreement.
The Summit must encourage the Transitional Government to act quickly with all parties working together to stem the violence, in line with its responsibility to protect the population and its role in enabling humanitarian access. If we do not see action now then we may face the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in the most affected areas. We commend the role of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in protecting vulnerable groups.
The Troika stresses the vital role IGAD plays in efforts to achieve durable peace in South Sudan and urges the Leaders today to support and encourage the implementation of the R-ARCSS. The UK Minister for Africa, Mr Duddridge, reinforced this support and the need for much faster implementation of the agreement in an excellent call with Ambassador Wais yesterday. Thank you Ambassador.
The Troika furthermore calls on IGAD to finalise the appointment of a permanent R-Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chair. An empowered Chair is critical to support delivery of the agreement, and to work with the region to ensure accountability for its full implementation by the parties.
Last week saw the nine-year anniversary of independence; President Kiir took this opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to peace, and to working in unity with First Vice President Machar. The Troika welcome this, and we remain committed to working with you all to support peace in South Sudan.