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Observation Report on IGAD led High Level Revitalization Forum

ABSTRACT:

The process of finalizing the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) under Sudan mediation is intended to accelerate and renew commitment of the warring parties to pledge for peaceful settlement of the political crisis in the country. This essential process should meet some critical benchmarks such as inclusivity. This report examines the process of examining the HLRF under Sudan Mediation aims at building facts for promotion of trust and confidences on the revitalized ARCSS.  

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO would like on appreciate every person who has contributed in making this observation report done at various capacities.

Special thanks go to our enumerators and the journalists that cooperate with us in generating data for this survey.

Finally thanks for the media outlets that were engaged effectively in covering the peace process. Especially, those ones who we were able to used their articles in this survey as secondary data and references. Thanks you  

ABBREVIATIONS

ARCSS: Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan

AU        : African Union

AU C5: African Union Ad Hoc Level Committee Five Countries

CEPO: Community Empowerment for Progress Organization

CTSAMM: Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism

HLRF: High Level Revitalization Forum

IGAD:

JMEC: Join Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism

J1: Juba one (J1)South Sudan Presidential Palace

SPLM-IO: Sudan’ People Liberation Movement In Opposition

SPLA-IO:  Sudan’ People Liberation Army In Opposition

TGoNU: Transitional Government of National Unity

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The IGAD –led High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) was meant to renew pledge for peaceful and non-violent settlement of South Sudan on-going violence which resumed on 6th July, 2016 in the promise of the Presidential Palace called “Juba One” or nicknamed as “J1”. The concept of revitalizing the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) was initiated by Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC). JMEC triggered to champion revitalization of ARCSS because TGONU was viewed as not inclusive government. Further, new opposition groups both armed and non-armed merged to challenge the government and offer threat on peace and security. JMEC is an established mechanism of IGAD that supervises the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. The objectives of ARCSS revitalization per the decisions of the IGAD assembly of Heads of States and Government’s 31st Extra-Ordinary Summit of 12th June, 2017, held in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia which decided: “to urgently convene a High-level Revitalization Forum of the parties to the ARCSS including estranged groups to discuss concrete measures, to restore permanent ceasefire, to fully implement the peace agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic elections at the end of the transitional period”. Therefore, the objectives are centered on the followings;

  1. Revitalize ARCSS;
  2. Resolve expired provisions;
  3. Reengaged on peace implementation through revised timeline and schedule;
  4. Restore inclusivity in the government 

The revitalization process kick-off since December 2017 in Addis Ababa where first renewal of pledge for silencing guns was witnessed by the signing of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement on 21st December 2011.CEPO observation report focuses concretely on cross examining the aims and methodology for revitalizing the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. The observation then offered or proposed recommendations and way forward. The observation specifically intends to assess how much was the idea of revitalizing ARCSS practical and viable in bringing peace to South Sudan since already the idea of renegotiating the peace agreement is not part of the definition of revitalizing ARCSS. Further, this idea of non-renegotiation of ARCSS was seriously disputed by all the opposition groups.

Bearing in mind that the context of conflict resolved by ARCSS in 2015 has changed due to many aspects following the[1]6thJuly 2017 “JI” violence. Among the essential changes of the context prior revitalization of ARCSS are, the players who are signatories to ARCSS have developed concrete mistrust and lack of confidence towards each other, principle signatory such as SPLM/A-IO separated into two factions under General Taban Deng (known as [2]SPLM/A-IO in Government) and SPLM/A-IO under Dr. RiekMachar, new armed and non-armed opposition groups merged to challenge the incumbent government of national unity and some immediate neighbors of South Sudan who are also state member of IGAD have taken side with one or some of the conflicting parties.

The new merged armed and non-armed opposition [3]groups (which IGAD termed them as estranged groups in their statement of 31st Extra-Ordinary Summit of 12th June, 2017, held in Ethiopia- Addis Ababa-Ethiopia) came out with new objectives and ideas for resolving the on-going armed political violence. The efforts of Sudan mediation of the outstanding issues of governance and security is commendable although still some opposition groups felt threatened to give consent for an agreement signed dated [4]5th August 2018in Sudan-Khartoum. The great challenge facing the implementation of the agreement on outstanding issues of governance and security recently signed in Sudan-Khartoum was availability of political will for accepting the implementation of the agreement smoothly. The sense of each signatory party to the agreement has doubt for genuine implementation of the agreement with counterparts is higher. Statements made by various signatories of the agreement are expressing stronger feeling of doubts for smooth implementation of the signed agreement on the outstanding issues of governance and security in Sudan-Khartoum dated 5th August. 2018. As the HLRF process is approaching conclusion for sealing peace accord, it is necessary to start thinking about the required preparation for making the peace accord implementable. Among the paramount preparations are:

  1. The change of political attitudes and language by the principals of the conflicting parties towards each other for paving new pathway for political transformation of the situation from violence to peace. The principals of the conflicting parties turning their language to positive can contribute greatly for the citizens to have trust and confidence for owning the revitalized ARCSS. For instance the [5]president making public statement that “The peace agreement he signed with the opposition marks the end of civil war in the country forever” was remarkable but opposite of this statement is destructive. So, the principals of signing political parties have to change their language and political attitude through trust and confidence building under the auspices of church leaders.
  2. Upon formation of revitalized TGoNU, there is need for the principals of the conflicting parties especially at presidency to have reconciliation breakfast. It should be followed by joint tour of the presidency officials to the states. The presidency officials have huge task of demonstrating commitment for peace and stability of the country.
  3. Building of confidence and trust among the principals of the conflicting parties immediately upon formation of the revitalized government (Revitalized TGOUN) is paramount
  4. Some of the immediate neighbors of South Sudan that have vested interest in South Sudan are required to compromise for peace and stop facilitating actions that undermined peace and stability in South Sudan . Every moment has its beginning and end. It is the best way to obtain peaceful end of a moment than facing hard challenges during end a moment.

