Church leader pleads with UK to halt planned budget cuts to S. Sudan

The Archbishop of Wales has joined forces with Christian Aid to call on the UK government to halt proposed aid cuts to South Sudan. It’s been reported that cuts could be as much as 59 percent of the existing budget currently allocated for the country.

Under the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification process, some regions of the country have been categorised as ‘Famine Likely.’

Archbishop John Davies, who will retire in May, said in a statement: “I strongly urge the UK government to stop these and other international aid cuts. They will do untold damage to the poorest communities in our world. In South Sudan in particular, these cuts risk tipping the country into a deep crisis.”
The Church in Wales’ Centenary Appeal is supporting a Christian Aid project to restore peace in South Sudan.

“Through our Centenary Appeal, we in Wales stand with our brothers and sisters in South Sudan. I urge the UK government to do the same. I understand the need for fiscal responsibility, but these are the wrong cuts, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. Be it carelessly or deliberately, these cuts will harm vulnerable people. We must not balance the books on the backs of the poorest in our world. In the name of all that is good, Prime Minister, please stop these cuts,” he added.

Cynan Llwyd, acting head of Christian Aid in Wales, said: “South Sudan is in a particularly fragile state. Food security has worsened due to a number of reasons like flooding, displacement and a long running conflict. Christian Aid’s partners are working hard on the ground to help but it is a desperate situation.

“Through its Centenary Appeal, the Church in Wales is supporting one of our partners in its efforts to build and maintain peace. Conflict makes poverty much worse and threatens any gains made through development work. Christian Aid will continue to work with its partners in South Sudan but the aid cuts will make our work much harder.”

Aid agencies plead with UK to cancel budget cuts for South Sudan

Over 85 international and national NGOs have signed a petition calling on the UK government to reconsider its decision to cut 59% of South Sudan’s life-saving humanitarian aid.

“International and National Non-governmental Organizations working in South Sudan call on the UK Government to reconsider urgently the reported 59% budget cuts to vital international aid,” the group said in joint statement seen by Thessherald.

Noting that, “South Sudan is at a pivotal point, based on the recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification of “Famine Likely” and “Catastrophic” food insecurity at a number of locations across the country, with over 60% of the population projected to face crisis or worse levels of food insecurity.”

“Humanitarian assistance is one of the only factors keeping thousands of people from succumbing to the worst outcomes: malnutrition and death.
Severe humanitarian needs across the country have significantly worsened due to a combination of flooding, displacement, and protracted sub-national violence.”

The sustained support of the international community is critical. As humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding organisations working to support the people of South Sudan coming out of a painful civil war, we call on the UK Government to ensure South Sudan remains a funding priority.
The UK has long played an important role in bolstering South Sudan’s progress with humanitarian support.

The aid agencies warned that the projected budget cuts for South Sudan will certainly cost lives and put millions on the brink of starvation.

“There is no doubt that the anticipated cuts will cost lives, and undermine significant, long-term progress made with UK funding to date – from saving lives with access to food and safe water, to reducing violence through support for locally-led peacebuilding, and interventions to reduce gender-based violence.”

“It is vital that the UK continues to invest in both humanitarian response and longer-term action that builds resilience and integrates Disaster Risk Reduction in the country. There needs to be continued support for conflict prevention and peacebuilding – as an end in itself but also, as UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs Nick Dyer has rightly pointed out, because conflict remains closely linked with food insecurity. After years of engagement and investment, for the UK to step back now would constitute a crushing blow to the people of South Sudan.”

Troika calls for credible & fair post-transitional elections in South Sudan

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar | Photo: File

The Troika countries, namely the United States, the United Kingdom and Norway issued a press release on Monday during the commemoration of the First Anniversary of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

“Today (February 22), marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU). This was a major step toward restoring peace in South Sudan. The Troika welcomes all efforts by the RTGoNU in implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), most notably the appointment of a unified Cabinet, Governors, and Deputy Governors in all states.”

The members of the Troika welcomed the recent resolution of the Council of Ministers that endorsed the formation of the African Union Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

“The Troika further welcomes the endorsement by the Council of Ministers on January 28 of a roadmap for implementing Chapter 5, including the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan; the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing; and the Compensation and Reparations Authority.”

