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JUBA - 12 Jul 2016

Monitors call for 'return to peace process'

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has called on the two partners to the 'unity' government in Juba who fought over the last four days to “show the political will and commitment to return to the implementation of the peace agreement.”

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the JMEC secretariat claimed that the August 2015 peace deal “still remains the cornerstone for building a strong, democratic and vibrant South Sudan.” The group is urging the parties to the deal to preserve it.

Critics of the peace deal have been saying that it set the country up for failure by quartering two rival armies in the capital Juba and placing the two leaders of the 2013-2015 civil war at the heart of the power-sharing government. Democratic Change leader Lam Akol today called for the UN to take over the security of the capital.

Meanwhile, JMEC urged President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to ensure that the recently announced cessation of hostilities is strictly observed by the armed forces of the two sides.

The secretariat also recommended expediting formation of the Transitional Legislative Assembly. “This is pivotal to bringing about the required checks and balances in government and build the necessary trust and confidence within TgoNU,” reads the statement.

The peace monitors also suggested that the transitional government “should give priority to the cantonment of forces in different parts of the country, pursuant to the agreement reached before the current armed confrontation. This measure is instrumental in reinforcing the cessation of hostilities agreement and in controlling those engaged in criminal activities and bent on destabilizing South Sudan.”

JMEC is an institution mandated to monitor and evaluate the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. It is headed by former Botswana president Festus Mogae, who said yesterday that he would authorize evacuation of his secretariat's staff from Juba.