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Chairperson, Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

  1. Welcome to Juba and thank you for your kind invitation to me to brief you all again today.
  2. I would like to begin by commending IGAD for their leadership at this critical time and reiterating JMEC’s full support for the IGAD initiative to convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum of the Implementation of the Peace Agreement. Your meeting here today is an important step in the revitalization process and a display of collective commitment that will reassure the people of South Sudan of our determination to address their desire for peace and stability.
  3. The Peace Agreement can recover from the turmoil of the past twelve months, but to do so we must take stock of the current situation, review progress to date and identify the key challenges that restrain comprehensive implementation of the Agreement, especially the restoration of the ceasefire.
  4. I have talked about seizing this moment of opportunity and we firmly believe that a resolute and unified approach by IGAD, the African Union, the UN and the international community, and with reasonable and peaceful cooperation of the South Sudanese leaders, we can recover lost ground and restore hope to the people of South Sudan.
  5. At our last meeting earlier this month, I outlined our suggestion for a process that would aid the successful convening of the Forum. With the recent appointment of your Special Envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais, and with the support of the IGAD Secretariat and JMEC, we are now in the process of implementing the activities outlined in the indicative matrix.
  1. Furthermore, alongside constant dialogue with the IGAD Special Envoy, I have completed a comprehensive first round of consultations with H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, H.E. the First Vice President General Taban Deng Gai, the TGoNU, and JMEC representatives from the South Sudanese stakeholders, regional guarantors and the international community. Whilst there remains considerable detail to be resolved, there is agreement across the board of the importance of this Forum; your Forum, Honourable Ministers.
  2. I also take note of the various regional initiatives on South Sudan aimed at restoring peace and stability in the country. I reiterate the need to align all our actions and strategies to ensure that all initiatives compliment the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

Chairperson, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. Our task and its objectives remain as we have discussed previously – “to convene a High-level Revitalization Forum of the Parties to the Agreement, including estranged groups, to discuss concrete measures to 1) restore the permanent ceasefire, 2) return to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and 3) develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards democratic elections at the end of the transition period”.
  2. Since March we have consistently posed three key questions that have coalesced our thinking – how do we stop the fighting, how do we stop people dying of starvation and how do we restore inclusivity to the implementation of the Agreement? In combination with our One Voice message, these thoughts have played their part in leading to this Forum.
  1. In my brief today, however, I would like to focus on the central questions that lie at the heart of the Forum’s mandate. But before I do that, there are some essential principles that bear reiteration and reinforcement.
  2. First is the principle of revitalisation itself. JMEC maintains that the Peace Agreement remains an important and viable means through which to deliver a sustainable peace. The Peace Agreement is extant and eminently worthy of revitalisation. However all Parties must be committed to this objective.
  3. Second, revitalisation of the Agreement will be exactly that – the reinvigoration, re-energising and re-engagement of the 2015 Peace Agreement. The Forum should examine progress made in implementing the Peace Agreement in the context of the current situation, determine impediments to further progress and seek concrete proposals to resolve those impediments.
  4. The revitalisation process should address the current political realities in South Sudan and this Forum must focus on current issues.
  5. Third is the principle of inclusivity. It is reasonable and fair to acknowledge that the turmoil of the last year has led to the disengagement of some Parties to the Agreement, and the emergence of groups whose interests are relevant to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
  6. It is therefore equally fair and reasonable for the revitalisation process to seek ways in which key actors can be identified and engaged or re-engaged in the interest of successfully achieving our objectives, most particularly the restoration of the Permanent Ceasefire.
  1. Lastly, the principle of peace and compromise. Progress of any sort is only possible within a peaceful and secure environment. All South Sudanese leaders must renounce violence, lay down their weapons and come to the table willing to seek a political solution.
  2. Ultimately, the success of this process will require a willingness on the part of the Parties to the Agreement and all estranged and other groups to compromise and accommodate one another politically.