“Much work remains and there is an urgent need to implement R-ARCSS in full. Progress made over the past year has been too slow and too limited. Critically important is the immediate formation of State Governments and the re-constitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and Council of States. Implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements and true security sector reform should commence immediately.”

“The Troika endorses and reiterates the call made by African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ambassadors to improve conditions in training centers and accelerate the graduation and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces. We will continue to work closely with IGAD and the regional guarantors to reach common objectives on the peace process and an agreed roadmap for implementation.”

“The Troika calls for the commencement of the permanent constitution-making process and the start of preparations for peaceful, credible, and inclusive post-transitional elections. There is an urgent need to continue implementation of reforms envisaged in Chapter 4 regarding transparency and accountability, including through the Public Financial Management Oversight Committee.”

The Troika voiced its concern over the ongoing intercommunal violence in different parts of the country.

“We welcome the appointment of three women as Deputy Governors but note with disappointment the failure to ensure 35 percent female representation as stipulated in R-ARCSS. While the national ceasefire has generally held, the level of violence across the country, including conflict caused by defections, is unacceptable.”

“We urge all parties to the Rome process to ensure adherence to the Cessation of Hostilities and pursue political dialogue. We are deeply concerned that violence is exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation, where 7.2 million people are facing severe levels of food insecurity and more people are in need of assistance than in any year since South Sudan’s independence. We call upon the Government to ensure immediate de-escalation of sub-national conflict and unhindered humanitarian access.”

“We acknowledge the challenges posed by COVID-19 for the implementation of the R-ARCSS and more generally. We welcome efforts by the Government to respond to a new wave of cases. The Troika will continue to work in partnership to respond to this crisis. We look forward to continuing working in close partnership with the RTGoNU to support the full implementation of the R-ARCSS.”

Family updates the public on Lagu’s health status after contracting Covid-19

South Sudan’s veteran politician and freedom fighter, Joseph Lagu contracts Covid-19

Dec 20, 2020 (Thessherald)–The family of South Sudan’s veteran politician and former Vice-President of Sudan Joseph Lagu gives an update on his health condition after contracting the Coronavirus in the UK.

“Lt. Gen Joseph Lagu (former Vice President of Sudan and Special Presidential Advisor in South Sudan) has been admitted to hospital for tests and has since tested positive for coronavirus. He was taken to a London hospital in the early hours of Thursday 17 December with unusual new symptoms. Joseph has a slight temperature, but he is breathing well and is currently stable,” the family said in a statement.

“His wife, Amna Lagu had previously tested positive for coronavirus. She was admitted to a London hospital a few hours before Joseph in the evening of Wednesday 16 December. Amna is poorly but stable and is being given the best care possible.”

“Have no doubt Joseph Lagu is a fighter. He is the father of a nation. Amna Lagu is a formidable matriarch and a survivor. Their situation is currently being closely monitored by their loving children.”

In a statement, the Joseph Lagu Foundation urges members of the public not to spread unnecessary rumors in this particular movement where the family needs support, comfort and words of encouragement.

“We ask you to please respect the family’s privacy at this time so that they can focus on Joseph and Amna’s wellbeing. We will keep you updated through this page.”

UK pledges £8m to mitigate effects of famine in S. Sudan

UK Minster for Africa James Duddridge at the State House on October 23, 2020 in Juba
President Salva Kiir receives UK Minster for Africa James Duddridge at the State House on October 23, 2020|Photo: PPU

October 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Kingdom has announced a pledge of £8 million as part of its commitment to build resilience and minimize the effects of famine in South Sudan.

This comes as the British diplomat, James Duddridge, visited South Sudan last week to see first-hand the civilian population severely affected by the reccuring floods in different parts of the country.

“Minister for Africa commits £8m to mitigate famine in South Sudan
James Duddridge’s visit to South Sudan shows how the UK is helping protect the vulnerable, prevent famine across Africa and act as a force for good in the world,” the British government announced.

Adding that, “The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, travelled to South Sudan this week (20 to 22 October) where he committed £8 million to help the victims of flooding, reduce extreme hunger and help mitigate the ongoing risk of famine in the country.”