The principals of the conflicting parties have to understand that their [6]public statements and comments are influential in making peace and stability prevail or fail. Demonstrating positive feelings and attitudes towards revitalized ARCSS is necessary from the principals of the signatories. In the same way, the strong messages coming from some of the International Community as doubt on the peace agreement has stronger impact on making citizens lose trust and confidence in the agreement including citizens disowning the agreement

INTRODUCTION

The revitalization on the Agreement on the resolution of Conflict in South Sudan kicked-off in December 2017 in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa with the aim of gaining renewal of pledge from the previous signatories to theAgreement includingthe newly established armed and non-armed opposition groups for peaceful settlement of the existing political crisis the country is facing since mid-December2013. All South Sudanese conflicting parties and other stakeholders were engaged on invigorating the ARCSS chapter 1 on governance and chapter 2 on permanent ceasefire and security arrangements.

From early June 2018, the conflicting parties were able to reach some agreements on majority of the articles of chapter 1 and 2. But some critical issues were identified as outstanding issues of governance and security. The outstanding issues were 10 and include the following;

Governance Outstanding issues

  1. Number of States
  2. System of Governance
  3. Formation of the Government of National Unity
  4. Size of the national parliament
  5. Responsibility sharing formula 

Security Outstanding issues

  1. Cantonment of forces (All forces or partly) 
  2. Demilitarization
  3. Approach for building national security and defense forces (Army, Police, Security services and other organized forces) 
  4. Method of picking security stability (Reunification or Integration of the forces)
  5. Timeline

[7]The IGAD Summit of the 32nd Extra-Ordinary Assembly of IGAD Heads of States and Government held on 21st June 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia requested President Omer Al Bashir of Sudan to facilitate a second round of face-to-face talks between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar, including other South Sudanese parties and representatives of Civil Society, Faith Based leaders, Youth, Women and Business Communities to resolve the outstanding issues.

President Omer al Bashir of Sudan was also tasked to facilitate the 3rd phase of HLRF in Khartoum which specifically aims at addressing the 10 identified outstanding issues of governance and security

In July 2018, Sudanese mediators were able to reach agreement on the outstanding issues of permanent ceasefire and security arrangements. This is immediately followed with mediation on the outstanding issues of governance. The mediation on outstanding issues of governance took long and did not manage to win consensus on the resolutions of addressing the identified outstanding issues.

 METHODOLOGY

This observation report information was generated by the following methods:

  1. Speaking to the members of the conflicting parties during the mediation processes in Ethiopia and Sudan.
  2. Tracking the public statements made by the principals and some influential members of the conflicting parties.
  3. Assessing the media reports on the fate of the peace mediation.
  4. Assessing individuals who write on the process of the peace mediation

The report is largely informed by key informants narratives that were made public through interviews.

  1. GENERAL OVERVIEW OF REVITALIZING ARCSS CHAPTERS 1 AND 2

It was very clear from the definition of the objectives for revitalization ARCSS which does not mean renegotiating ARCSS. The objective definition is centered on the concept of just making some editing on ARCSS irrelevant /expired articles in chapter 1 and 2. Revitalization of ARCSS entailed elements of renegotiating some provisions of ARCSS in chapter 1 and 2 since the number of the conflicting parties has increased and the context of rebellion varies from one opposition group to another.

Throughout the phases of ARCSS revitalization in Addis Ababa, there was no common understanding of what is meant by revitalization. The common understanding established was of the government perspectives which arein line with IGAD perspectives for revitalization that was centered on making some minor changes in the provision of ARCSS chapter 1 and 2 without introducing new provisions as a renegotiation of ARCSS. While the opposition groups strongly believe that by revitalizing ARCSS it means renegotiating it not just merely editing of ARCSSS articles in terms of the language and reallocating timeline for renewal of pledge to implement ARCSS.

The absence of proper and common definition of revitalization of ARCSS to the conflicting parties and stakeholders contributed strongly in making disagreements or hardening making of compromises by the conflicting parties. Speaking to all the opposition group negotiators, for them revitalization of ARCSS without renegotiating chapter 1 and 2 is meaningless and waste of time. This belief has shaped the mindset of the opposition participation in ARCSS revitalization. Tracking IGAD direction of ARCSS revitalization process. The process has given chances for renegotiation of some provisions of ARCSS chapter 1 and 2. The government has not objected that but the government is keen for the idea of renegotiating small tent government. The opposition groups called for “Lean Government”. Government rejection to the idea of small tent government and standing for big tent government was because of the factors to keep General Taban Deng and his political group within the revitalized ARCSS government. The factor of Taban Deng with his political group has become the driving element of defining revitalization of ARCSS. Majority of the opposition groups stand on the ground that revitalization should be directed by IGAD for removal of General Taban Deng and his political group from the government while the government’s stand point is that revitalization means accommodation the new rebelling groups into government without removing General Taban Deng and his political group.

