STATEMENT BY H.E. FESTUS G. MOGAE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT MONITORING & EVALUATION COMMISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL, 24th JANUARY 2018 JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (via video tele-conference)
Good afternoon to you all, and good evening from Juba. May I first thank the President of the United Nations Security Council, H.E. Kairat Umarov, for your kind invitation to brief the Security Council today.
Members of the Council,
Just before Christmas, six months of hard work came to fruition with the successful convening of the IGAD High Level Revitalisation Forum in Addis Ababa, where fourteen South Sudanese parties and other key stakeholders came together to confront the challenges that face South Sudan after eighteen months of devastating chaos.
The first phase of the Forum dealt with the cessation of hostilities, and like you all, I am pleased that a comprehensive Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access was signed by all parties on 21st December 2017.
According to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) this new cessation of hostilities has had a generally positive effect on reducing the overall level of violence in the country. However, I am disappointed to note that, within the few weeks since its signing, this agreement has been violated by no less than three of the signatory parties.
Since the 24th of December 2017, when the agreement came into effect, fighting and troop movements have been reported in Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile States and Central Equatoria, causing further displacement and disturbance of civilians. CTSAMM have quickly published reports on two outbreaks of violence, in Koch and Mundri, apportioning blame to SPLA-IO (Machar) and SPLA-IG respectively. The Chairman of CTSAMM has advised me that a number of other incidents and alleged violations are currently under investigation and I hope to receive further reports very soon.
I condemn these acts of violence and call upon all signatories to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to disseminate the terms of the agreement to their subordinate commanders and ensure immediate and consistent compliance
Within the past week, I have had cause to publicly demand full support for CTSAMM. Statements have been made in the media by the Transitional Government of National Unity which has the potential to undermine public confidence in regional and international peacekeeping efforts.
CTSAMM’s teams are the direct representatives of IGAD and the wider international community for the purpose of verification of ceasefire compliance in South Sudan and as such they deserve full respect and total cooperation. Such denigration of international peacekeeping missions, including the UN regional protection force, are unacceptable and I call upon the Security Council to reiterate its support for CTSAMM.
As I speak to you now, CTSAMM are leading a workshop in Addis Ababa with all the signatories which seeks to put in place the practical mechanisms and cooperation required to deliver and enforce this cessation of hostilities agreement.
I commend CTSAMM for taking the lead on this and all the signatories for their participation. I further urge the parties to cooperate fully under the terms of the Agreement so as to ensure unhindered access to the monitoring and verification teams in the field.
As we begin a new year, it remains my belief that the IGAD-led revitalisation process provides us all with the most effective platform upon which to confront and resolve the severe security, governance, economic and humanitarian crises that continue to overwhelm South Sudan. I wish to commend the IGAD Special Envoy, Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wais, for his tenacity in leading this process.
The Forum will convene again in two week’s time and continue its systematic review and invigoration of the Peace Agreement. It is beholden upon us all to keep our faith in this process and support it with all the resources at our disposal.
The single most powerful contribution that can be made by the regional and international community is to speak with ONE VOICE. Only if we stand together, unified in our approach, will we help the South Sudanese leaders find and sustain the spirit of compromise and engagement that will deliver peace and stability.
In four days time, in Addis Ababa, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairman of IGAD, will host another consultative meeting between the United Nations, the African Union and the Heads of State and Government of IGAD. The resolute unity and determination of these three institutions will be necessary to bring about positive and sustainable change in South Sudan.
The speed and alacrity with which some parties and individuals violated the cessation of hostilities, leads me to raise, once again, the key issue of enforcement.
For the revitalisation process to be successful and for it to have the value and meaning that we would all wish it to have, there must be a clear understanding among all South Sudanese leaders of the consequences of non-compliance and the determination of the world to ensure that the Agreements they sign are complied with.
We cannot stand by as South Sudanese leaders sign an agreement one day and authorise or allow its violation with impunity the next.
We must address, with one voice, the issue of non-compliance and make clear the consequences to be faced by those who wilfully violate, spoil or derail the Peace Agreement in South Sudan.
Articles 14.2 and 14.3 of the current cessation of hostilities agreement provide that the Chairperson of JMEC shall report any serious breaches to the TGoNU, IGAD, AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council for their action. The actions refered to may include the measures decided by the 28th Extraordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government, issued on 7th November 2014, namely:
The enactment of asset freezes
The enactment of regional travel bans, and
The denial of the supply of arms and ammunition, and any other material that could be used in war.
It is now time to revisit the range of practical measures that can be applied in earnest to those who refuse to take this process seriously and make clear to all concerned that the world will not tolerate any further disruption to our efforts to deliver peace.
Over the coming weeks IGAD will continue along its path to revitalise the Peace Agreement, and along with you all, I wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm my total commitment to this process.
Together, with one voice, we can challenge those who peddle violence and self-interest and we urge the TGoNU and all parties to continue to engage in this inclusive, political process.
As I said earlier, the IGAD Revitalisation Forum is the best opportunity to restore peace and rebuild governance in South Sudan and the process must not be derailed.
Thank you, Mr President, and Happy New Year to you all.