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UN official calls for holistic peace in S. Sudan not bilateral deal between two leaders

June 28, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - Bintou Keita, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, praised the IGAD efforts achieve peace in South Sudan but stressed on the need for a comprehensive peace in South Sudan not a bilateral deal between two leaders.

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Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, addresses the Security Council (UN Photo)

The Guinean diplomat made her remarks in a regular briefing to the UN Security Council on the situation in South Sudan on Thursday, a day after the signing of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, and two meetings organised by the IGAD leaders between President Salva Kiir and the leader of the rebel SLPM-IO Riek Machar.

“While the outcome of regional and international efforts to deliver a political settlement is yet unclear, I must reiterate that peace will only be sustained if the revitalized agreement is inclusive, fair, addresses the root causes of the conflict and engages all stakeholders, including women and youth,” Keita said.

However, she stressed that the 15-member body must give its constant support and engagement to ensure that all stakeholders understood that the international community would support a peaceful South Sudan, and that there would be consequences for those who kept fuelling the conflict.

Further, the UN official underlined that "while the declaration broadly deals with all the contentious issues, further discussions are needed to iron out details to ensure that this time the parties implement the agreement under an effective implementation mechanism".

Khartoum framework agreement provides the commitment of the warring parties to enforce a permanent ceasefire effective on Saturday and to finalize four outstanding issues in the security arrangements within 72 hours as of Wednesday. They also commits themselves to settle the other outstanding issues in the governance chapter of a peace agreement signed in 2015.

The declaration which was signed by all the leaders of different South Sudanese political groups was the result of two face-to-face meetings between Kiir and Machar brokered by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Omer al-Bashir of Sudan who was keen to associate his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni in this effort.

The IGAD mediators thought that the face-to-face meetings were crucial for the success of a process marred by old political disputes between the two leaders and tribal rivalries in the young nation.

The Council members expressed a cautious optimism for the recent progress achieved in Khartoum. Also, the representative of the United States, the penholder of South Sudan reports, and the other permanent members didn’t make any comment. Only envoys of non-permanent members and the South Sudan took the floor after the briefing.

The Ethiopian Ambassador Tekeda Alemu praised efforts accomplished by the IGAD to settle the South Sudanese conflict and said there were some issues that were "left for the principals (Kiir and Machar) to meet face to face and iron out their difference".

He further welcomed the outcome of "the second face-to-face meeting" of President Kiir and Machar in on the basis of the decision adopted by the IGAD Summit".

"We hope this will facilitate the resolution of some of the outstanding issues and pave the way for the finalization of the IGAD bridging proposal".

Other envoys from, Equatorial Guinea, Bolivia, Peru, Kazakhstan and Cote d’Ivore commended the IGAD-led efforts and the recent progress for peace in South Sudan and called for a comprehensive implementation for the peace agreement.

For his part, the South Sudanese Ambassador Akuei Bona Malwal pointed to Khartoum agreement saying he was happy to report today that "the light at the end of the tunnel was brighter".

AKUEI BONA MALWAL (South Sudan) said that his country’s Government would cooperate with UNMISS to ensure that those responsible for killing the Mission’s peacekeeper were identified and brought to book. Noting that the Government considered “unwise and premature” last month’s Security Council resolution on South Sudan, he said he was happy to report today that the light at the end of the tunnel was brighter.

“While the document signed is a framework for peace, we are optimistic that a final peace agreement will be concluded in the very near future,” he said, adding that the President of South Sudan would shortly decree a ceasefire.

He called for full support to the IGAD peace process, stressing that "the Security Council must be seen to be throwing its full support to the peace process, rather than merely eager to dole out blame and punishment whenever there was a setback".

(ST)