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UN and Peace Watch call for ceasefire in South Sudan

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UNMISS soldiers patrol in Leer, South Sudan. Documentary photo: AFP/VNA

In separate statements, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Restructuring Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (RJMEC) called on all parties to fully comply with the and the spirit of the peace agreement. UNMISS head Nicholas Haysom said it was very disturbing that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) decided to suspend participation in the security mechanisms of the agreement. According to Mr. Haysom, UNMISS acknowledged a number of concerns raised by SPLM-IO, especially the alarming increase in violent conflict in Upper Nile and Unity states, directly affecting the local regions. UNMISS garrison as well as innocent civilians.

Mr. Haysom added that the transition period is less than 12 months and it is important that all parties continue to make every effort to maintain the ceasefire and work towards the implementation of all remaining standards to free and fair elections may take place. He stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict in South Sudan, all political parties should put aside their disagreements for the greater interests of peace, progress and prosperity.

According to the head of UNMISS, the mission is ready to expand its support in this regard.

For its part, RJMEC noted the concerns and consequences related to the withdrawal of the relevant parties from the peace agreement, and called on all parties to fully comply with this agreement. RJMEC Interim President Charles Tai Gituai said the ceasefire monitors had been directed to investigate the growing clashes between SPLA-IO and separatists from the People’s Self-Defense Forces. South Sudanese population (SSPDF) in the states of Upper Nile and Unity.

Such divisive activities would complicate the unification process, demoralize and cause mistrust in the military, Gituai said. A unified force depends on cohesion for the ability to function as a professional force. Mr. Gituai also called on the unity government to complete the Transitional Security Agreements, which include addressing issues of unified command-to-force ratios, and redeployment.

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