The core problem with the concept of revitalizing ARCSS was absence of clear practical definition for revitalizing ARCSS. All negotiating parties and stakeholders and partners of the peace process have different and clashing understanding of revitalization of ARCSS. Revitalizing ARCSS chapter 1 was easily in Sudan-Khartoum phase because the mediators being security and military experts who understood the security context of South Sudan and the stand point of the armed opposition groups. The mediators were able to direct the process of the mediation to engaged renegotiating security arrangements and permanent ceasefires.Sudan-mediation attempted to direct the process for sorting out of the outstanding issues of governance in same manner like that of security outstanding issues, but Sudan mediation could not succeed because renegotiating governance outstanding issue is at centre of the root cause of the conflict. The SPLM/A-IO under Dr. Riek Machar was at some point atfixed position with regard to revitalizing outstanding issues of governance. This is because the first interest of SPLM/A-IO was the acceptance for return of Dr.Riek Machar to his political status of First vice president per the provisions of ARCSS 2015. For SPLM/A-IO any attempt to remove or not accepting Dr. Riek Machar as first vice president then revitalization of ARCSS chapter 1 is meaningless. The balance between revitalization of ARCSS means renegotiation or non-renegotiation has created bid of consensus between the government and SPLM/A-IO while it left the opposition groups particularly SSOA in harder position.

Meanwhile for opposition groups such as FDs, they have to trade for some compromises which the government and SPLM/A-IO are not interested for and group like SSOA viewed the trading of FDs as political bull for them. This political dilemma for revitalizing ARCSS outstanding issues of governance has created atmosphere of political disagreements among some groups such as [8]SSOA and [9]FDs. If there is any failure in reaching common deal on resolving the outstanding issues of governance for successful revitalization of ARCSS chapter 1 it is the dualism behind the meaning of revitalization of ARCSS 2015.Some of attempts for ironing out the confusion or dualism behind understanding the meaning of ARCSS revitalization were the initiation of Intensive Inter-link Consultations (IIC) phases and the phase of President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar face to face meetings. Both attempts were viewed by some IGAD partners as wrong approach of handling revitalization of ARCSS because IIC and Face to face meeting were handing towards exclusive than inclusive process. The concept of inclusive process was also another limited and unclear defined expression. The practicality of inclusive process is harder to know. Does it mean everybody or delegates of every stakeholder on the table or does it mean opinion of every delegation is fully consideredduring drawing resolutions. The issue of inclusive was not as much tensed as the meaning of “revitalization”. Whether revitalization or inclusive process made the expectations of the parties and stakeholders for making peace prevail are not the end results. The end result is compromises for peace should be made with the perceptions that always peace is a tool for paving pathway for political transformation from violence to peace and nonviolent resolution of violent political disputes            

  1. THE STYLE OF HLRF

The concept of revitalization adopted by IGAD directly has shaped the process of the peace as starting mediation without any return to questions such as what is the root cause of violent conflict. Does the violent conflict need to be resolved from an approach of conflict management or confliction transformation? The methodology of the revitalization is hybrid in perspectives that it wants accommodation of new opposition groups and maintenance of the existing system. The approach of “accommodation of new opposition groups” and “maintenance of existing system” was viewed by the opposition as tactics of prioritizing principle of power sharing more than responding to the actual problems behind the on-going violence. But this method gained acceptance from the government and reasonable acceptance from SPLM/A-IO. The methodology of HLRF has no effective role in adjusting the gaps that prevailed during procedures of the phases of HLRF. The option that was attempted to create some more confidence on the methodology of the HLRF was the attempts of initialing Inter-link Consultations (IIC) and face to face meeting.  The other factor that injured the methodology of HLRF was the undermining of the methodology per IGAD mediation by some immediate neighbors of South Sudan in offering contrary proposal for sorting out the outstanding issues on governance.

  1. KEY FINDINGS
    1. The approach of the ARCSS revitalization

The approach for revitalizing ARCSS was not uniformly understood by the conflicting parties and the stakeholders including some partners of IGAD. Groups who are for pro-renegotiation of ARCSS viewed the approach as focusing on formal confirmation for renewal of pledge for implementing ARCSS per 2015 provisions with some little adjustments around timeline and irrelevant provisions. While groups who are anti-renegotiation of ARCSS were comfortable with the process as long as it entertains little amendment around some irrelevant provisions of ARCSS chapter 1 and 2

  1. The readiness of the conflicting parties to compromise for peaceful of their political differences

The appetite of the conflicting parties to compromise for peaceful settlement of their political difference was very low because their expectations were not met by the revitalization methodology. The dualism of the methodology for revitalizing ARCSS has contributed greatly in reducing the conflicting parties’ appetite for compromising including some IGAD partners’ appetite for standing strongly behind the outcomes of the ARCSS revitalization.

  1. Avoidance of tackling root cause of the violence

Immediate challenges that will face implementation of revitalized ARCSS will be the effective response to the root cause of the violent conflict that last for at least five years across the country since 2013. The chance of the revitalized ARCSS may only cover the political wound than curing it is very high and especially if there is availability of political will and acceptance for genuine implementation of the revitalized ARCSS by the signatory parties   

  1. Silence about funding discussions

With the little trust and confidence from some IGAD partners, there will be a high possibility of limited interest for funding revitalized ARCSS implementation. Several [10]messages have come out from the likely or possible donors for funding the implementation of the revitalized ARCSS. The donor community needs proper and effective confidence that revitalized ARCSS will not collapse and there is strong political will to implement it as pathway of retuning the South Sudan back to process of democratic transformation. Already the [11]incumbent vice president of South Sudan is calling peace actors to support financing the revitalized ARCSS implementation. The peace agreement implementation funding should be executed like previous, building clear benchmarks between the government of revitalized ARCSS and donors for funding the peace implementation is essential.

