Extension of the pre-transitional period a sign of goodwill between the parties in South Sudan
The unanimous decision to extend the pre-transitional period of the South Sudan peace agreement leading to the formation of a new, unified Government in South Sudan is a sign of goodwill between the parties to end the suffering of their people, says the Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer.
It is regrettable that a number of fundamental issues remain unresolved, including the formation of a unified security force and the issue of boundaries and states. However, this six-month extension gives the parties more time to achieve the benchmarks agreed upon and make peace a reality.
This united decision of the parties is important to reassure the people of South Sudan that the peace agreement is still alive. It is a step towards ending the suffering caused by the conflict and gives millions of displaced families the confidence to return home and rebuild their lives.
The responsibility lies with the parties to live up to their commitments. It also means that the key political leaders should meet regularly to ensure the agreement stays on track.
Speaking at the IGAD sponsored meeting in Addis Ababa, Shearer acknowledged the progress made since the signing last September, including an overall reduction in political violence which has potentially saved thousands of lives.
“The resulting ceasefire has also enabled Government and opposition forces to build trust and confidence through the holding of over 100 peace meetings and rapprochements across the country, many of which were facilitated by UNMISS. This is clear evidence that the desire for peace amongst South Sudanese is palpable.
“The peace agreement is not perfect. No peace deal ever is. But there is no Plan B. UNMISS will be there as they work to secure lasting peace for the sake of their people” said David Shearer.