According to Duddridge, thrhumanitarian assistance will go a long way towards supporting flood-hit communities and providing them with vital food and medicine.

“This support will help the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide food assistance, nutrition support, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene support.”

“This will help some of the most vulnerable in areas where nearly a million people have been affected by flooding and conflict, leaving them on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe. The announcement was made during a visit to Pibor and Bor to see first-hand how UK aid is providing vital assistance to people facing flooding, conflict and severe hunger.”

Speaking to the press after meeting the South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and other Vice Presidents, James Duddridge, UK Minister for Africa, Duddridge reaffirmed that, “the UK stands with the people of South Sudan and is helping save lives.”

“We will provide vital food and support to thousands of people on the brink of hunger, following devastating flooding and conflict.”

Duddridge underlined that restoring peace and stability is the only solution to addressing these challenges facing the country

“However, aid is not a long-term solution. The Government of South Sudan must commit more resources to ending conflict, bringing peace and stability and providing basic services including health and education to its people.”

For his part, WFP Country Director in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, commended the funding committed by the UK.

“Conflict, extreme flooding and increases in violence mean South Sudan is facing humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of households are skipping meals. This new UK funding to tackle food insecurity will help alleviate some of this suffering. However, other donors must urgently step up efforts, while the Government of South Sudan must continue to ensure access to those in need.”

Intl Heads of Mission express concern over heightened insecurity in Renk

October 23, 2020 (Thessherald)––The international community is deeply concerned over the ongoing attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers in Renk County, Upper Nile State.

In a joint press statement, “the Heads of Mission of the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and the European Union Delegation express deep concern regarding escalating tensions with the Renk Youth Association that has resulted in the suspension of life-saving assistance in Renk county.”

The international community called on the concerned authorities to de-escalate the tensions and allow humanitarian aid to reach the needy.

“The international community strongly condemns the actions that led to the burning down of a Medair warehouse in Renk, as reported on Thursday 22 October, which cannot be tolerated. This follows days of increased threats and intimidation against staff members.”

“The current circumstances are not conducive to the delivery of aid, which has already impacted the ability of thousands of the most vulnerable to access key services. Furthermore, this risks the large-scale economic opportunities that aid supports in Renk.”

The donor countries echoed and upheld the suspension of humanitarian services in the wake of the escalating violence against frontline workers in the area.

“As donors, we stand by the Statement of Principles and Actions (Humanitarian Donors Nov 2019) which underlines the importance of enabling humanitarians to operate safely and securely. We urge the R-TGONU to engage local community leaders and groups to work together and to continue dialogue, uphold law and order and achieve a swift and peaceful resolution.”

“As donors, we require the elimination of obstructions on humanitarian assistance, such as threats, intimidation and destructions of property and commodities. As these attacks against civilians, aid workers, facilities and supplies are ongoing, we uphold the right of our partners to suspend services and withdraw from local operations. We call on the Government at all levels to provide the conditions for access and safe delivery of aid across South Sudan.”

Since the past two days, an angry group of youths has been on the rampage, attacking non-resident aid workers in protest against employment discrimination.

UK issues ‘Alert’ on illicit flows of money from South Sudan

(Thessherald)–The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) on behalf of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued Amber Alert, warning of serious and organised economic crime, including corruption and related money laundering, amongst others, being committed in South Sudan.

“The purpose of the alert is to raise awareness and promote preventative action,” the statement said.

“We recommend you use this Alert to complement existing knowledge and support ongoing improvements to your business processes and procedures.”

Mr. Christopher Trott, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to South Sudan said that:
“The civil war in South Sudan has claimed the lives of over 380,000 since 2013. It has been characterised by terrible human rights abuses, including deliberate targeting of civilians, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and forced recruitment of child soldiers. Over 4 million people, a third of the population, have been displaced.

The UK government blames corruption and mismanagement of public resources on political and military leaders who continue to plunder illicit wealth while the population suffers.

