Members of the Council,
- I would like to thank the President of the Security Council, H.E. Dr. Tekeda Alemu, for his kind invitation to brief the Security Council today.
- My briefing will build on the previous update that I provided to the Security Council last month on the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. I will therefore focus on a quick situation update, the forthcoming JMEC evaluation report and the IGAD Revitalisation Forum.
3. Last month, I reported incidents of heavy fighting between SPLA-IO and SPLA-IG in some areas of the country. The scale of the fighting has changed this month with reports from CTSAMM indicating that there have been relatively fewer fighting incidents between SPLA-IG and SPLA-IO (Machar).
- However, fighting was reported between SPLA-IO (Taban) and SPLA-IO (Machar) forces in Unity and Upper Nile States causing further displacement of civilians. SPLA-IO have denied access to a joint UNMISS and CTSAMM patrol along the Nile, so we are unable to provide a full picture at this time.
- The situation concerning control of Pagak in Upper Nile State remains tense as SPLA-IG and SPLA-IO (Machar) make claims and counter claims. CTSAMM has reported the displacement of 3,000 civilians into Ethiopia.
- CTSAMM also reports fighting in the Equatorias and armed robberies in some parts of Eastern Equatoria.
- Inter-communal tensions are reported in some areas of Greater Bhar El Ghazal and in the Maban area, where Vice President, Mr James Wani Igga, has been mediating between IDP communities.
- We in JMEC are acutely aware that, due mainly to the conflict, the humanitarian crisis persists, with six million people reported severely food insecure and continued inconsistent humanitarian access.
9. JMEC remains fully focused on its mandate to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Peace Agreement and committed to supporting IGAD in its aim to convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum.
- To that end, yesterday, JMEC held an evaluation workshop to review a comprehensive report on the status of implementation of the Peace Agreement. Once complete, this report will be presented to IGAD as part of our contribution to ensuring a successful revitalisation forum. Allow me to elaborate.
- In March of this year we took the deliberate step of enhancing our oversight role with the formation of six JMEC Working Committees in line with the six substantive Chapters of the Agreement. Their tasks are to continuously review and evaluate progress towards the implementation of the Peace Agreement and to support and recommend remedial actions to be undertaken.
- The Working Committees have held a combined total of 38 meetings to date, engaged bi-laterally with the TGoNU and other stakeholders, and invited briefings from key Agreement institutions and implementation mechanisms.
- In line with the terms of reference for the Revitalisation Forum, agreed by the IGAD Council of Ministers on 2nd July 2017, the JMEC Working Committees have conducted a full evaluation of the status of implementation of the Peace Agreement and prepared a report, which is under consideration. I expect the final report to be published by the end of next week.
- As I have said, once the report is finalised and adopted by JMEC, it will be presented to IGAD and is intended to form the starting point for discussion in the revitalisation process.
15. I shall not pre-empt the final report, but overall, JMEC maintains the view that despite initial reasonable progress in the formation of the various institutions and bodies, implementation of the Peace Agreement was disrupted in July 2016 and as we stand today little substantial progress has been made in the delivery or implementation of the key provisions.
- I have previously described implementation as being “modest, at best” and from the evaluation reports presented yesterday I have heard nothing to change my view.
- Fundamental to the whole report is the irrefutable fact that the permanent ceasefire has been and continues to be violated by all the Parties with impunity and as such security has deteriorated to a critical level.
- Of fundamental importance is the fracturing of the SPLA-IO into two factions, one under the First Vice President, General Taban Deng Gai, and the other under the former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, who is now in exile in South Africa.
- The expansion of the number of states, from 10 to 32, and in contravention of the Peace Agreement, has also fundamentally adversely affected the intended power sharing formula.
- Whilst some progress has been made, it is greatly disappointing that after two years, there are several transitional institutions and mechanisms which have not been established, including the Special Reconstruction Fund, the Economic and Financial Management Authority, the Compensation and Reparations Authority, and key transitional justice institutions.
- Most importantly, there has been no progress whatsoever in the Permanent Constitution-making process.
22. JMEC’s recommendations are:
- There must be an immediate ceasefire and an end to all forms of violence.
- There is a fundamental need for a demonstration of political will by the Parties to undertake their responsibility to implement the provisions of the Peace Agreement.
- All forms of obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid must be removed.
- The TGoNU must expedite and conclude the constitutional and legislative amendments and initiate without further delay the Permanent Constitution-making process.
- In preparation for the return of the displaced persons, a joint framework should be developed by the TGoNU in collaboration with humanitarian partners.
- The Security Council, in collaboration with IGAD, the African Union and international partners, should put in place mechanisms to enforce compliance.
- In the coming weeks IGAD will convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum and I wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm our complete commitment to this process.
- Together, with one voice, we can challenge those who believe in a military solution to the conflict. We urge the Government and all Parties to engage in this inclusive political process.
- The IGAD Revitalisation Forum is the best opportunity to restore peace and rebuild governance in South Sudan.
- The National Dialogue can play a complimentary role in delivering longer term reconciliation if implemented credibly and inclusively.
- Given conditions around the country, mass displacement, severe food insecurity and the total lack of institutional and constitutional infrastructure, it is clear that credible elections will not be feasible at the end of the current transitional period. The High Level Revitalisation Forum is, therefore, the best hope for re-igniting the political process.
28. We hope that the JMEC evaluation will enable the Parties, the region and all South Sudanese stakeholders to pursue the revitalisation process from an informed point of view, and encourage them to take concrete steps to revitalise the implementation of the Peace Agreement without further delay.
Thank you, Mr President.