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JUBA - 22 Nov 2019

UNMISS boss urges lifting of restrictions on Machar

Photo: UNMISS chief David Shearer
Photo: UNMISS chief David Shearer

The East African regional bloc IGAD should lift all restrictions on the movement of opposition leader Riek Machar, the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer said.

Speaking to reporters in Juba on Wednesday, Shearer also urged the South Sudanese government to issue Machar a passport “in the spirit of building trust and confidence”.

President Salva Kiir and Machar agreed to extend the pre-transitional period by 100 days to allow for implementation of key pending tasks including security arrangements and the decision on the number of states and their boundaries.

The senior UN official, however, said the full implementation of the revitalized peace agreement requires political will. “It will happen if the leaders want it to happen,” he stated.

Shearer further said that forming the unity government is particularly important because it signals the beginning of preparing for elections. “Elections provide the opportunity to resolve differences through democratic rather than violent means. They give citizens the right to select their own leaders and hold them to account,” he stressed.

The UNMISS boss urged the peace guarantors to continue showing strong leadership to keep the parties on task, as they did when they brought them together in the past.

Sudan and Uganda are guarantors to the peace deal that seeks to end more than five years of civil war in South Sudan.

Last week, the United States of America said it was “frustrated” by the two South Sudanese rival leaders for failing to form a unity government as scheduled, casting doubts on their ability to lead the country’s peace process.