March 27, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, has accepted to declare a unilateral ceasefire; raising hope that such a move would allow the international community to demand the armed opposition also to cease hostilities in order to create the needed security conditions for aid workers to reach civilians in the famine-hit areas in the country.
According to a communiqué by the African Union, President Kiir made the assurance on the margins of the recent IGAD Summit on Somalia in a meeting with, the chairperson for the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Mahamat discussed the security situation in the country and the national dialogue initiative launched by President Kiir as well as the disastrous humanitarian crisis.
“On that occasion, the President of South Sudan assured the AUC Chairperson that he accepted to proclaim unilaterally a ceasefire and grant general amnesty to promote participation in the National Dialogue, which he equally accepted to be inclusive and led by an independent and respective personality," reads the statement obtained by Sudan Tribune.
President Kiir further reaffirmed his acceptance of the deployment of the Regional Protection Force and stressed the added value that African ownership of the political process could contribute to the national dialogue.
The South Sudanese leader, according to the African Union communiqué, stressed the added value that African ownership of the political process could contribute to the National Dialogue.
Mahamat who is in Juba on an official working mission from 26 to 27 March 2017, met with the first Vice President, Taban Deng Gai with whom he discussed the critical issues, including the facilitation of access for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to the famine affected people and ensure the protection of the humanitarian actors.
The visiting African official reassured the authorities that the African Union would continue to support and assist the Government and People of South Sudan.
The delegation after meeting the first vice president in Juba and other government officials travelled to Ganylel area of Liech State, in the Greater Upper Nile region to acquire first-hand knowledge about the plight of the people as a result of the humanitarian disaster and show the support and solidarity of the AUC with the people affected by famine and malnutrition.
While in the area, the delegation met with the deputy governor and the representatives of the community, including women.
The Chairperson explained the purpose of the visit and the efforts and advocacy made by the AU Commission. He informed the audience that the AU Commission was appealing to African countries and the international community at large to increase their assistance to the people and government of South Sudan.
The delegation visited the health care facilities, Cholera Treatment Centre and stabilisation centre for severely malnourished children and the work done by humanitarian partners, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC) with limited resources.
The AUC chairperson announced that on behalf of the AU a token contribution of US$100,000 would be given for the victims of famine and an additional US$ 100,000 to help malnourished children.