Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:21

Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council;

Commissioner for Peace and Security;

Your Excellencies Permanent Representatives;

Ladies and Gentlemen;


1. Thank you for your kind invitation to brief you all today. I convey the kind regards and best wishes of our JMEC Chairman, H.E. President Festus Mogae, who sadly cannot be here to deliver our report in person.

2. I come to you today directly from phase two of the High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF), which convened here in Addis Ababa at the UN Economic Commission for Africa on Monday and where over 100 South Sudanese delegates and leaders are addressing their differences.

3. Before I talk in more detail about that, JMEC would like to bring you up to date with the current situation in South Sudan.

Chairperson, Commissioner, Members of the Council;

4. As you are aware, the first session of the High Level Revitalisation Forum resulted in the signing of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (ACOH) on 21st December last year.

5. The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) has moved quickly to monitor and verify the situation on the ground, as violation claims and counter claims are made by some of the Parties.

6. CTSAMM informs us that whilst there is evidence that in certain areas the Parties are striving to implement the COHA, it is apparent that:

a) the agreement has not been fully promulgated by the Parties to all their units in the field;

b) in most areas they are yet to embrace the fundamental principles of freezing forces in place and disengaging where they are in close proximity; and that

c) the adherence of the Parties to inform CTSAMM of any planned military movement, has yet to be fully complied with.

7. Continued movement of troops and failure to disengage from close proximity are causes of tension, unrest and concern in Upper Nile State, northern Jonglei State and across the Equatorias, where clashes and the threat of clashes are prevalent.

8. JMEC condemns all violations that have occurred thus far and has called upon all signatories to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to disseminate the terms of the agreement to their subordinate commanders to ensure immediate and consistent compliance.

9. CTSAMM has now announced the commencement of comprehensive verification missions across South Sudan during February and March, informing the parties of their intention to follow up on information provided by them.

10. Under the coordination guidelines agreed at the CTSAMM Cessation of Hostilities Agreement workshop in Addis Ababa last month, CTSAMM has sent notification to the parties of their intent and made a request for blanket cooperation from all their forces and unit commanders across the country to facilitate the Monitoring and Verification teams (MVTs) in the performance of their work.

Chairperson, Commissioner, Members of the Council;

11. The National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) continues to work diligently and expeditiously. Five security sector amendment bills were completed and submitted to the Minister of Justice two weeks ago, on 25th January, 2018. The NCAC is already in the process of reviewing the National Elections Act and Political Parties Act and has received submissions from parties and stakeholders.

12. It is however, disappointing that the Constitutional Amendment Bill, which incorporates the ARCSS into the TCSS, and which was submitted to the Minister of Justice back in April last year, has yet to be tabled in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly for ratification.

13. The humanitarian situation has seen no improvement in recent months and we await evidence of any significant improvement to humanitarian access around the country. The number of refugees and displaced persons remains at around 4 million.

14. Last week UNHCR launched its South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2018, in which they ask for USD 1.5 billion to cater for the needs of South Sudan refugees in neighbouring countries. This is in addition to the USD 1.7 billion already requested by the humanitarian community to support those in need inside South Sudan. In short, a staggering USD 3.2 billion is being requested for by the aid agencies from the donor community to support South Sudanese people within and outside their country.

15. Improvements in economic stability in South Sudan have stalled and we must now raise the prospect of a mounting financial crisis. In December last year, we described the worsening economic and financial situation in South Sudan and its possible impact on inflation and the exchange rate. Not surprisingly, the exchange rate has weakened by around 30 per cent over the period from 1st January to 5th February, 2018. This development translates into higher import prices and higher inflation.

16. While the oil price has risen more favourably than anticipated, and contributed to higher gross oil revenues, the impact on the exchange rate has been more than neutralised by payments of arrears in transfers to the Republic of Sudan. Ultimately, if the TGoNU does not gain access to sufficient international borrowing or grant financing, a sustained downward pressure of the exchange rate is inevitable.

17. Given the current state of Government finances, it will be difficult for the Government to create the fiscal space needed for the funding of any mechanisms under the Peace Agreement.

Chairperson, Commissioner, Members of the Council;

18. The successful convening of the HLRF just before Christmas was a huge and welcome step forward. A platform for inclusive, political dialogue had been established through which the challenges that confront the peace process can be addressed and resolved.

19. The HLRF has re-convened to continue its systematic review and invigoration of the Peace Agreement. The parties are now deliberating on how to achieve full and inclusive implementation of a revitalized Agreement, and how to restore and sustain the Permanent Ceasefire with revised timelines and implementation schedules. This task is achievable.

20. JMEC welcome the constructive engagement of all the parties and participants and trust that this will be sustained as we continue to make progress. I must congratulate Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, for his determination in this matter. It is beholden upon us all to keep our faith in this process and support it with all the resources at our disposal.

21. With one voice, the region and the international community has called for strong and unequivocal consequences for those who violate the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, or in any other way wilfully spoil or derail the peace process. The question we must address now is not whether there should be consequences, but what those consequences should be and how they can be effectively imposed?

22. Ultimately, responsibility for the direction that the country takes lies with the Government and the parties of South Sudan, but IGAD and the AU, supported by the wider international community, has a critical role to play.

23. It is essential that the AU remains engaged, committed and focused throughout the revitalisation process, so that your reinforcing and reassuring support can be brought to bear effectively. Together, we have to help the South Sudanese leaders find and sustain the spirit of compromise and engagement that will deliver long term peace and stability.

24. JMEC therefore urges this Council to maintain a unified approach, demonstrate One Voice, challenge those who peddle self-interest, and decide the application of real measures against those who violate the Agreement.

I thank you.