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African Union, UN, Troika condemn cessation of hostilities violations in South Sudan

Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers singing pro-war song (AFP file photo)
January 12, 2017 (JUBA) - The African Union, United Nations and the Troika countries have condemned the continuing violence in South Sudan in clear violation of a cessation of hostilities they worked together with the IGAD to achieve last December.

Conceived to create a conducive environment for the South Sudan High-Level Revitalization Forum, which will resume its activities next February, the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) agreement of 21 December 2017, is breached by the fighting parties on daily basis.

Military analysts say every party seeks to secure its control over the maximum of position ahead of the Forum which will start by discussions on the implementation of the permanent ceasefire agreement.

In a joint statement issued on Friday, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, "strongly" condemned the recent violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

In similar terms, the Troika members, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States "strongly" condemned the breach of humanitarian truce which also meant to allow humanitarian groups to reach civilians in the war-affected zones.

"They call on all South Sudanese fighting parties to immediately cease all hostilities, desist from undertaking any further military operations, and uphold their commitments to the 21 December 2017 Agreement," said Mahamat and Guterres.

The Troika countries in their statement further call on all parties to "ensure humanitarian access throughout the country".

The three guarantors of the process said the government and rebel forces are involved in a series of violations in "Unity State and the Greater Upper Nile region, as witnessed by ceasefire monitors". They further pointed to movement of government troops into Jonglei state

"The Troika also notes with grave concern the strong evidence from multiple sources linking the attacks in Gudele, Jubek State, on January 4 to former SPLA Chief of Defence Paul Malong and forces under Lt. Colonel Cham Garang, an SPLA-IO commander," says the statement.

The African Union and the United Nations chiefs and the Troika clearly warned that they would impose sanctions on the warring parties if they didn’t abide by their obligations and responsibilities.

The AU and Un "affirm their intent to support the imposition of consequences, consistent with the African Union Peace and Security Council Communiqué of 20 September 2017, should the parties continue to violate their own Agreement."

"We remain committed to holding to account all those who obstruct the realization of lasting peace for the people of South Sudan, whether or not they are participating directly in the Forum," said the three western countries.

The two statements reiterated their support to the IGAD in its efforts to build peace in South Sudan and the second phase of the peace revitalization forum.

"We call on our IGAD partners to rapidly investigate all violations and to immediately hold those responsible to account," further said the Troika countries.