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JUBA - 10 Feb 2016

S Sudan ceasefire monitors report progress 'behind closed doors'

Parties to the South Sudanese peace agreement are cooperating with each other within the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), according to the spokesperson of the group.

Representatives of both SPLA and SPLA-IO sit on the CTSAMM board plus representatives of women's bloc, youth, CSOs, the East African bloc IGAD, Troika, UNMISS and other stakeholders.

CTSAMM held a meeting yesterday to discuss a recent report by one of its monitoring teams and to finalize the group's terms of reference. Ruth Feeney, CTSAMM Communications Officer, told press afterwards that there has been progress “behind closed doors.”

“We had many items on the agenda. One of them was finalizing the CTSAMM ToR [Terms of Reference] so a lot of that work has been done today,” she said. “Other items that was discussed were the ongoing investigations and we had an investigation report that was presented and discussed by all parties present today... we would not discuss the specifics of investigations and violation reports until they have been finalized. And when they have been finalized they are made public at that time.”

Asked about the withdrawal of government forces from Juba, Feeney said, “the CTSAMM is working in conjunction with its sister organization the JMCC, the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, and our teams and their teams are working together to identify cantonment sites... we visited cantonment sites within the last week, we were identifying cantonment sites with the JMCC.”

Earlier is week, Col. Angelo Taban Magok, the office manager of the SPLA chief of staff and acting army spokesman, told Radio Tamazuj that arrangements are being made for withdrawal of forces from Juba by the end of Febraury.

For his part, Maj-Gen. James Koang, a member of the armed opposition on the CTSAMM ceasefire mechanism, confirmed that he was part of an inspection of nine sites for cantonment of government forces that are slated to be withdrawn from Juba.

In concluding remarks, Feeney stressed the importance of CTSAMM as a mechanism for the parties to the peace agreement to discuss security issues.

“I would say to the people of South Sudan and your listeners that while the progress may seem as if it is untangible, there is a lot being done behind closed doors and there is a lot of work going on on the ground by these teams and by the primary parties who are supported by CTSAMM and their IGAD partners and international partners also,” she said.

“So there is a lot of work going on and there is a determination and a will for peace to prevail. And that is being displayed in all these meetings.”

The next meeting of CTSAMM's board is scheduled for 9 March.

'We are seeing a lot of progress in these meetings'.mp3