Chairperson, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. I want to turn now to the questions I believe we must consider as we build towards the High Level Revitalisation Forum.
    1. What are the key relevant issues that the Forum must address?
    2. How do we ensure the Forum remains focused on its mandate?
    3. Who are the necessary participants whose attendance is critical to the

      achievement of our goals?

    4. Where should the Forum be held?
    5. How do we ensure compliance with the Forum’s resolutions?
  2. I raise these questions as a means to focus our debate on relevant matters that directly affect a successful outcome of the Forum. There will be a wide range of opinion and it will be for IGAD to determine the best way forward.
  3. Itissimplynotpossibletooverstate,forexample,thefundamentalnecessity to restore the Permanent Ceasefire in our quest to stem the tide of refugees, enable unfettered delivery of aid to those in need within the country and contemplate returning IDPs and refugees to their homes. And that is before we touch on the provisions and requirements of the Peace Agreement.
  1. I commend the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for the positive work it has done so far in the process of reviewing its five- year strategic plan and I hope the strategy will be properly aligned with Chapter Three of the Agreement. This is particularly important as key aspects of Chapter 3 still remain untouched.
  2. Furthermore, in order to address some of the current critical issues, JMEC hosted a Humanitarian Discussion Forum for all humanitarian actors, TGoNU and international partners. We hope that the outcome of this forum will help to improve the effective delivery of humanitarian relief to the vast number of people in need of help.
  3. TheurgentrestorationofthePermanentCeasefireisalsonecessaryforany meaningful progress to be made in pursuing economic stability and growth within the country. Implementation of Chapter Four of the Agreement has been severely constrained by the ongoing conflict combined with capacity and technical limitations.
  4. In the meantime the economic situation continues to deteriorate with high inflation levels, a grossly devalued currency and limited prospects for increasing non-oil revenues, which has negatively impacted budget execution.
  5. We have consistently recognized the progress that has been made under Chapter One, particularly with regard to the Transitional Government for National Unity (TGoNU) and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). However, inclusive representation and gender balance within the TGoNU and National Assembly has not yet been fully achieved and a huge number of other institutions described in Chapter One have yet to be reconstituted.
  1. Afteraslowstart,throughnofaultoftheirown,theNationalConstitutional Amendment Committee has made quick and efficient progress and has delivered a draft Amendment Bill to the Government for further processing. However, the critical process of incorporating the Agreement into the Transitional Constitution has stalled as the Amendment Bill has not yet been delivered by the TGoNU to the TNLA.
  2. ChapterFivemandatestheestablishmentoftransitionaljusticemechanisms that address accountability, reconciliation and healing as well as the provision of reparations for victims of violations. Progress in implementation of this chapter is negligible. A restoration of the permanent ceasefire is necessary to facilitate a conducive environment for healing and reconciliation to take place.
  3. The process of permanent constitution-making envisaged in Chapter Six was expected to have been completed within eighteen months of the signing of the Peace Agreement but has not even begun. This is a critical process for the sustainability of peace and democratization in the Republic of South Sudan.
  4. Finally, in Chapter Two, however, we are seeing a concerted effort within the Strategic Defence Security Review Board, Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, Joint Operations Centre and Joint Integrated Police to engage and make progress and this has been accompanied by a commitment of funding from the TGoNU. There is a long way to go but the Insitutions are active and cooperative.

Chairperson, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. A moment of opportunity has arisen and, on behalf of the long suffering people of South Sudan, I urge us all to seize it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and receiving your guidance on the best possible steps to make this Forum achieve its desired outcomes.
  2. To date the Peace Agreement has stalled and stuttered quite enough. It is time to insist that we restore the Agreement to centre stage and drive as one towards its comprehensive implementation.
  3. To conclude, I take this opportunity to thank the TGoNU, South Sudanese stakeholders, IGAD, AU, Troika, EU, China, the UN, UNMISS, and the International Partners and Friends of South Sudan for their commitment and continued support, and appeal for full support from everyone for this revitalisation process.
  4. May God bless us all and continue to guide us in the relentless pursuit of peace.

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