Statement of the High-Level Meeting of the JMEC Partners Group on South Sudan
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Partners Group—including representatives of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Chad, China, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, the African Union Commission, the European Union, the IGAD Partners Forum and the United Nations have met to discuss implementation of all aspects of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). In this regard, we commend President Festus G. Mogae on the work he has done as JMEC Chairperson and on the JMEC report delivered to the AU Peace and Security Council on January 29. We also look forward to his report to the UN Security Council tomorrow.
We welcome the Government of South Sudan’s February 11 appointment of the First Vice President, but remain concerned by delays in formation of the transitional government in South Sudan. Together with the IGAD Council of Ministers and African Union Peace and Security Council we call for the Agreement’s signatories, once sufficiently represented in Juba, to form a transitional government without further delay. In this regard, it is essential that all parties to the agreement participate in formation of the government; proceeding unilaterally would undermine the letter and spirit of the peace agreement. Issues such as the number of new states and the designation of state boundaries are best resolved within an inclusive process under the transitional government.
Forming the transitional government requires progress on agreed security arrangements for Juba, the cantonment of SPLA troops at least 25km outside Juba, and the return of SPLM-IO security forces. We urge that these commitments be carried out expeditiously.
We are deeply troubled by ongoing reports of ceasefire violations, such as those detailed in the January 2016 JMEC report, as well as the catastrophic humanitarian situation. All parties must honor their commitment to a permanent ceasefire and to granting unfettered access for CTSAMM monitors and humanitarian assistance.
We fully support President Mogae’s work, his mandate, the integrity of JMEC, and the decisions taken so far in furtherance of the peace agreement. We also note that the ultimate responsibility for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan rests with its leaders. South Sudan faces an economic crisis of incredible proportion; it can only be addressed by a functioning transitional government. It is time for the country’s leaders to work together and give the people of South Sudan what they want and deserve—peace.
The JMEC Partners Group will remain in close contact with our representatives in Juba, and will together remain vigilant in supporting JMEC and the South Sudanese parties to ensure all elements of the agreement are implemented in good faith. The group will convene again in April in Addis Ababa to further support South Sudan and ARCSS implementation, and may also convene on an ad hoc basis as necessary.