“The conflict has been fuelled by corruption. Many political and military elites have used their positions to loot the country’s natural resources, including revenues from oil and gas, to enrich themselves and fund continued fighting; in some instances this has funded militias and arms purchases, despite the 2018 UN arms embargo. Corruption has not only prolonged the conflict but held back development. Over half the population require emergency food assistance and violence and humanitarian access restrictions mean that there is a risk of famine in some areas, a crisis exacerbated by recent, extraordinary flooding.”

“A revitalised peace agreement was signed in September 2018, which has reduced violence and offers a chance for peace. But the agreement is fragile. There are few incentives for the elites and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to change their behaviour and commit to long-term peace.”

The statement called on financial institutions to exercise caution when dealing with South Sudan’s political and military leaders to ensure that public resources are nit turned into individuals’ personal gain.

“We need the private sector to take a balanced approach of enhanced due diligence whilst ensuring a continued flow of licit funds and investment into South Sudan. This is particularly important not only for international organisations on whom the country and its economy depend, but also the families whose livelihoods depend on remittances and legitimate business.”

“Unless we as the public and private sector work together on such an approach, South Sudan will be trapped in a never-ending cycle of impunity, with its people being the ones that pay the price.”

Overview


The NCA is issuing this alert to companies based in the United Kingdom (UK) about the possibility that some South Sudanese senior foreign public officials (“Politically Exposed Persons” or “PEPs”) who may be engaged in corruption and human rights abuses in South Sudan, and those who enable such activities, may use the UK financial system to move or hide proceeds of corruption or purchase real estate and other assets in the UK. This is also to allow for the flow of licit funds linked to South Sudan through the UK financial system.”

Bribery and corruption undermine fair competition, public trust and are barriers to economic growth, especially in the developing world. Bribery and corruption foster a climate where illicit financial flows and other forms of lawlessness can thrive. Tackling international illicit financial flows is a top priority for the UK . Addressing these illicit financial flows is critical to protecting and promoting the UK’s role as a financial centre, and reducing the destabilising impact of illicit finance on the wider world, particularly developing countries while allowing for legitimate finance to be processed.

This report focuses on corrupt South Sudanese senior foreign political figures or PEPs who engage in human rights abuses or violations, and their financial enablers and considers the following:

Why is South Sudanese political corruption important to the UK?

Illicit finance flows and the UK’s reputation o What is the situation in South Sudan? o South Sudanese political corruption
How corrupt foreign PEPs and their enablers access the UK • Red Flags Related to Corrupt Foreign PEPs and their Enablers
Who can assist us?

What we would like you to do

The information is being shared by the NCA to help develop understanding of the threat posed by certain South Sudanese senior foreign public officials or PEPs, and their enablers who use the UK financial system to move or hide proceeds of corruption. The NCA would like UK companies, particularly financial institutions, real estate agencies, accountants, lawyers, notaries, and company and trust formation agents, boarding schools, and those involved in the sale of luxury goods to consider the information provided in this alert when undertaking their business activities in order to identify suspicious activity but also allow for legitimate transactions to take place.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a national law enforcement agency which leads the UK’s fight to cut serious and organised crime. The NCA Alerts process is the way in which we provide information to non-law enforcement bodies including the private sector to combat and disrupt serious crime.

Information Report / Illicit finance flows and the UK’s reputation.

The UK is one of the world’s leading international centres with a strong and open economy. The UK’s standing as a global financial centre, the ease of doing business, its openness to overseas investment, status as a major overseas investor and exporter all make it attractive for corrupt senior public officials (referred to as Politically Exposed Persons or “PEPs” ), and associated persons to transfer illicit finance and assets into and through the UK. The UK is committed to cracking down on the corrupt political elites who seek to hide the proceeds of corruption in the UK, and stemming the flow of illicit finance through the UK.

What is the situation in South Sudan?

The UK’s Department for International Development has highlighted that South Sudan is one of the world’s most fragile countries and has been beset by conflict since it was created in 2011.3 It is facing a severe and protracted humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by economic collapse. Weak government capacity exacerbated by a lack of commitment by the elite to their country’s development means that financial discipline is poor, with public spending rarely in line with the approved Budget4. The country’s main asset – oil –benefits few South Sudanese. Over half of the population requires emergency food assistance. Around a third of the population are displaced, including over 2 million refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.5

South Sudanese Political Corruption.

