By Biruktayet Bihon
August 7, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- South Sudanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Mr. James Pitia Morgan accused South Sudanese opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar of being negligent on the implementation of the peace agreement signed on September 12, 2018.
The accusation comes after parties to the South Sudan peace plan had agreed to delay the formation of a transitional government. However, according to the Ambassador, the South Sudan’s main rebel leader, Dr. Riek Manchar, refused to go back to Juba for security reasons.
In an exclusive interview with Ezega News, Ambassador James P. Morgan said his government has been actively engaged in implementing the peace accord reached on September 12, 2018.
“Dr. Riek Machar’s unwillingness to return back to South Sudan and participate in the peace process is the main obstacle to implementing the peace agreement,’ he said
“Unlike the rebel leaders lack of commitment, the South Sudan government has allocated a total of 100 Million US Dollars to facilitate the implementation of the peace agreement,’ the Ambassador further said.
According to Ambassador Morgan, the allocation of capital would maintain army demobilization that would require further expenses to provide basic necessities for the army prior to the formation of the national unity government that would make Riek Machar the first Vice President of South Sudan.
President Kiir, Dr. Machar and a handful of other groups inked the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) in September 12, 2018 that ended the civil war in the newest African country. The war started in 2013, soon after the founding of the country.
According to the agreement, a deadline of May 12, 2019, was set to provide ample time to form the structures of the new government. However, only 27 of the 59 tasks listed in the agreement have been completed. Seventeen of the 59 are still ongoing while 15 others are stalled, according to the Ambassador.
The implementation has been criticized by United Nations and other international actors as slow. The United States has expressed its concern through imposing sanctions that was highly criticized by the South Sudan leaders.
Ambassador Morgan in this regard said recent US sanctions on the war-ravaged young African nation encouraged rebels to refuse to implement the recently-signed peace agreement. The Ambassador pointed out that US arms embargo and targeted sanctions on South Sudan are the problems preventing peace from returning to the country.
The September 18, 2018 agreement followed a string of failed peace deals between the warring parties. However, the latest agreement has largely held so far, despite both parties missing key deadlines.
Following the unanimous agreement to extend the pre-transitional period by an additional six months, starting from May 12, 2019, the Troika report (from sponsors Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States)), had warned Juba to ensure urgent formation of the transitional government so that elections can be held in March 2022. Released on April 30, 2019, the report then stated “The Agreement is at a critical juncture, with the scheduled date for the formation of the transitional government days away. The parties to the conflict and in the region need to redouble their efforts to move the peace process forward. To demonstrate political will, we urge the parties to work together in a spirit of compromise to build trust among South Sudanese leaders and the South Sudanese people.”
IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais on his part stressed his concern over the implementation of critical components of the peace agreement.
The Special Envoy noted that the extension signed on the day the transitional government was supposed to have been installed means the chief principals, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar now have more time to iron out their differences. Ambassador Wais said the rescheduling will allow both parties to discuss sticking issues.
“The determination of the parties to continue to work in a spirit of cooperation and consensus was clear, and accordingly the extension that was agreed upon unanimously through compromise.”
“All Parties regard the peace process as the best chance for stability and ending the suffering of the people of South Sudan. This is welcome news as it allows the parties to accelerate the implementation of the pending tasks,” said Mr. Wais.
Special Envoy Wais also applauded most important actors like Ethiopia who played an important role in facilitating conditions towards the realization of the peace deal in South Sudan. Ambassador James Pitia Morgan echoed the special envoy’s sentiment and described Ethiopia as the leading country to host the reconciliation summits as Chair of IGAD (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development).
November 2019 is expected to be the marking point to form the Coalitional National Government of the Republic of South Sudan.