  1. Essential Concerns
    1. Consensus building between IGAD and its partners

It is essential for IGAD and its partners to hold a meeting aiming at building of consensus on the process of revitalizing the ARCSS. The increase of consensus between IGAD and its partners can play a great  positive role in reducing lack of confidence on reaching peace and security in South Sudan. This means absence of consensus between the IGAD and its partners on the fate of ARCSS revitalization is the continuation of the suffering of the people of South Sudan. CEPO right from the signing of the agreement on outstanding issues of governance and security in Sudan dated 5th August 2018 called for immediate meeting of IGAD and its partners before resumption of the final phase of HLRF on developing the agreement implementation matrix. The exchange of strong messages between the IGAD and its partners is effectively aiding citizens’ mistrust and lack of confidence on the outcome of HLRF. Already sense of losing the peace agreement ownership by the citizens is high. CEPO was grateful that Sudan [12]minister of foreign affairs took [13]our call “CEPO urged all IGAD countries to hold a partners meeting in order to mainstream the revitalization process of the peace agreement after the final signing of the peace agreement on Sunday” made early about IGAD and its partners to have meet on the South Sudan peace process

  1. Observation of ceasefire

One factor that can bring peaceful efforts of the on-going political crisis to zero if not handled carefully is lack of observation of the ceasefire and dragging of feet on executing the permanent ceasefire and security arrangements. Armed parties lack of respect and honoring the ceasefire normally demonstrates their lack of will for peaceful settlement of their political difference.

  1. Observation of 35% for women

The affirmative action agreed upon by the signatories to ensure women representation and participation in the peace implementation to be based on allocated quota of 35% for women was great, if executed by the tasked political parties. It is essential to utilize the 35% for women beyond the interest of securing numbers of women in the government. The past character where parties’ signatories to ARCSS turn to downplay execution of agreed upon affirmative action for women should be tackled this time well by the women rights activists. Indicators, for the possibility of the political parties turn down the accurate execution of the 35% for women in various public office is higher, because during the revitalization of ARCSS it was clear that some political parties lack female delegates for revitalization of ARCSS. It is required that this time round attention should be paid to 35% for women to be reflected in various political and civil servants representations and participation in the government. Limited lens of observation on political execution of the 35% for women only are misleading and reduction of women influence on public agenda as long as women are not effectively present among the various civil servant positions of the government.

  1. Involvement of persons with disabilities and marginalized groups such as elders

It is high time for the parties to form the government under revitalized ARCSS to directly involved participation of representatives of persons with disabilities in various structure of public governance. Their direct participation and representation offer them an opportunity to speak on their issues directly without being transmitted by someone. Their needs are different from the needs of others

  1. Youth Representation and Participation in government of revitalized ARCSS

The trend of theviolence since 2013 was fully involved youth in either championing violence or attempting to create pressure of the conflicting parties for non-violent resolution of their politicalcrisis.It is necessary to involve the youth as agents of positive change for the future since they constitute half of the population in the country. Without engaging young people in the public affairs issues the chance of discontented politicians using them for their personal political interest gain is high. Evidence tasking young people political responsibility offers them chance to pick up dialogue and decide what type of future they want for themselves and future generations to come. 

  1. Observation of Freedom of Expression and Right to Access information

The signatories to the revitalized ARCSS have to trust and have confidence on the role of media and freedom of expression for maintenance of public trust and confidence on revitalized ARCSS. Suppressing the freedom of expression or denial access to information for public consumption will be one of the factors that will contribute effectively in making the pubic lost trust and confidence on genuine implementation of revitalized ARCSS. Further, the public will distance them from owning the revitalized ARCSS. Ownership of anything is determined by freedom from fear in talking about it. If the public is not free to talk about or question the implementation of revitalized ARCSS freely forget about their trust and confidence even ownership of revitalized ARCSS. Media should be allowed to operate freely and responsibly within the context of the existing laws. The recent observed [14]shrinking civic space for freedom of expression demonstrates fear for the implementation of the peace accord provisions specifically those provisions that have direct link to justice, accountability, transparency and  reforms targeting policies/legislations and institutions. 

  1. The political culture of parties splinting prior reaching agreement

The practices of South Sudanese politicians of splinting at the end point of signing peace accord are one of the factors that will still make the search for peace and stability in South Sudan harder. Almost in the history of search for peace in South Sudan, it is becoming a common practice that some politicians will splint at the point of reaching a peace deal. This was observed in 2015 process for Agreement on The Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan when [15]some politicians splinted out of SPLM-IO under the leadership of Riek Machar dated SPLA-IO defectors confirm formation of new rebellion(13thAugust 2015). The same practices are now observed during the days towards signing of the agreement on outstanding issues of governance and security within the group of National Salvation Front [16](NAS splinter group restructures leadership).  [17]Similar issues were witnessed by South Sudan Opposition Alliance when they disagreed among themselves on signing of the Agreement on the outstanding issues of governance and security in Sudan dated 6th August 2018

  1. Revitalized ARCSS implementation matrix

The implementation matrix of revitalized ARCSS should embrace process that opens chance for taking the peace search further through developing or strengthening implementation with obligations that are not subject for political acceptance of any of the signatory in the agreement. IGAD and AU should have instrumental duties and responsibilities for fostering the genuine implementation of the revitalized ARCSS. The implementation matrix should avoid creating processes of the implementation in the manner that requires securing consent from the signatory of the agreement without alterative approach. The experiences of 2016 process for dragging the timely and genuine implementation of ARCSS should not be repeated 

