UN Security Council asks for progress in South Sudan peace process

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 9 (NNN-Xinhua) — The Security Council asked for progress in South Sudan’s peace process, one year after the signing of a revitalized peace agreement.

In a presidential statement adopted on Tuesday, the Security Council welcomed initial progress in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), including the formation of certain R-ARCSS institutions and mechanisms, joint peace-building activities at the local level, and an improved environment in many areas for delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The council called on parties to the R-ARCSS to expedite the process of implementing transitional security arrangements and to continue consultation on the issue of the number and boundaries of states with a view toward finding a common solution.

The statement did not mention the deadline for forming a transitional government under the terms of the R-ARCSS, which was signed on Sept 12, 2018.

The deadline for such a government was postponed by six months — now by Nov 12.

The presidential statement was issued ahead of a Security Council visit to Juba later in October. “The Security Council looks forward to seeing substantive progress on these activities during its October 2019 visit,” reads the statement.

The Security Council welcomed recent meetings between President Salva Kiir and his archrival Riek Machar as a positive development, and called for senior leadership of the parties to the R-ARCSS to continue to hold regular face-to-face meetings to resolve outstanding issues to allow for the peaceful formation of a transitional government.

The council urged the government to disburse the balance of its pledged funds for implementation of the R-ARCSS in a transparent and accountable manner, and continue to make funds available for ongoing implementation of the peace agreement.

It expressed concern at the dire humanitarian, human rights, and economic situation in the country and condemned all violations of the R-ARCSS and the December 2017 cease-fire agreement, and continued use of sexual violence as a tactic by the parties to the conflict against the civilian population.

It called on parties not signatory to the R-ARCSS to renounce violence, adhere to cessation of hostilities agreements, and seek a political resolution to their concerns about the R-ARCSS, and further called on parties to the R-ARCSS to engage with nonsignatories in a non-violent and constructive manner.

The Security Council further called on all parties to the R-ARCSS as well as nonsignatory armed groups to protect medical facilities and medical personnel, as well as civilians and civilian objects, allow people to move freely, and allow rapid, safe, and unhindered access of relief personnel, equipment and supplies to help ensure timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need.

The Security Council urged parties to the R-ARCSS to continue taking steps to promote the meaningful participation of women in the formation of a transitional government, and called on all parties to the R-ARCSS and armed groups to cease all acts of sexual and gender-based violence, end the recruitment and use of child soldiers, killing and maiming or sexual violence against children, and to release all children that have been recruited to date.

The council underscored the pressing need to ensure accountability and end impunity for any violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan.

It warned that actions that threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan may be subject to sanctions under relevant Security Council resolutions. The council affirmed that it is prepared to adjust measures contained in these resolutions in light of the implementation of the parties’ commitments, including the cease-fire.

The Security Council reiterated its support for the people of South Sudan, and reaffirmed its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of the Republic of South Sudan.

Shortly after its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan plunged into civil war. At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died in war since late 2013. Some 1.8 million people are displaced within South Sudan, 2.5 million others have fled to neighboring countries. — NNN-XINHUA