Peace principals urged to deescalate tensions

President Salva Kiir Mayardit [R] and the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar [L]/Courtesy photo

By Taban Henry

The united states on Tuesday issued a press release calling upon President Salva Kiir and the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar to do their best to scale down tensions while upholding their respective obligations under the 2018 peace agreement including its ceasefire provisions.

On Thursday last week, fresh clashes hit the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition in Longechuk County in Upper Nile State.

In the same week Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) tendered a letter to the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, (RJMEC) suspending their participation in the meetings of the Ceasefire Monitoring body including the RJMEC.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) accused the SSPDF soldiers for attacking and taking over control of their positions in Jekou.

The fighting that erupted on 24th of March was between parties to the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.

This was revealed to the media in a press statement released by the United States department of state on Tuesday seen by No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.

The US Department of State called President Salva Kiir and the First Vice President Riek Machar to do their best to deescalate the tensions and uphold their respective obligation under the 2018 peace agreement.

“We call on both the two leaders to resume implementation of the key, long-delayed provisions of the Revitalized Peace Agreement including taking the necessary steps to establish an inclusive process to draft a new constitution to establish necessary electoral legislation and mechanism to respect the freedom of expression,” the statement said.

The statement stated that both sides have to observe fully their obligations under the existing peace agreement and note that inflammatory rhetoric is counterproductive and should cease   immediately.

It added that the withdrawal of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in opposition (SPLM/A-IO) from all peace agreement monitoring and verification mechanisms undermines the peace agreement and must be immediately revised as monitoring bodies investigate the recent violence and seek to hold perpetrators responsible.

“We urge the regional states and the institutions namely, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development [IGAD] that are the guarantors of the Revitalized Peace Agreement to take swift actions to lower tensions and put the peace process back on track prior to the expiration of the already extended transitional period,” the statement added.

According to the statement all sides bear responsibility for the deteriorating situation neither President Kiir nor First Vice President Machar have made good faith efforts to implement the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement and both have resisted serious attempts to move South Sudan towards the peace, security and prosperity the South Sudanese desire.

“Numerous other political leaders have failed to carry out their official responsibilities and many engage in political violence and otherwise violate the letter and spirit of the peace agreement. We call on all members of the Revitalized Transitional gov’t of National Unity to take the actions necessary to be seen as credible in the eyes of the South Sudanese people, starting with full adherence to the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement,” the statement warned.

The statement noted that the United States is concerned about the growing tensions in South Sudan including recent clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defenses Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition in Upper Nile state.

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