By The Spokesperson,
I DELIVER the following statement on behalf of the Troika (the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom).
On 1 February South Sudan’s leaders committed to complete negotiations on all outstanding issues, sign a peace agreement before 5 March and start a pre-transitional period by 1 April. They agreed to return to Addis on February 20 to for a final round of negotiations. We note with deep concern and regret that President Kiir has not honoured that commitment. It is time to conclude a peace agreement and bring an end to this needless war that is destroying South Sudan and imposing serious costs on its neighbours and the international community.
The people of South Sudan are yearning for peace, for an end to war and needless suffering. To date, South Sudan’s leaders have collectively failed to respond to the demands of their people. By continuing to fight, they are forcing 2 million South Sudanese to live as refugees or as IDPs and exposing millions more to serious food shortages. The country is facing an economic crisis. This is a far cry from the hopes and aspirations of the South Sudanese people at independence.
At this final round of talks we have one very simple and clear message–now is the time to compromise. We call on South Sudan’s leaders to demonstrate bold leadership and make the necessary compromises to agree the structure of the executive, executive succession, power sharing and transitional security arrangements–issues that have been highlighted by the parties’ own negotiating teams as being key to achieving peace and establishing a transitional government.
The time has come to say enough is enough. To support the people of South Sudan and the region’s mediation efforts, we expect the United Nations Security Council to consider a resolution on South Sudan this week, including the possibility of sanctions. The Government has recently called to delay elections by two years to July 2017. But peace cannot be delayed and this should not detract from the formation of a transitional government of national unity by 9 July this year. Adhering to commitments made since last May to form a transitional government is the way to address the issue of government legitimacy beyond 9 July.
We strongly believe that the publication of the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry’s findings, and its recommendations on accountability, are necessary to ensure that such violence against civilians cannot be undertaken with impunity. The people of South Sudan, and in particular the families of the victims, deserve no less and it will in the long run enable greater accountability and give rise to more robust political stability. Accountability and reconciliation need to be addressed in any peace agreement.
To conclude, the Troika calls on South Sudan’s leaders to put personal ambition aside and demonstrate real leadership to secure peace for their people. The region, the international community and most importantly the people of South Sudan expect nothing less.
I thank you.