UN urges South Sudan's warring parties to fulfil peace deal
Opposition leader Riek Machar warned the country could return to civil war if a unity government were not formed this month
The UN Security Council on Wednesday called on South Sudan’s warring parties to publicly reaffirm their commitment to a peace deal signed more than a year ago that calls for a coalition government to be formed on November 12.
The council expressed concern that during their recent visit to South Sudan, its members “did not observe substantive progress on implementation of key elements of the peace agreement”.
Under the agreement, opposition leader Riek Machar is to return to the capital Juba on November 12 and once again serve as President Salva Kiir’s deputy, as part of a power-sharing deal.
The agreement is intended to pull the country out of a five-year civil war that has killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been slowly emerging from the civil war but the fragile peace deal signed in September 2018 has so far been marked by delays and continued fighting in some parts.
Mr Machar made an impassioned plea to the Security Council delegation that met him in Juba on October 20.
He said the truce enjoyed by much of the country for more than a year would end if a unity government were not formed by the November deadline.
Mr Machar said the country could return to civil war, which is what happened when the previous power-sharing effort was attempted in 2016.
His supporters say he will not return to South Sudan for good until adequate security arrangements are in place.
The Security Council “strongly encouraged” the East African regional group Igad to keep up its efforts to ensure “the peaceful formation of an inclusive transitional government” in South Sudan, and to resolve the issue of Mr Machar’s status.
The council said the warring parties also needed to fulfil benchmarks in the peace deal and ceasefire agreements.
“Full implementation of all provisions of the peace agreement remains the only path that will set the country towards the goal of peace, stability and development," council members said.
Updated: November 7, 2019 05:50 AM