The revitalised peace agreement (R-ARCSS) signed in September 2018 has reduced levels of armed conflict and associated human rights violations/abuses. But where fighting has continued, all parties to conflict have continued to deliberately target and kill civilians, commit sexual violence, recruit children and forcibly displace communities with impunity. Certain South Sudanese PEPs, representing both the government and the opposition, are reported to have engaged in and profited from corrupt practices. The use of enablers is one way that corrupt PEPs access the UK and international financial system to move or hide illicit proceeds, evade financial

How Corrupt Foreign PEPs and their enablers access the UK.

To assist UK companies to insulate themselves from corruption and protect the UK from the illicit use by corrupt foreign PEPs, family members, associates and their enablers, this alert highlights a number of typologies used to access the UK to obscure and launder the illicit proceeds of high-level political corruption. For example, the typologies used by enablers of corrupt foreign PEPs may include abuse of regional banking facilities, the misappropriation of state assets, the exploitation of the real estate sector, or any combination of these typologies.
Abuse of regional banking facilities
The funds accumulated through the proceeds of South Sudanese corruption are moved to accounts outside of South Sudan, including through Kenya and Uganda, into the UK.

Misappropriation of State Assets and subsequent laundering

Foreign corrupt senior public officials, through their facilitators and enablers, may amass fortunes through the misappropriation of state assets and often exploit their own official positions to engage in money laundering, embezzlement of state funds, and other corrupt activities. Such senior foreign PEPs may exploit corporations, including financial institutions that wish to do business with the government, to redirect government resources for their own profit. For example, some senior public officials have used offshore leasing companies to sell a commodity such as oil, and have done so in a way that benefits them (e.g., through the use of shell companies misleadingly named to give the appearance of being related to the government) instead of the government as a whole. Grossly over-priced public procurement contracts (e.g. for food for the army and Government vehicles) have also been used to transfer funds out of the country . The funds may go through international channels to reach a bank account outside of South Sudan.

Corruption in the Real Estate Sector
The funds accumulated through the proceeds of South Sudanese corruption are moved to accounts outside of South Sudan. Once the funds are held in accounts in other countries, they are used to purchase real estate (among other things) in third countries.

Real estate transactions and the real estate market have certain characteristics that make them vulnerable to abuse by illicit actors, including corrupt senior public foreign officials or their facilitators and/or enablers. For example, many real estate transactions involve high-value assets, opaque entities, and processes that can limit transparency because of their complexity and diversity. In addition, the real estate market can be an attractive vehicle for laundering illicit gains because of the manner in which real estate appreciates in value, “cleans” large sums of money in a single transaction and shields illicit proceeds from market instability and exchange-rate fluctuations.

Red Flags Related to Corrupt Foreign PEPs and their Enablers .

The red flags, featuring in FATF guidance, noted below may help financial institutions and other firms identify suspected schemes that corrupt foreign PEPs and their enablers may use. In applying the red flags below, financial institutions are advised that no single transactional red flag necessarily indicates suspicious activity.

The use of third parties when it is not normal business practice. Use of third parties when it appears to shield the identity of a public official or corrupt foreign PEPs.

Use of family members, including young children, or close associates as legal owners or controllers.


Use of corporate vehicles (legal entities and legal arrangements) to obscure (i) ownership, (ii) involved industries, or (iii) countries.
Use of companies that have joint South Sudanese beneficial ownership and foreign beneficial ownership with interests in multiple government-controlled industries, including mining, oil, public sector procurements, and construction.

South Sudanese companies with business partners in overseas jurisdictions.

Development of joint ventures, including Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), with foreign companies.
Declarations of information from foreign PEPs that are inconsistent with other available information, such as publicly available asset declarations and published official salaries.

The PEP, family member, associate or enabler seeks to make use of a service that would not normally be targeted at foreign, high-value clients.

The PEP, family member, associate or enabler moves funds to and from countries that individual does not appear to be affiliated with.
The PEP, family member, associate or enabler has substantial authority over or access to state funds and assets, operations, and policies.
The PEP, family member, associate or enabler has ownership interest in or otherwise controls a foreign financial institution or corporation that is a counterparty or correspondent in a transaction, including outsourcing arrangements.

