IGAD Special Envoys and Mediators in the South Sudanese Peace process, UN Representative, AU Representative, the Special Envoys of Norway, the United Kingdom and United States of America, EU and China, and other Representatives and Envoys present here,
South Sudanese Delegates and stakeholders representing the Government, SPLM/A In Opposition (who are unfortunately absent), SPLM Leaders, Political Parties, Civil Society and Faith based Organizations,
South Sudanese Eminent Persons,
Members of the diplomatic corps
Ladies and Gentlemen,
June 23, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — On behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf, I thank IGAD and the Envoys for inviting us to this Fourth Session of the Second Phase of IGAD mediated peace talks on South Sudan. We sincerely appreciate and fully recognize the firm commitment of the IGAD Heads of State and Government to bring peace to our country particularly as reiterated in their communiqué of 10th June 2014. We are aware of the desire of the people of South Sudan, IGAD and the international community to see a speedy resolution of the conflict in our country. It is our hope that this session will be the last and will indeed deliver an agreement that will restore peace to our country.
The commitment of the principal protagonists to peace and inclusiveness as came in the 9th of May, 2014 Agreement, has given hope to the people of South Sudan for peace. However, we are disheartened that despite the recommitment to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, fighting has continued unabated and peace talks have been delayed.
Furthermore, we regret that a lot of time has been wasted on procedural rather than substantive issues. We therefore call upon the two protagonists and on all other stakeholders to abide by and respect the decisions of our leaders during the last IGAD submit. We must dedicate ourselves, to a serious and intense negotiation to reach peace within the 60 days.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are gathered here today to stop a cruel and brutal war that is devastating our country. We are here today to bring peace to our bleeding country and hope to our distressed people. We are here to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all our people in need. We are here to discuss, resolve and chart a road map for return of peace and stability to our country. We are here to work out the details of a Transitional Arrangement to usher South Sudan into peace and democracy. We are here to conclude an agreement to bring an end to the conflict and suffering of our people.
As per the Agreement of 9th of May, 2014 and the decisions of the last IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit of 10th of June, 2014, the following issues were laid out for us to discuss and agree on during this session of talks; which include ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access to all in need, transitional government and framework agreement on permanent constitution making process.
In our view, all these issues are resolvable if all parties negotiate in good faith and without any hidden agenda or fears. We must have realized, during the last six months of warfare, that there is no military solution to the crisis. The solution lies in all South Sudanese stakeholders gathered here today, putting the country first. It is encouraging that the composition of this session reflects and recognizes this fact.
We thank the leaders of the IGAD sub-region, the African Union and the international community for their quick intervention to help the people of South Sudan soon after the war erupted on December 15, 2013. We appreciate their commitment and steadfastness to resolve the South Sudanese national crisis. We are equally grateful for their commitment and support to the IGAD mediation process.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This conflict has had a devastating impact on our people and country. Within a short period of six months, this brutal war has killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million of our citizens internally and to the neighbouring countries. Roughly one hundred thousand have sought safety in United Nations (UNMISS) camps within South Sudan, including in Juba, our National Capital. More than three million South Sudanese today face the threat of famine and starvation. The economy of South Sudan is on the verge of collapse and the state itself is in a state of free-fall into chaos and disorder. This war is tearing our national fabric to shreds. Our young nation is threatened with disintegration and has become a failed state. According to the last Global Peace Index just released this week, South Sudan ranks the worst in Africa and the third worst in the world.
As a new state, South Sudan has failed to learn lessons from other African experiences, specifically the experiences from situations of internal conflicts and wars that retarded state and nation building and delayed social development. It is our hope that we, the participants at this session of negotiations will learn from these lessons and deliver our country peace, freedom and prosperity.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our problems which first surfaced as disagreements on issues of reforms within the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) are political in nature. We failed to resolve them within the party; instead, military means and violence were employed to try to silence this debate thereby causing the conflict. To resolve this crisis, we must break free from the mindset that created the problem; the mindset of trading blame and accusations; the mindset of denial that one is right and blameless and the other is always wrong and a demon. As leaders of the SPLM, while sharing the party’s successes and glorious achievements, it will be remiss on our part if we disclaim our share in its failure to deliver on its promises to our people, the failure to provide a visionary leadership to our young nation. We take our share of the blame. While making this general statement, what cannot go without mention, is the failure of the SPLM leadership in resolving internal governance and organizational issues of the Party peacefully, thereby resulting in the current national crisis that has engulfed the country since December 15, 2013.
To resolve these problems and reach an agreement within the remaining days of the two months deadline, we are called upon to provide leadership that would enable us to retrace our steps and lead the country to peace and development. We need to create a healthy atmosphere for the resolution of the conflict by making the ceasefire hold; we need to work out the details of a Transitional Government to restore trust and confidence in our people and return the country to normalcy.
Once more, on behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf, I want to thank IGAD and the international community for the quick intervention and continued interest that may have prevented the conflict from taking genocidal dimensions. We reaffirm our trust and confidence in the IGAD mediation process and commit ourselves to contribute positively towards the realization of peace in our country.
Last but not least, we reiterate our appreciation and gratefulness to the leaders of IGAD region, the African Union, Troika, EU, the UN for their committed engagement and relentless efforts to promote peaceful settlement of the crisis in South Sudan. We are wholeheartedly grateful to the international donor community for their generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to rescue and save millions of lives of South Sudanese people, who are victims of a war unleashed by its leaders. Here, we call on the Government of South Sudan to reciprocate the International good will as expressed in the last Oslo donor conference, by earmarking and contributing at least 300 million Dollars of the Oil money for humanitarian relief to avert the looming famine.
We in particular appreciate the determination of the IGAD Heads of State and Government in holding the summit to recommit President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny to abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement as well as the commitment to bring peace to South Sudan within sixty (60) days. This time-bound commitment is important given the tragic and deplorable situation facing the people of South Sudan as a result of this conflict.
Our position remains the immediate ending of the war in order to give peace a chance. We therefore call upon all people of South Sudan and particularly the delegations at this session to direct all their efforts towards this end.
May God bless you with wisdom!
Oh God bless South Sudan!
Peace be upon us all.
Mr. Pagan Amum Okiech,
Leader, SPLM Leaders (FD)
Addis Ababa, 16th June, 2014