African leaders call on UN and international community to end conflict in South Sudan

August 8, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Frederic Noy

 

By

Peter Louis

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Plus countries held its Second Extra-Ordinary Summit meeting on 5th August 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and deliberated on the prevailing situation in the Republic of South Sudan.

The meeting was chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and current Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, and was attended by Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya; Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; and General Taban Deng Gai, representing the President of the Republic of South Sudan.

Also in attendance in the meeting were Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; Rachid Benlounes, representing the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; Kettong Doradji, representing the President of the Republic of Chad; Godfrey A.E. Odudigbo, representing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Ndumiso N. Ntshinga, representing the President of the Republic of South Africa; Ellen Margrethe Loej, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and the Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC); Festus G. Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC); and Amb (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary.

 

IGAD photo

 

 

The Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus:

 

  1. Takes note of the report and recommendations made by the Chairperson of JMEC, the Head of UNMISS and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission;

  1. Recalls the previous decisions of the UN, the African Union and IGAD on the situation in the Republic of South Sudan since the outbreak of the crisis in the Republic of South Sudan in particular the Communiqué of the First Extra Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Plus, as well as the decision on the Situation in the Republic of South Sudan by the 27th African Union Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, both held in Kigali, Rwanda;

  1. Expresses deep concern over the internal displacement of South Sudanese people facing grave humanitarian situation and the massive exodus of refugees to neighboring countries, which constitute a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions,

  1. Underlines once again that the situation in South Sudan is a serious threat to regional peace, security and stability, and recognizes that the neighboring countries have been shouldering the heavy burden of the conflict since its outbreak in December 2013, including continued and intensive flow of refugees, as well as proliferation of illicit small arms and weapons;

  1. Reiterates that the international community, particularly the UN Security Council, has the duty and moral responsibility to act decisively and swiftly in support of the IGAD and AU efforts with a view to bringing to an end the suffering inflicted upon the people of South Sudan and facilitating the early and sustainable solution to the conflict;

  1. Reiterates its condemnation in strongest terms the fighting that broke out in Juba on 8th July 2016 between the guards of the former First Vice President and the presidential guards in the Presidential Palace (J1) resulting in huge loss of lives, displacement of the civilian population and destruction of property, also condemns the reported widespread sexual violence, including rape of women and young girls by armed men in uniform. In this respect, reiterates its call for an urgent in-depth independent investigation by the African Union on the fighting that took place in Juba and to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that they are held accountable for their criminal acts;

  1. Requests the African Union Commission, in consultation with the United Nations, and building on existing regional and continental capabilities, to look into the best mechanisms for timely and effective action to address large scale mass atrocities in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Protocol Establishing the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and Chapter VIII of the UN Charter;

  1. Condemns also the targeting of the diplomatic personnel, UN compound and Protection of Civilian Sites (POCs) that resulted in the deaths of peacekeepers, as well as attack on aid workers and looting of the UN humanitarian stores by armed groups. In this regard, demands that the looted equipment be returned immediately and unconditionally;

  1. Further condemns the continuing obstruction of Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism – Monitoring and Verification Teams (CTSAMM-MVTs) and UNMISS from implementing their tasks and mandates, and calls upon the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) to issue the necessary orders to guarantee CTSAMM and UNMISS freedom of movement and to respect the Status of Forces Agreement between the Republic of South Sudan and UNMISS;

  1. Endorses the outcome of the meeting of the East African Chiefs of Defense Staff held on 29th July 2016, in Addis Ababa, on the deployment of a Regional Protection Force as the basis for further and urgent discussion with the United Nations towards reaching a common ground on speedy deployment of the Force under UNMISS;

  1. Calls upon the UN Security Council to urgently extend the mission of UNMISS with a revised mandate including the deployment of the Regional Protection Force with distinct responsibilities under the direct command of a commander who will report to the overall UNMISS Force Commander, to be based in Juba;

  1. Directs the East African Chiefs of Defense Staff to invite their counterparts in the TGoNU to discuss the modalities of the implementation of their recommendations including the immediate return to the implementation of Chapter Two of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) with the objective of unification and integration of the forces;

  1. Notes the position of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan that:

    a) Accepts in principle the deployment of the Regional Protection Force for the protection of the IDPs, humanitarian agencies and JMEC,

    b) The composition, mandate, armament, deployment, timing and funding shall be agreed upon by the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), and c) Leadership changes in SPLM/AIO is solely an internal matter and the region should work with the current setup of the TGoNU;

  1. Calls upon the TGoNU to work expeditiously on the deployment of the Regional Protection Force, and in this regard, stresses that the Government bears a heavy responsibility to facilitate the deployment of the Force to avoid further deterioration of the situation and create a conducive environment for effective functioning of the TGoNU and the implementation of the ARCSS;

  1. Encourages H.E. Dr Riek Machar to rejoin the peace process and for H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the people of South Sudan to embrace a return to the spirit of long lasting peace in their country. In this regard, welcomes the gesture of H.E. General Taban Deng Ghai to step down with a view of returning to the status quo ante in line with the ARCSS for the sake of peace and stability in the Republic of South Sudan;

  1. Calls upon the parties to desist from any action and negative rhetoric that undermines the ARCSS and to honor their commitment that they have entered into when signing the Agreement and urges them to fully implement the Agreement, as it is the only framework for durable peace, reconciliation and national cohesion;

  1. Commends and expresses strong support to H.E. Festus G. Mogae, the JMEC Chairperson for his relentless efforts to bring about peace and national reconciliation in the Republic of South Sudan and condemns any threat to the independent functioning of JMEC, as well as CTSAMM Observers as provided for by the ARCSS;

  2. Calls upon the international community to enhance its financial and technical support to TGoNU to enable it move forward with the implementation of the ARCSS;

  1. Appeals to the international community and humanitarian agencies to continue assisting the affected populations in South Sudan by strengthening their presence and mobilizing requisite resources for the 6.1 million South Sudanese that need humanitarian assistance including the 1.6 million internally displaced and 900,000 refugees in the neighboring countries, and in this connection, demands the TGoNU to guarantee safe humanitarian corridors for passage of displaced communities and delivery of humanitarian supplies;

  1. Underlines that this communiqué represents the united stance and considered view of the IGAD Plus, and looks forward to the individual and collective support of all UN Security Council members, including invoking the Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. In this regard, requests the Chairperson of the AUC to urgently transmit this communiqué to the UN Secretary General and, through him, to the UN Security Council for its action as appropriate and to engage all concerned Africa’s partners to mobilize their support and to report on the AU Peace and Security Council. And further requests the AU to initiate discussion with the UN for the implementation of the communiqué;

  1. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

 

 

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the communique of the Heads of State and Government of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Plus countries. He commended the IGAD leaders for their decisive action and welcomed the Government of South Sudan’s acceptance of a regional protection force. He also called on all South Sudanese leaders to set aside their personal differences and demonstrate their commitment to the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, which remains the only viable path to ending the crisis.

The Secretary-General remained deeply concerned about the continued fighting in the country and called for an immediate end to the hostilities. He is outraged by the continued reports of serious human rights violations and abuses, including widespread sexual violence against women and young girls, committed by armed men in uniform. He called on all parties to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians and demands that they take immediate steps to hold accountable those responsible for these despicable crimes.

Ban Ki-moon reiterated his commitment to work with all South Sudanese, IGAD, the African Union and international partners, to implement the recommendations of this summit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peter Louis

Peter Louis works as a freelance Videographer and Journalist in the Republic of South Sudan. He previously worked for Ebony TV, South Sudan Radio and South Sudan TV, Wau.

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