Transactions involving government contracts are directed to companies that operate in an unrelated line of business (e.g. payment for food import contract directed to textiles company).

Transactions involving government contracts that originate with, or are directed to, entities that are shell corporations, general “trading companies,” or companies that appear to lack a general business purpose.

Transactions involve overpayment for invoiced goods or where the goods themselves are clearly grossly over-priced.
Documents corroborating transactions involving government contracts (e.g.
invoices) that include charges that are significantly higher prices than market rates or that include overly simple documentation or lack traditional details (e.g. valuation for goods and services).

Payments involving government contracts that originate from third parties that are not official government entities (e.g. shell companies).
Transactions involving entities or assets expropriated or taken over by corrupt regimes, including individual senior foreign officials or their associates.

Transactions involve transfers of funds or assets between companies with same ultimate beneficial owners or controllers (related-party transaction).

Transactions involve movement of funds between accounts without apparent business rationale.

Evidence of multiple companies operating out of the same address.

Transactions involving public contracts that have been awarded to companies ultimately owned or controlled by individuals responsible for awarding contracts.

PEPs, influential public officials and military officers holding multiple private interests in addition to their public function.

Who can assist us?

The following companies can assist us in our work:
Financial institutions, including those that provide correspondent banking facilities
Real estate agencies and companies operating in the sale/purchase of real estate
Accountants, lawyers, notaries and company and trust formation agents Private schools Providers of luxury goods.

Ensuring genuine change and implementation of commitments in S. Sudan

Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, delivers a speech at the United Nations Security Council /Photo: File

(Thessherald)–Statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on South Sudan

(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)

Thank you, Mr President, and let me say how good it is to see you in the chair in what I think is your last month with us in this council, so it’s very nice to see you there. Let me also thank Special Representative Shearer for your briefing and all you’ve done. And I’d also like to thank Ms Sunday for your very insightful briefing and your continued efforts to seek justice and accountability for the women of South Sudan. It was an inspirational part, Ms Sunday of our recent visit to Juba to meet you and your fellow civil society activists. And I am pleased to hear from you that this council’s interest then has helped you locally to open that space.

Mr President, let me start with, like others, welcoming the very positive news: the decision of the South Sudanese parties to form the Transitional Government of National Unity. The people of South Sudan have long awaited this important step and the people of the United Kingdom join them in celebrating this important progress.

And let me therefore salute the leadership shown by President Kiir and First Vice President Machar in making the necessary compromises, including on the number and composition of states in particular. Putting the people of South Sudan first is what matters and is their test of leadership.
Let me also praise the role of the region in their efforts to bring the parties together.

I agree wholeheartedly with the SRSG on the important unity shown an effort shown by the subregion and beyond. Thanks are due widely, as he said, reflecting the wide concern and interest of the international community. You left out one person, David. So thank you to you for all that you’ve done.

But let me also echo SRSG Shearer’s sense of caution. It’s really important that the dividends of this progress are felt by the wider population. That hasn’t yet happened. Our focus remains on helping the people of South Sudan to lead their lives free from hunger, violence and fear. Only through genuine implementation of commitments made by all sides will South Sudan move forwards.

And let’s not forget, Mr President, this conflict has killed nearly 400,000 people, has left 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, has seen sexual and gender based violence used as a weapon of war, has seen over 4 million people displaced and some 6.5 million people at risk of acute food insecurity. The United Kingdom will continue to stand by South Sudan and its people in this endeavour. We remain one of the largest humanitarian donors. Last year, the United Kingdom gave over $220 million in humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.

Now, Mr President, as I’ve said, recent steps are only the start of the next phase of delivering change for the people of South Sudan. Our hope is that the spirit of compromise continues and that the swift progress to address the many challenges ahead. Most immediately, we need to see the timely formation of an inclusive government with positions and portfolios allocated. One very concrete step that could be taken would be to ensure the meaningful participation of women, – as Ms Sunday made clear – both in this government and in South Sudan’s future. And on that, I would simply say that the 35 percent quota should be the floor, not the ceiling. I welcomed Ms Sunday’s comments in general, and I particularly agree with her that South Sudan’s natural resource wealth should be used in support of its people including, as a priority, girls’ education.

