31 May S. Sudan’s warring parties urged on “unconditional” ceasefire
May 29, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – A United States delegation that visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia appealed to the warring factions in the South Sudanese conflict to unconditionally declare a ceasefire.
The delegation, led by the acting director in the office of the U.S. special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Paul Sutphin, also warned that any party to the conflict that fails to declare ceasefire would face the wrath of both the international community and the region.
“We also want to remind the warring parties that the conflict in South Sudan has immensely cost American a lot in terms of financial and materials resources support,” partly reads a statement released after the delegation’s meeting with South Sudan armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) members at the movement’s mission in Ethiopia.
“Therefore, there must be a political settlement to the conflict for the interests of the people of South Sudan and the international community that supports them”, it added.
The U.S government, it delegation stressed, strongly demands that the warring parties go back to political dialogue and anytime, hinting on what they said was the collapse of the 2015 peace deal.
“There is no government in Juba which is implementing the signed peace agreement. The agreement needs to be revived. We are willing to talk and support the process of reviving the peace agreement,” the U.S delegation reportedly told the SPLM-IO team.
While officially launching the national dialogue initiative last week, South Sudan President Salva Kiir declared a unilateral ceasefire with the country’s rebels, stressing the need for an end to the ongoing war.
Officials from the armed opposition faction led by former First Vice-President, Riek Machar, however, dismissed the president’s dialogue, which they described as a “one-sided” initiative from the president.
Meanwhile, the SPLM/SPLA-IO members agreed with the U.S delegation that the peace agreement had collapsed and should be revived through an inclusive political process that requires the involvement of the two warring parties to the conflict in South Sudan.
“If there is any political process in the country, the SPLM/SPLA-IO Chairman and C-in -C Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon should be the one leading the SPLM-IO,” the SPLM-IO team told the U.S delegation.
Also highlighted by the armed opposition at the meeting was the “dire” humanitarian situation in the war-torn East African nation. Of concern, they mainly observed, was the Juba government’s “intentional” refusal to give access to international humanitarian organisations to reach the needy people starving to death because of the famine it has created.
“Therefore, SPLM/-IO demands that humanitarian corridors be opened through all countries bordering South Sudan. The Sudan Government has already started the lead and the SPLM-IO appreciates the taken move by the Sudanese Government”.
The South Sudanese rebel faction members claimed they were still adhering to the declared 11 August 2016 unilateral ceasefire and would be willing to re-negotiate for any renewal of the ceasefire.
“SPLM /SPLA –IO demands that some protocols or clauses within the signed Peace Agreement in August 2015, should be revised.The case in point is Security Arrangement Protocols,” adds the statement, amid calls for urgent deployment of regional protection forces.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced by the country’s worst-ever violence since it broke away from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.