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Kiir-Machar meetings are needed for peace in South Sudan, says UNMISS head

 David Shearer (UN photo)
June 25, 2019 (JUBA) - The head of South Sudan peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) said the lack of meetings between President Salva Kiir and the leader of the main opposition group remains a fundamental challenge for the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

David Shearer made his Remark during a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on the slow implementation of the revitalized peace agreement on Tuesday 25 June.

Shearer said despite the postponement of the transitional government last, the implementation of the security arrangements particularly the troops’ cantonment and unification of armed forces have been sluggish.

"A fundamental challenge is the lack of regular face-to-face meetings between President Salva Kiir and Opposition leader Dr Riek Machar," he said.

"These leader-to-leader meetings, preferably held in Juba, are critical because trust and confidence can’t cold start the day a new unified government is formed," he further said.

Machar is based in Khartoum, and he would only return when the transitional government is formed after the implementation of the pre-transitional period steps like army unification and delimitation of tribal boundaries.

Shearer said the United Nations and African Union work together and now accept some tasks may not be entirely complete by November.

He said they can consider the pre-transitional tasks as "complete"’ - but this should not delay the formation of the transitional government.

Also, he renewed calls on the South Sudanese government meet its commitment to release funding it pledged for implementation.

For his part, South Sudanese Ambassador Akuei Bona Malwal reiterated his government pledge to pay $100 million dollars adding they have already disbursed two million towards food and cantonment preparation activities in Greater Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal.

"The peace implementation needs technical assistance and experts that we hope the international community would provide," he said.

(ST)