Mr President, those tasks which should have been completed during the pre-transition phase must now be addressed. This includes on unifying forces and cantonment. Partial implementation would bring new security challenges, which must not happen. And we would like to see full transparency on this, including on funds already disbursed. Efforts to address growing levels of inter-communal violence and immediate steps to tackle the humanitarian situation would show this government prioritising its people.

This council must remain alive to the risks. History has shown that the violence in South Sudan can escalate quickly. So in addition to that sustained commitment from the new government, we believe the international efforts that we’ve seen pay such benefits and dividends recently must remain there with South Sudan to provide a conducive environment for sustainable peace.

And as part of that, we believe it’s important to maintain the sanctions regime, to discourage any potential spoilers of the peace and to keep the arms embargo which exists for the protection of the people of South Sudan. Of course, necessary exemptions must be taken through in the correct way.

Mr President, the Security Council has walked with South Sudan over the past years and months. It’s been a very difficult time. But the strong interest and focus, including our recent visit, have been important elements in support of peace. And we need as a council to maintain that interest and our focus. On that Security Council visit, I recall vividly the words of one of our civil society reps that we met about South Sudan’s parties. And they said, “When they are united, they let us talk. When they’re divided, they kill us.” It’s better that they are united.

Mr President, the people of South Sudan deserve a world in which they’re not in danger, in which they’re able to fulfill their potential and live their lives to the fullest. As we say for all on this planet, let no one be left behind. The President and Vice President have shown leadership to get to this point. True leadership means being able to make compromises for the good of their people, and I applaud them for it. But this is just the beginning. We need true leadership from them and all South Sudanese politicians now.

Troika Press Statement on the formation of unity government

(Thessherald)-The following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway.

The Troika congratulates the people of South Sudan and the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the announcement of the formation of an inclusive transitional government on February 22.

We welcome the fact that the government and opposition parties have made the necessary compromises to allow this important step.
For the transitional period to be a success, a spirit of continuous collaboration, supported by the active, engaged, and free voices of citizens and civil society, must continue.

Nearly nine years since South Sudan’s independence, this is an opportunity for the political leadership to take their country forward towards prosperity and peace by making meaningful progress on security sector arrangements, the reform agenda, transitional justice and accountability, and preparations for credible and safe elections.

The Troika commends the work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as a guarantor of the R-ARCSS.
We are committed to working with the new transitional government, IGAD, and other regional and international partners to support the people of South Sudan in their pursuit of peace and stability.

Troika Envoys meet to discuss South Sudan peace process

Press statement,

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar

February 8th, 2020 (Thessherald)-Norway, UK and US call upon the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.

On Thursday 6 February the three Troika Envoys for South Sudan met in London. The UK Special Representative for the Sudans, Bob Fairweather and the Norwegian Special Envoy Endre Stiansen were joined by the newly-appointed US Special Envoy for South Sudan Stuart Symington.

They discussed the status of the South Sudan peace process, two weeks from the scheduled formation of the transitional government. This critical deadline has now been delayed twice. In their discussions the Envoys emphasised the importance of beginning the transitional period on time and called on the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.
The Envoys welcomed the role the region has played in supporting the process, including recent efforts by South Africa. They were concerned that despite these efforts, the parties have been unable to make sufficient progress on the outstanding issues.
This lack of political will could derail the peace process and undermine the ceasefire, risking a return to violence at a time when the South Sudanese already face a devastating humanitarian crisis.

The Troika agreed that the imminent IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and African Union meetings in Addis Ababa may be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline. The parties to the agreement, including the incumbent Government, must be prepared to make compromises and agree a way forward on outstanding issues, to enable the formation of an inclusive transitional government.

Their people are watching, impatient to see the peace that their leaders have publicly committed to, but so far have been unwilling to deliver.

The Envoys shared their assessment of the remaining challenges, and discussed possible responses to the scenarios around the 22 February deadline. The Troika remain engaged, and will continue to work with the region for the sake of South Sudan, whose short history has been blighted by conflict, corruption and terrible violence.