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JUBA - 12 Jan 2016

South Sudan parties to launch security sector review

The chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has begun the process of security sector reform in South Sudan as per terms of the peace deal signed by the government and rebels.

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae opened a meeting today of JMEC including representatives of government and rebels to set the conditions for the launch of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).  The JMEC leader said he expects the fist SDSR Board meeting to convene this week.

Mogae described SDSR as a "critical and overdue process" for South Sudan. "This process should be seen as an opportunity, and not a threat or something to be resisted," he said.

"Transformation of the security sector, particularly in a country where there has been recent war, and where the defence expenditure is the largest part of the budget, is never easy," he said, adding that is however vital for securing a better future for South Sudan's next generation.

"There are few soldiers who have gone to war who want their children to have the same experience," he said. "Sometimes this is impossible to avoid, but I ask those of you who once fought to ask whether any child in South Sudan should have that same future. Clearly, they should not."

Mogae requested the parties and other stakeholders present take the SDSR process seriously; ensure that their representatives are appropriately tasked and mandated; and that the SDSR process begins expeditiously to make up for lost time.

Mogae said he also expects the Transitional Government of National Unity to be formed before the next African Union summit which is set to convene in just over two weeks time.

JMEC calls for free movement of humanitarian aid

Separately, Mogae said the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is likely to get worse before it gets better. He demanded the warring parties lift all restrictions on delivery of humanitarian aid.

The former Botswana president called on aid groups to keep him informed of any difficulties and challenges that occur in the coming weeks and months.

Mogae's full remarks are available below for download.

Photo: Festus Mogae arrives at the JMEC Board meeting today (UNMISS/JC McIlwaine)

Opening Statement by President Mogae - Jan 2016 FINAL.pdf