On the 26th of August, President Kiir signed the latest South Sudan Peace Agreement. Rebel leader Riek Machar already signed the Agreement last week, but the South Sudanese government had its reservations, and requested a review period. The UN threatened to impose sanctions if Kiir did not sign within two weeks. Arvind Das, Cordaid Country Director in South Sudan: “This agreement seems to carry more weight than past agreements. Let’s hope for a positive outcome.”
The peace deal, which has to finally put a stop to the civil war in South Sudan, has been months in the making. Its deadline was strictly set on the 17th of August, under international pressure. But at the moment of signing, Kiir delayed his signature and postponed his decision, because he did not agree with the proposed division of power.
Afterwards, the UN as well as other countries in the region, the United States and the European Union, threatened to impose sanctions, such as travel bans and an embargo on arms trade.
According to Cordaid Country Director Arvind Das, there was a great urgency to the signing because of the humanitarian crisis. “It is high time for the guns to be silent and for access to essential services such as health, food, water, etc. to open up,” he says. “Or else, things will go beyond control and we would be facing one of the biggest catastrophes in the current world.”
“It is high time for the guns to be silent”
This Agreement follows the eigth ceasefire since the outbreak of the civil conflict in December 2013. All previous ceasefires had been broken by either party, only hours after signing.
Some of the most debated issues for the South Sudanese government include the demilitarization of the capital Juba; the division of political power between Kiir and Machar; giving up three northern states to the rebel forces; and control over oil and resources.
The South Sudan NGO forum, a coalition of civil society organizations, released a statement last week in which they said that “There is no perfect agreement that satisfies all interests, but we need immediate stoppage of bloodshed.”
The people of South Sudan cannot afford anymore to raise another generation of South Sudanese children in civil war
Adding on to that, they stated: “Enough is enough! The people of South Sudan cannot afford anymore to raise another generation of South Sudanese children in civil war.”
Or, as Arvind says: “The political leaders, the international community and all who can influence and make a difference owe it to the people of South Sudan to bring peace. This agreement seems to carry more weight than past agreements, because of the parties involved and strong pressure of sanctions, in case the agreement is broken. Let’s hope for a positive outcome.”
- Radio Tamazuj: ‘Six questions about South Sudan’s peace talks: A guide for confused observers’, https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/six-questions-about-south-sudans-peace-talks-guide-confused-observers
- BBC: ‘South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace’, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33912156