July 31, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - In a meeting held in the Sudanese capital on Sunday, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Partners Group has called on the South Sudanese parties to stop hostilities around Juba and to put the peace process back on track.
The JMEC partners held their third meeting on the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), discussed the current situation in the country and what can be done to convince the warring parties to re-commit themselves to stop hostilities.
Co-chaired by Sudan and China, the meeting was attended by JMEC chairperson Festus Mogae, UN secretary general representative in South Sudan, U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth and a number of representatives of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Chad, Norway, the United Kingdom, the African Union Commission, the European Union, the IGAD Partners Forum and the United Nations.
In a statement released after the meeting, the group said they received from the ceasefire monitoring mechanism reports about renewed clashes in the areas around Juba, the Equatoria states and other parts of southern Sudan.
The JMEC partners added that the resumption of hostilities represents a violation of the peace agreement, and expressed deep concern about the situation saying it might deteriorate further.
The Group "condemns in the strongest terms the recent armed clashes that have erupted between the parties. It believes that operations targeting opposition leaders expose the country to unprecedented levels of violence and must be stopped immediately," stressed the text of the statement received by Sudan Tribune in Arabic.
In press statements, Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour who co-chaired the meeting the Chinese Special Envoy Zhong Jianhua pointed that the meeting came amid critical conditions after the recent renewal of fighting in Juba
Ghandour said the meeting was briefed by Mogae and the head of UNMISS Ellen Margrethe Loj who agreed on the need to put the implementation of the peace agreement back on track, and to stop hunting Machar and his forces in the conflict areas particularly, Western and Central Equatoria and to join the negotiating table.
The Sudanese foreign minister said his country is deeply concerned about the renewal of fighting in Juba, and attempts to foil regional and international efforts to achieve peace between warring parties.
He stressed the need to abide by the decisions of IGAD meeting in Nairobi and the African Union summit in Kigali.
The Sudanese top diplomat said the participants agreed on the need for more efforts from the ARCSS sponsors to end the fighting between the warring factions.
Regarding the appointment of Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President, Ghandour said the meeting called on president Salva Kiir to stick to the peace agreement as the main reference in the peace implementation.
JMEC statement said deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the South Sudan and called on the government to allow and facilitate unfettered humanitarian access throughout the country.
It further condemned in the strongest terms the continued restrictions hindering the movement of the ceasefire monitoring teams and UNMISS personnel, and called on the South Sudanese government to take the necessary measures to clear these hindrances.
Also meeting pointed to the killing of UNMISS personnel and called for a thorough investigation and to hold accountable those involved in ceasefire violations and recent abuses.