Ahead of his briefing to the United Nations Security Council next week, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, is urging political leaders to make a fresh push to fully implement the peace agreement so that free, fair, and peaceful elections can be held.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Juba, Mr. Haysom said commendable progress has been made by the parties since the signing of the peace deal in 2018. However, there is frustration among key stakeholders and people across the country that the pace of implementation remains too slow.
“There cannot continue to be a ‘business as usual’ approach. The parties must inject fresh urgency into the process and demonstrate a sustained, collective political will to finalize critical areas of the agreement,” he said. “This includes transitional security arrangements, legislation promoting financial and judicial reform, and constitution-making so that elections can be held.”
The SRSG pointed to concerns raised by analysts and commentators recently that, if the slow pace of implementing peace continues, there is a risk that the viability of the broader agreement will come under threat.
“The question is, will there come a time in which people say the peace agreement has lost credibility?” he said. “We are not saying that. We have been saying to people consistently, please believe in the peace agreement, please work at it.”
In addition to the stagnating peace process, communities across South Sudan are suffering from increased subnational violence and the dire humanitarian situation which has been exacerbated by the worst floods in 60 years.
At least 800,000 people have been affected by the floods in places such as Jonglei and Unity. Many have been displaced, their homes, crops and stock wiped out by the rising waters.
Humanitarian agencies are working hard to reach vulnerable communities but are facing a significant gap in funding and resources given the escalating number of those in need. Journalists at the press conference asked the SRSG what his message is to the international community in response to this situation.
“While we appreciate the eyes of the world are on Ethiopia and Sudan, it would be wrong to neglect and walk away from the situation in South Sudan – not to recognize that it’s an integral part of the region and needs the same level of interest and support that the other countries in the region are getting.”
Mr. Haysom concluded by saying that the international community and UNMISS would be able to play an even greater role in supporting the government and people of South Sudan if concrete progress was made towards finalizing the implementation of the peace agreement.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).