UN urges South Sudan to speed up peace process

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South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar after their peace talk at the State House in Juba on December 17, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

By AFP for Lolwe digital

In Summary

• David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said delays in forming state governments have contributed to the breakdown in rule of law, witnessed by recent increase in inter-communal violence in many parts of the country.

The UN envoy for South Sudan on Thursday called on the country’s leaders to complete the outstanding tasks in the 2018 peace deal in order to bring lasting peace in the east African nation.

David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said delays in forming state governments have contributed to the breakdown in rule of law, witnessed by recent increase in inter-communal violence in many parts of the country.

“We are concerned that some of this momentum is slowing, in particular, the appointment of state governors across the country,” Shearer told journalists in Juba.

He admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic may interfere with the implementation of the agreement, but he called on the parties to the pact to keep the peace momentum and appoint state governors, form a reconstituted parliament and complete the remaining security arrangements in order to move the peace process forward.

“We have seen an increase in inter-communal violence because the governors are not there to stop it,” he added.

Several parties to the September 2018 peace deal formed a unity government on February 22, but they have so far failed to agree on a formula to establish leadership at the state level.

Shearer said recent defection of key opposition figures from former rebel leader Riek Machar’s group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLM-IO) to the army led by President Salva Kiir signals problems within the unity government.

The UN envoy urged the unity government to embark on trust-building among its members in a bid to forge the spirit of unity and togetherness.