Monday, 05 February 2018 12:37

- Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers, H.E. Workneh Gebeyehu

- Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat

- IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, H.E. Amb. Ismail Wais

- Honourable Ministers 

- Your Excellencies 

- Distinguished Participants 

- Ladies and Gentlemen

1. On behalf of the JMEC Chairperson, and on my own behalf, I bring you greetings and best wishes for a peaceful and joyful 2018.  

2. Let me at the outset, congratulate the IGAD Council of Ministers and the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, for the successful conclusion of the first phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum that culminated in an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access signed by all parties on 21st December 2017.

3. The Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities (2017) marked an important first step towards creating the conditions necessary for the revitalization process and to build confidence among the population that indeed their leaders are willing and able to put the interest of their country first, and peacefully resolve their differences.

4. I commend all the South Sudanese delegations participating in this Forum for their very cordial and constructive engagement that facilitated the success of the first phase of the Forum and I urge them to continue in that same spirit during this second phase. 

5. This is an opportunity that cannot be squandered. Your people are looking up to you and they pray and hope that you don’t let them down – not again. They want to get out of Protection of Civilians sites, they want to return home from the harsh conditions in refugee settlements across the borders and they want to be able to till their land, grow food, send their children to school and build the country. 

6. It is sad when leaders make promises that they do not intend to keep. Citizens’ hopes are raised and dashed in equal measures. The same applies to peace agreements. We must implement and adhere to what is agreed on, not sign an agreement today and violate it tomorrow.

7. CTSAMM has reported that while the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (2017) resulted in a general atmosphere of calm in the country, several violations occurred. 

8. The six violation reports submitted to JMEC by CTSAMM since December 2017, identified several incidents which constitute violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. These include fighting; unauthorized troop movements; abduction and detention; looting; rape; continued conscription of children into fighting forces as well as  use of hostile propaganda.

9. I commend all the Parties to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (2017) that have adhered to the Agreement and have not been named in CTSAMM’s violation reports. 

       Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. In addition to the above incidents of alleged violations, CTSAMM too, has faced some challenges related to its reporting and verification mandate including physical obstruction and negative publicity. 

11. JMEC reiterates its call to all parties to respect, cooperate and facilitate CTSAMM’S monitoring and verification teams on the ground.

12. In this respect, I commend all the Parties who attended the CTSAMM’s Cessation of Hostilities Agreement implementation workshop convened here in Addis Ababa in January 2018 which established modalities for its implementation.

13. I also commend CTSAMM for successfully convening the workshop. I repeat JMEC’s appeal to all signatories to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (2017) to fully respect and comply with its terms.

14. The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement must be taken seriously. Violations should not only be condemned but measures must be taken by all parties to hold violators accountable.

        Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

15. Today, we are at a critical juncture. The commencement of Phase Two of the High Level Revitalization Forum is another milestone in the revitalization process.

16. In the next ten days, the parties will deliberate on how to achieve full and inclusive implementation of the revitalized Agreement, and how to restore and sustain the Permanent Ceasefire with revised timelines and implementation schedules.

17. This task is achievable. What is needed now is the same spirit of comradeship that won the country its independence. Accommodate one another, make compromises and agree on concrete measures to revitalize the Peace Agreement.

          Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

18. Finally, let me end by recalling JMEC Chairpersons’ expectations of a revitalized Peace Agreement at the launch of the High Level Revitalization Forum namely: 

i. An inclusive political process which brings together all Parties and estranged groups;

ii. Revised Transitional Security Arrangements and timelines with robust verification and enforcement mechanisms;

iii. An overall enforcement mechanism that includes accountability measures for spoilers and violators;

iv. Clear measures to address the current dire humanitarian situation and facilitate eventual voluntary return of internally displaced persons and repatriation of refugees;

v. Specific reforms that ensure the conduct of credible, free and fair elections at the end of a transitional period;

vi. And finally, dedicated funding for implementation of the revitalized Peace Agreement.

I thank you!