  1. IGAD AND AU TAKE 

In 2015 Peace implementation process IGAD has taken back step from the position of being influencers to the signatories of the peace agreement. This step contributed in weakening the efforts for generating political will and good faith politics from each of the signatories of the agreement. The practice of IGAD distancing from the peace agreement implementation phases especially during pre-transitional period phase is bad practice and it aids actions that lead to the collapse of agreement. IGAD need to take responsibility of accomplishing the signatories of revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan effectively for delivering smooth peace agreement implementation. IGAD strengthening presence in South Sudan will be great incentive for influencing the signatories of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. In 2015 the peace agreement collapsed because IGAD have limited presence in South Sudan that was unable to create any influence on the signatories of the peace agreement. Further, IGAD capacity was not at stage of offering technical support such as proper interpretation of the peace agreement provisions when the signatories clash and differ in interpreting any provisions of the agreement. African Union (AU) engagement in promoting smooth implementation of the peace is essential especially keeping AU Peace and Security Council pro-active on the process of attaining peace and stability in South Sudan. AU being involved in South Sudan through the African Union Liaison Office in South Sudan (AULOSS) and the [18]AU “ad Hoc high-level committee or (AU C5)” with the membership of Rwanda, Chad, Nigeria, South Africa and Algeria as heads of states and government. This was followed by appointment of [19]AU High Representative to South Sudan, who is intended to enhance Africa’s support to the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).But the office of the AU High Representative to South Sudan is on silence since early [20]March 2017 till today. The last active role observed as action of the AU High Representative to South Sudan was the visit to Yei and Malakal which ended up with [21]remarkable statement. In 2015, AU was having very limited experts for helping the signatories for smooth implementation of the peace agreement and this has resulted in negative impact. AU C5 reluctance in engaging on the peace implementation in 2015 was clear demonstration of low significance of AU for stressing the peace agreement signatories for genuine and timely deliverance of peace. Beyond doubt, AU dragging of feet in accelerating the process of the hybrid court.The failure of AU C5 not meeting officially on their role and responsibilities on South Sudan peace process since their initiation is a practical example. The role played recently by [22]Nigeria, Rwanda and [23]South Africa as members of AU C5 is needed more with consistence. For instance, the [24]statement issued by the AU C5 alongside the 7th meeting on the margins of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments, in Nouakchott, under the chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, it has not been followed up with action. Just it ended up as press statement as usual.

Criteria for participation in TGoNU: The responsibility -sharing agreement will certainly limit the participation of communities that did not participate in violence and will bring the same individuals who contributed to causing violence conflict in South Sudan. Civil Society with support of IGAD may develop criteria (human rights violations, corruption, and political records in previous governments and participation in next election) for those who will participate in TGoNU and to ensure inclusive representation of all communities of South Sudan; particularly in the legislature. .

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS AND THE WAY FORWARD
  1. IGAD partners meeting should be held prior finalization of ARCSS revitalization for implementation.
  2. There is need for the government and the parties signatories to revitalized ARCSS to strongly demonstrate political will and acceptance for genuine implementation.
  3. The principals of the parties signatories to revitalized ARCSS need to first conduct genuine reconciliation in the front of the public and further visit the communities across the jointly with spirit of reconciliation under the auspices of South Sudan Council of Churches.
  4. Immediate discussions with donor community on possibility of funding implementation of revitalized ARCSS are paramount. The signatories should be ready to be faced by some conditionality for funding implementation of revitalized.
  5. There is need to facilitate session on harmonization of ARCC chapters is paramount after the signing of revitalized chapter 1 and 2.
  6. AU should effectively display its role in executing its specific tasked provisions of ARCSS for building public trust and confidence in ARCSS. AU low role in the implementation of ARCSS strongly has contributed in aiding public loss of trust and confidence in ARCSS
  7. There is need to develop a strategy and action plan for representation and participation of women with the quota of 35% for women and same strategy should be develop for representation and participation of youth, marginalized groups and persons with disabilities in revitalized ARCSS
  8. The conflicting parties leaders should stop the culture of splinting at the point of reaching a peace deal
  9. Armed parties signatories of revitalized ARCSS to ensure effective honoring and respect of the ceasefire and timely execution of the security arrangements are critical for the success of genuine implementation of revitalized ARCSS
  10. There is need to adopt practical benchmarks for facilitating any form of support for the implementation of the revitalized ARCSS
  11. The parties signatories of revitalized ARCSS should allow media and civil society to play effective role in dissemination of the revitalized ARCSS without any form of threat and fear
  12. IGAD and AU should strengthen their missions or liaison offices in South Sudan with full capacity and mandate with effective role and responsibilities for supporting the implementation of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan
  13. The office of AU High Representative to South Sudan needs to be revisited and reestablished if it is essential
  14. IGAD and AU should draw clear mandate for Sudan and Uganda engagement in supporting the implementation of the revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan
  15. Civil society to develop clear criteria for candidates who will participate in TGoNU. IGAD, AU and UN to support the adherence of the signatories to these criteria.

 

  1. THE WAY FORWARD

The IGAD-led mediation process has to embrace the principle of inclusivity and focus on the root cause of the conflict. Conflict management approach for resolving South Sudan political crisis is only suspension of the violence. Therefore, applying the approach of conflict transformation is the best because the political crisis in South Sudan is not about responsibility sharing only. Matters of systematic root causes of misunderstanding that generated clash of opinion are rooted in South Sudan political crisis. The principals of the signatory parties to the agreement should undertake some duties and responsibilities that generate political will and acceptance for peace implementation. 

