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South Sudan factions urged to make progress in forming new government: UN envoy

NAIROBI, Kenya­––The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan, David Shearer, on Wednesday called on the country’s warring factions to take bold steps toward formation of a new power-sharing government as part of a 2018 peace deal.

Shearer said the peace agreement signed on September 12 last year is already behind schedule and the parties to the pact must work hard to meet a May 12 deadline to form a new unity government.

“My very strong view, and it’s one that I shared with the Security Council, is that there is no Plan B. There is only a Plan A, the peace agreement that we have in front of us, and this is the path forward,” Shearer told reporters in Juba.

Nearly seven months into the pre-transitional period, parties to the peace deal have failed to implement key provisions of the accord such as cantonment and integration of forces and delays in determining the number of states.

The UN envoy warned that failure to implement the peace agreement poses great threat for rebirth of violence across the conflict-torn east African country.

“A peace that falters will generate frustration, anger and a possible return to violence that could equal that of 2013 and 2016. We cannot allow that to happen,” Shearer said.

“It is my hope that there will be enough on the table and done to enable the transitional government to take shape and come into force,” he said.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally. A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.

Under the new peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar, along with four others will once again be reinstated as Kiir’s deputy.

“That would be my hope that all opposition groups could come together even if we have not resolved everything. They might be able to sit together, and we can do that while the transitional government goes on,” Shearer stressed.

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Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere

Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere is a public affairs researcher and senior investigative correspondent.
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