By William Madouk Garang
Members of the peace monitoring body, the RJMEC have endorsed the two-year extension of the transitional period, but diplomats representing Troika countries abstained from the vote.
The United States of America, United Kingdom and Norway known as the Troika countries declined to back the extension, citing that a time frame of 3-months must be given to involve citizens in consultation process.
Members were asked to consent or not to consent to the extension of the transitional period, effective from February 23, until February 22, 2024 as agreed by peace parties in which majority voted in favor.
Two-third which is 37 out of 42 members of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring & Evaluation Commission voted in favor of extension during the RJMEC 2nd extraordinary meeting.
The RJMEC chairperson, Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai asked members if they wished to make a decision on the extension or to discuss it after 3 months to enable the RTGoNU time for consultations with citizens.
“37 voted in favor of making the decision today, while 3 voted in favor of extending by three months. 4 members did not vote,” Gituai announced the outcomes.
Meanwhile, Troika said in statement they recognized the revitalized agreement as the only path to peace building and stability but echoed lack of political will among partners and limited consultations.
“The Troika, as voting members of RJMEC, could not support the extension at this time. We require further evidence of the government’s commitment to deliver on new roadmap and fully implement R-ARCSS,” read part of the statement.
“Our lack of support for the proposed extension in today’s extraordinary RJMEC meeting does not diminish our commitment to the South Sudanese people’s quest for peace, prosperity and democracy,” it added.
Martin Elia Lomuro, a member of ITGoNU and Minister of Cabinet Affairs thanked EU and IMF, asserting that he was not surprised by Troika’s stance due to their designed strategy to break the nation.
“EU and IMF’s support today have given us indication that they have developed confidence and ability to recognize our efforts,” Lomuro said.
“There are 4 out of 7 that have voted yes, with exception of Norway, U.K and U.S, and I am not surprised because they did not even sign the agreement, the same strategy that are designed to break this country,” he added.
However, the U.K envoy to South Sudan, Jonny Baxter refuted saying, “I think it’s important to correct the record, there is no Troika strategy as was described and we are like everyone else in this room we share the core for peace”.
“What this room had is a concern of the process and it’s a matter of deep regrets to hear those described opposition or everyone else in this room in term used and I think it’s inaccurate” he added.
Micheal Makuei Lueth, a member of ITGoNU who is the Minister of Information and the unity government spokesman congratulated the parties, adding they will continue implementing peace without Troika.
“Originally, Troika is not signatory to the agreement and they are not even supposed to be sitting here but we allowed them to sit but if they have come here in order to obstruct our own initiative and they abstain from it, then we will continue without them unless they come back to us,” Makuei noted.
“America has withdrawn its support from security mechanisms and we managed to graduate forces without American support and we will continue to implement the agreement without their support,” he added.
Mr. Makuei further stressed that they will implement the agreement with their own resources and will never rely on outsiders, but asserted that any good-Samaritan who would offer them support is welcome.
The Peace monitor urged the unity government to review and update the timelines in the implementation matrix contained and annex to the roadmap for tasks whose times have elapsed.
RJMEC also called on government to budget and allocate sufficient funding to the implementation of the roadmap in a clear and transparent manner, and engage in wider consultation with stakeholders.
The proposed extension of transition period, under Art. 1.1.2; is now expected to be presented back to the Council of Ministers, afterward it will be tabled before the Transitional National Parliament for amendment and ratification.