  1. BUILDING OF BENCHMARKS FOR SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION

There is need to reach clear defined [25]benchmarks for accelerating the implementation of revitalized ARCSS. The below factors should be the thematic areas for framing the benchmarks;

  1. Unrestricted humanitarian Access
  2. Observation of ceasefire
  3. Financial transparency
  4. Protection of civilians
  5. Unconditional release of political detainees, prison of wars and child soldiers
  6. Democratic Civic Space
  7. Good politics for acceptance of peaceful resolution of conflict
  8. Accountability and justice
  9. Inclusivity of Government
  10. Freedom of expression, press and media

The benchmarks adopted will be automatic use as indicators for measuring progress and predicating possible failure. 

  1. CONCLUSIONS

Compromise for peace is required from all [26]actors around the process for making peace happen in South Sudan. The attitudes of being defensiveand critical without alterative are really tone of the factors that can contribute strongly in dragging feet on the road to peace in South Sudan. The worse inhuman impact of that is the continuation of the suffering of people of South Sudan especially children, aged and persons with medical problems. The reality is any attempt by the mediation process and methodology to undermining the call for the mediation to focus on addressing the root causes for justice, reforms and accountability is futile attempt. The commitment of the mediation process and methodology on handling holistically the root causes of the breakout of violence in mid-December, 2013 is the key for opening door for sustainable peace in South Sudan. This means the leadership of the conflicting parties in South Sudan has to take primary responsibility for making peace happen without defending on others. IGAD and its partners have to focus on building consensus on the pathway for peace in South Sudan. The South Sudan signatories to the peace accord, IGAD and IGAD partners need to dialogue on the process of supporting the implementation of the peace accord. The appetite of the donor community for funding the peace accord is very low. Additionally, the past experiences of donor community funds were been played with around the implementation the peace accord need to be avoided. This means creation of some pre-conditions on financing the peace accord is essential between the peace implementing partners and the peace funders. [27]Demonstrating sense of responsibility for making peace to prevail is important from the principals of the conflicting parties. IGAD and AU urgently need to empower their offices/missions for the South Sudan with effective functional mandates, role and responsibilities for supporting genuine and timely implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. IGAD and AU should draw clear mandate and role for Sudan and Uganda engagement in supporting the peace agreement implementation

 

 

 

 

  1. Annexes

 

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The African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan convenes on the margins of the African Union Summit

Nouakchott, 30 June 2018: The African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan, convened its 7th meeting on the margins of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments, in Nouakchott, under the chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. The meeting was attended by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia of Algeria; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria Geoffrey Onyeama and the Chief of Staff of President of Chad, Ms. BanataTchale Sow. The meeting was also attended by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, MoussaFakiMahamat, Ethiopia State Minister of Foreign Affairs HirutZemene, as representative of the IGAD Chairperson, as well as by the AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Omar Konare and the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador SmailChergui.  

The Ad-hoc Committee exchanged views on how to more effectively enhance its support to and cooperation with IGAD in the ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict in South Sudan. It commended the IGAD for its tireless efforts in mediating for a political solution to the conflict in South Sudan. The Committee holds the view that there is need for unity of purpose among all the actors in order to create the required momentum for successfully concluding the peace process in South Sudan.  The Ad-hoc Committee welcomed the recent progress in the peace process, as evidenced by the face-to-face meeting between President SalvaKiirMayardit and Dr. ReikMachar on 27 June 2018, in Khartoum, Sudan, which culminated in the signing of the Khartoum Declaration Agreement committing the South Sudanese parties to a permanent ceasefire. The Ad-hoc Committee emphasized the added value of the Ad hoc Committee to the IGAD-led peace process and underscored the need for Africa to fully assume its responsibilities and create all requisite conditions for definitively ending the war in South Sudan and salvage the civilians who have suffered the brunt of war for so long.  The Ad-hoc Committee called for the elaboration of a roadmap to guide actions, including imposition of punitive measures against those who violate the ceasefire and obstruct the peace efforts.  The Ad-hoc Committee noted with deep concern the continuing worrisome political, economic and humanitarian situation in South Sudan and its negative effect on the ordinary citizens. They called for urgent actions to address the economic and humanitarian plight in the country.  The Ad-hoc Committee reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting the IGAD-led mediation process, through the High Level Revitalization Forum, as well as to the implementation of all its outcomes.

 

PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

783RD MEETING 

NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA

30 JUNE 2018 

PSC/AHG/COMM.(DCCLXXXIII) COMMUNIQUÉ

 

COMMUNIQUE 

 

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 783rd meeting held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on 30 June 2018, at the level of Heads of State and Government, adopted the following decision on the situation in the Republic of South Sudan:

Council,

 

  1. Takesnote of the statements made by the Chairperson of the PSC, President of Sierra Leone, H.E Julius Maada Bio and Chairperson of the AU Commission, MoussaFakiMahamat. Council further takes note of the presentations made by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador SmailChergui and the briefing by the AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Konare. Council also takes note of the statements by the representative of Ethiopia, in its capacity as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the President of Sudan, H.E. Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, the representative of the South Africa, in its capacity as Chairperson of the AU Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan; 

 

  1. Recalls its previous communiques and press statements on the situation in South Sudan, particularly communique PSC/AHG/COMM(DCXXVI), adopted at its 720th meeting held on 20 September 2016 in New York, at the ministerial level and communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCLI) adopted at its  751st meeting held on 8 February 2018, as well as communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCLXVIII)]adopted at its 768th meeting held on 26 April 2018; 

