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STATEMENT BY H.E. FESTUS G. MOGAE CHAIRPERSON OF JMEC DELIVERED AT THE 31ST EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY ON DEVELOPMENT 12 JUNE 2017, SHERATON HOTEL ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA

Your Excellency, Hailemariam Desalegn, Chairperson of the IGAD and Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,

Your Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda,

Your Excellency, Omar Hassan al Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan,

Your Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya,

Your Excellency, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia,

Your Excellency, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti,

Your Excellency, General Taban Deng Gai, First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan,

Your Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission;

Your Excellency, David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the Republic of South Sudan;

Your Excellency, Mahboub M. Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD,

Your Excellencies, Special Envoys,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I welcome this very timely and important IGAD Extraordinary Summit on South Sudan. As you may recall, Your Excellencies, we are now into the 22nd month since the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

  1. After nearly eight months of delay, the Transitional Government of National Unity was formed on the 29th April 2016. This means that we are now fourteen months into the Transitional Period, and have barely sixteen months left to October 2018 – the end of the Transitional Period.
  2. Regrettably, the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan are yet to enjoy the peace that the implementation of the Peace Agreement was expected to deliver. In this regard, I have submitted a detailed quarterly report for the period February to April 2017, that summarizes JMEC’s assessment of the status of the implementation of the Peace Agreement. I will however recap our journey to this point, and highlight the issues that demand your attention and action.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

  1. The return of the designated First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny on 26th April 2016 and the subsequent formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) were key milestones in the implementation of the Agreement. Many of the Transitional Agreement Institutions and Implementation Mechanisms had also been established and operationalized to coordinate these efforts.
  2. Unfortunately, disagreements between H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President and his then First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and the unwillingness by the Parties to make compromises overshadowed the first few months of the TGoNU.
  3. In July 2016, fighting broke out at the Presidential Palace in Juba (J1) between forces loyal to the President and those loyal to the former First Vice President.
  4. The July fighting and its aftermath, which was the worst incident of violation of the permanent ceasefire, reversed the progress that had been made in the implementation of the Agreement. It led to the flight from Juba of the then First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny with many of his followers and key opposition members from the TGoNU.
  5. The replacement of Dr. Machar by his former chief negotiator General Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President caused a split in the SPLM/A-IO into two factions. One faction led by General Taban Deng Gai, now cooperating with and participating in the TGoNU, and the other led by the Former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny still fighting against the government.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen;

  1. Following the IGAD Communique of 5th August 2016, the reconstituted TGoNU continued with implementation of the Peace Agreement, in spite of concern over exclusion of estranged Parties. As JMEC we had hoped that the Parties would quickly resolve their differences and return to full implementation of the Peace Agreement. This has not materialized and now the Parties seem even further apart.
  2. Today, we are confronted by increased hostilities amongst these Parties, flagrant violations of the ceasefire, the emergence of new opposition and armed groups. The rapidly deteriorating political, security, humanitarian and economic situation in the country has caused unprecedented displacement, famine and growing civilian flight.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen;

  1. While I commend the very good working relationship between H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President and H.E. General Taban Deng Gai, the First Vice President and their determination to cooperate; real progress is still lacking, the pace of the implementation of the Peace Agreement has been too slow, and challenges abound.
  2. Admittedly, over the last several months, JMEC has witnessed some commendable progress in institution building and some reforms:
    1. Some Agreement Institutions and Transitional Security Arrangements (TSA) mechanisms have been reconstituted and others operationalized;
    2. The National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) has completed incorporation of provisions of the Peace Agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and has embarked on the review of relevant legislation;
    3. The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has been formed and has commenced business;
    4. The TGoNU has established a High Level Humanitarian Oversight Committee to address impediments faced by humanitarian agencies in delivering assistance. It has also provided subsidies for essential food commodities;
    5. The TGoNU has also put in place some measures to stabilize the economy and address the fiscal challenges facing the country, including the establishment of a centralised treasury account in the Central Bank, expenditure out of which is determined by an inter-ministerial committee.
    6. There has been some progress towards cantonment planning, particularly for two sites near Juba. However, effective cantonment of forces requires a cessation of hostilities and restoration of the permanent ceasefire;
    7. The TGoNU has reported that some components of the Joint Integrated Police (JIP) have been trained and are ready for deployment in due course; and
    8. Six JMEC Working Committees have been established to work in close consultation with the three TGoNU clusters – Governance, Humanitarian and Service Delivery – to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the various chapters of the Peace Agreement.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen;

  1. It is regrettable that the progress I have mentioned, and good efforts of the TGoNU continue to be overshadowed, and in some cases reversed by the ongoing hostilities.
  2. The humanitarian condition in the country continues to be precarious, mainly due to the persistence of armed violence in various parts of the country.
  3. The impact of the war on the civilian population is deeply concerning. Notably, the economic situation continues to worsen as evidenced by rising prices and a sharply depreciated exchange rate. Food production has declined as population displacement persists, putting more pressure on an already fragile economy.
  4. According to the UN OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin Report of 28 May 2017, 3.7 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes. Some live in Protection of Civilian sites (PoCs), others are internally displaced, and many more in refugee settlements in neighboring countries. According to the same report, a total of 5.5 million people are food insecure.
  5. In addition, there are continuing reports of human rights violations including killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions.
  6. Despite the recent improvements in access to humanitarian assistance, there are still reports of threats and detention of humanitarian aid workers.
  7. I therefore welcome the recent decision by the governments of the Republic of Sudan and of the Republic of Kenya to open more humanitarian corridors to deliver much-needed aid to the long-suffering people of South Sudan.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

  1. As the main guarantors to the Peace Agreement, Your Excellencies, IGAD should act collectively and decisively, speak with one voice and demand that the leaders of South Sudan end the violence, and pursue a political solution and return to full implementation of the Peace Agreement.
  2. I therefore expect the Summit to address the following pertinent issues:
    1. Decide on concrete steps to revitalize implementation of the Peace Agreement;
    2. Commit to concrete measures to enforce compliance with the ceasefire; and
    3. Decide on practical ways of addressing the dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

  1. I recommend the following actions to the Summit:
    1. convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum for the Parties to the Peace Agreement, including estranged groups, to discuss the restoration of the permanent ceasefire, a return to inclusive implementation, a revised realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards democratic elections at the end of the Transitional Period;
    2. prior to this High Level Forum, invite other key opposition groups to participate without pre-conditions;
    3. demand a clear and realistic timeline for the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) to provide a neutral and secure enviroment for the implementation of the Peace Agreement;
    4. convene a joint meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Forces of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and of the TGoNU, and the UN to discuss all outstanding issues and determine a definitive timeline for full deployment of the RPF;
    5. decide on specific actions to enforce compliance with the ceasefire to prevent impunity and derailing of the peace process;
    6. call on the international community to assist South Sudan in its efforts to revive the economy once the Parties return to the full implementation of the Peace Agreement;
    7. call on the international community to mobilize the requisite resources to address the dire humanitarian situation currently unfolding in South Sudan;
    8. call on the TGoNU and all groups to ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian agencies; and
    9. Above all, uphold the One Voice message and align your actions in your collective pursuit of helping the people of South Sudan achieve lasting peace.

I thank you.

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