 

  1. Commends the efforts deployed by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Governments, namely H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia, H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi

Mohamed, President of the Republic of Somalia; H.E. SalvaKiirMayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan; H.E. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan; and H.E. YoweriKagutaMuseveni, President of the Republic of Uganda for their continued engagement in search for a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan and encourages them to sustain their engagement; 

 

  1. Recalls the establishment of the African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan in 2014, which comprises Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa to scale up AU support to the IGAD-led peace process. Council expressesits deep appreciation for the involvement of the Ad Hoc Committee, under the chairmanship of South Africa, in the efforts to end the war in South Sudan, through its continued support to the IGAD-led mediation process. In this regard, Council urges the Ad Hoc Committee to continue pursuing and further intensify its engagement and  support to the IGAD-led mediation process;

 

  1. Stresses the imperative of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (CoHA) getting full translated into a permanent ceasefire as agreed in the Khartoum Declaration Agreement and commends the AU Ad hoc Committee for its engagement to promote a permanent ceasefire in South Sudan;   

 

  1. Expressesappreciation for the relentless efforts deployed by the AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Omar Konare and urges him to continue, working together with the IGAD and the UN. Council also applauds the continued engagement by former President Festus Mogae, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), as well as the efforts of the IGAD Special Envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais;

 

  1. Recalls theIGAD Council of Ministers decision of 12 June 2017 at its 31st Extraordinary Session authorizing the Council “to urgently convene a High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) of the parties to the ARCSS, including estranged groups to discuss concrete measures, to restore permanent ceasefire, undertake full implementation of the Peace Agreement and develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards democratic election at the end of the Transition Period”. Council underscores,once again, the fact that the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ACRSS) remains an acceptable compromise that holds the key to decisively address the problems of South Sudan, taking into account the aspects that are to be revitalized through the IGAD-led HLRF; 

 

  1. Acknowledges that the HLRF provides a window of opportunity to address the persistent challenges facing the people of South Sudan, especially governance and security issues. Council commends the successful conduct of the HLRF and expressesappreciation for the inclusive manner in which the process was conducted, thereby enabling all Parties to the ARCSS, including the estranged groups and other South Sudanese Stakeholders, Faith-Based Groups, Civil Society Organizations, women and youth, to participate in the process. In this context, Council underscoresthe urgent need for further strengthening confidence building measures, with a view to addressing the trust deficit amongst the South Sudanese parties. In this context, Council stresses that inclusivity in the conduct of the peace process is crucial for acceptability of its outcomes by the South Sudanese people. In this regard, Council recognizesthe importance of an inclusive National Dialogue process in the country as it also allows for the participation of all groups in seeking a lasting solution;

 

  1. Welcomes the face-to-face talks held on 20 June 2018 between President SalvaKiirMayardit and Dr. RiekMacharTeny under the auspices of the IGAD Chairperson, H.E DrAbiy Ahmed Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Council further welcomes the communiqué of the 32nd Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on South Sudan held on 21 June 2018, in Addis Ababa, which, among other aspects, decided that a face-to-face meeting between Presidents SalvaKiirMayardit and Dr. RiekMachar, take place in Khartoum and in Nairobi, with a view to scaling up the momentum of the process, including for finalization of the negotiation on the Revised Bridging Proposal by IGAD. Council also welcomes the subsequent meeting held in Khartoum under the auspices of President Hassan Al Basher of Republic of Sudan and attended by President YoweriMuseveni of the Republic of Uganda, at which the South Sudanese parties signed the Khartoum Declaration Agreement on 27 June 2018;

 

  1. Welcomesthecommitment by the Parties to make progress on the Revised Bridging Proposal and urges them to conclude this process very urgently to address issues of power sharing and security arrangements. Council further welcomes the Agreement on the 36 months transitional period that shall be preceded by a pre-transitional period of 120 days. In this regard, Council notes that the implementation of the Khartoum Declaration Agreement paves the way for continued implementation of the peace process within the extended transition period. Council underscoresthe need for the parties to faithfully implement their commitments to avoid further conflicts and calls on the parties to fully honor the commitments to prepare for the general elections that shall be open to all South Sudanese political parties. Council therefore encourages all political and military leaders to work together and mobilize the people of South Sudan to end the conflict; 

 

  1. Welcomes the reunification process of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), spearheaded by the Republic of Uganda and the Arab Republic of Egypt that is aimed at contributing to the reconciliation of the leaders of South Sudan and facilitate creation of an environment conducive for peace and security. In this context, Council commends the efforts deployed by Presidents YoweriMuseveni and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in facilitating the SPLM reunification process;  

 

  1. Commends the invaluable work done by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Mechanism (CTSAMM) to ensure compliance with signed agreements. In this respect, Council calls on the TGoNU and all armed movements to fully cooperate with CTSAMM in the discharge of its mandate and underscores that any obstruction to the work of CTSAMM shall be deemed as a violation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) and measures shall be taken to this effect; 

 

  1. Expresses support to the CoHA signed by all Parties and Stakeholders on 21 December 2017. Council welcomes the Declaration of a Permanent Ceasefire, based on the CoHA, as outlined in the Khartoum Declaration Agreement and urges all the South Sudanese parties to respect the permanent ceasefire in order to create a conducive political and security environment for the implementation of all other agreements signed by the Parties. Meanwhile, Council expressesconcern over the continued violations of the CoHA, including those that took place following the signing of the June 2018 Khartoum Declaration Agreement; 

 

  1. Underscores, once more, that there can be no military solution to the conflict in South Sudan and condemns, in the strongest terms possible, the repeated violations of the CoHA by the parties as reported by the CTSAMM and JMEC. Council urges CTSAMM and JMEC to be vigorous and provide evidence that is verifiable in order for appropriate punitive measures to be taken  in line with paragraph 20 of the communiqué of its 720th meeting held in New York, on imposition of punitive measures against persistent violators of the signed Agreement;

 

  1. Expressesdeepconcern over the dire economic situation in South Sudan, which inhibits the Government’s ability to provide for the needs of the population. In this context, Council underscores that such a situation, if not addressed urgently and decisively, poses the risk of undermining the gains made thus far through mediation. Council therefore urges the South Sudanese Parties to urgently and faithfully implement the June 2018 Khartoum Declaration Agreement regarding the rehabilitation of oil fields, working with the Government of Sudan, in order to help address the prevailing economic difficulties; 

 

  1. Expresses deepconcern over the deplorable humanitarian situation in South Sudan and urges all the South Sudan parties to ensure unimpeded humanitarian corridors and access, and guarantee safety of humanitarian workers. Council calls on all Member States and international partners to continue providing support to the people of South Sudan to alleviate their suffering and assist the TGoNU in rebuilding various governmental institutions to ensure stability and provision of services to the population, while coordinating and harmonizing their support with a view to ending the conflict and achieving lasting peace in South Sudan. Council furthernoteswith appreciation the continued interventions of the humanitarian actors engaged to save vulnerable lives in South Sudan, and condemns all acts of violence meted against them and warns all those who will commit such acts that they will be held accountable;

 

  1. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR SOUTH SUDAN, H.E. ALPHA OUMARKONARE, CONCLUDES SIX-DAY WORKING VISIT TO SOUTH SUDAN

 

Addis Ababa, 14 March 2017:The African Union High Representative for South Sudan [AUHRSS], former President Alpha OumarKonare of Mali, undertook a six-day working visit to South Sudan from 1 to 7 March 2017. The objective of the visit was to follow up on the progress of the peace process, and new opportunities that could inform and promote more refined and constructive decision-making on overall peace in the country. The visit, which was also undertaken within the framework of the joint AU, IGAD, UN Statement of 29 January 2017 on South Sudan, was to seek viewpoints on the National Dialogue Initiative announced by H.E. President SalvaKiirMayardit, the challenges and the potential responses to the Dialogue, and in what ways the Dialogue could serve as a complementary tool for peace in the country.

During the visit the High Representative met with H.E. President SalvaKiirMayardit, First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E. Deng AlorKuol. The High Representative also interacted with the secretariat of the National Dialogue Initiative. Further on, he met with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, Mr. David Shearer, the African Diplomatic Corps, the European Union Delegation to South Sudan, Troika Countries and other bilateral partners.

The High Representative also visited Malakal, the capital of Central Upper Nile State, as well as Yei, the capital Yei River State, and met the Governors and leaderships of the State parliaments, chiefs and community leaders, faith-based groups, women and youth representatives. He interacted with UN and other international and national aid agencies, and representatives of Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in both towns. 

In his interaction with the Authorities and other stakeholders, the AU High Representative underscored the unique and historic opportunity for South Sudan for genuine reconciliation through the National Dialogue and urged all to make it as inclusive, free and transparent as possible, which would confer to the whole process the necessary legitimacy, thus initiating its internalization by all the South Sudanese, and prompting the support of the broad international community.  He highlighted that this process is not meant to re-discuss the peace agreement but rather to look into ways and means to strengthen what is being achieved today with the ultimate objective to actively preparing for the post-transition period, including the holding of democratic elections in an appeased environment. The National Dialogue will also allow South Sudanese stakeholders to discuss wide ranging issues of utmost national interest, including the crucial questions of Governance, security sector reform, healing, reconciliation and accountability, among others 

In all his interactions, the High Representative shared the view that violence remained an unacceptable and unstainable approach to ending the nation’s crisis, and that the AU, UN, IGAD, and the partners and friends of the country will continue to urge for political and other non-hostile means to peace. He stressed his commitment to remain firmly associated with South Sudan, and to continue to explore with the leadership of the country, both internally and in the diaspora, for an inclusive, holistic, broad-based, and sustainable peace in the country.  With the view to alleviating the disastrous effects of the famine, the AU High Representative discussed with the Authorities about the possibility of identifying some islands of peace and prosperity, especially in those well-endowed parts of South Sudan, and to support them with the objective of producing enough food for the local population as well as to support the overall food security of the rest of South Sudan. The entities to be supported should present themselves as models in terms of peaceful dialogue in the resolution of the local conflicts. 


[2]SPLM/A-IO in the Government was unified with SPLM in Government under the agreement on unification of SPLM faction signed by the SPLM factions in Tanzania dated January 21, 2015 and renewed in Egypt dated 16 Nov. 2017 (https://www.sudantribune.com/IMG/pdf/agreement_on_reunification_of_splm_210115_.pdf, https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/s-sudan-s-ruling-party-factions-sign-unification-deal-cairo)

[3] Namely NAS,NDM,FDP/SSAF,SSUM,SSLM,PDM,SSPM SSNMC and Umbrella Parties

[6]Should free of load hate speech and hostile propaganda

[10]Statement made by Troika not ready to fund the revitalized ARCSShttp://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66027

[25]Benchmark Standard, or a set of standards, used as a point of reference for evaluating performance or level of quality”

[26]The actors can be South Sudanese and non-South Sudanese