UN Declares No Elections in South Sudan, Pledge To Support Peace Talks
May 05, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — Responding to Salva Kiir administration, the United Nations has opposed Juba’s “Plan B” to hold elections if the warring parties fail to reach consensus through the High-Level Revitalization Forum that is now scheduled FOR May 17th.
“So for us there is no Plan B,” said Bintou Keita, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
“The only plan is the High-Level Revitalization Forum” She continued.
Bintou Keita, who recently returned from South Sudan and Ethiopia, confirmed to reporters that high-level shuttle diplomacy is current ongoing to try to reduce the gap between the warring parties and improve prospects for success at talks that has been delayed for three times now since April 26.
According to Keita, government officials hinted that they could organize elections in a matter of 3 to 6 months if the parties fail to reach an agreement through the High-Level Revitalization Forum; however, the United Nations said such elections will not be recognized and will only amount to waste of resources and time.
“We said, well, even in places where it is extremely well organized there is no way that you can go through all the steps of preparing elections in the conditions that we are seeing now in South Sudan” she said.
Speaking from experience, the Guinean-UN official said the United Nations has observed from economic, political and humanitarian point of view that South Sudan is not conducive and viable for democratic elections and therefore elections cannot be plan B as the Kiir’s administration hopes.
Although South Sudan government whose mandate expired in 2015 is crippled by the civil war, the war-torn nation has depleted its financial reserves and its embassies are shutting down, one after another, as the government has failed to pay rents for almost one year in most countries.
Many government officials, both at home and abroad, have not been paid their salaries for many months and it is yet to be seen if the young nation can afford to hold elections.
Contrary, South Sudan government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles to hold peace violators accountable during the last round of Peace Revitalization Process.
South Sudan government was also blamed by IGAD and armed opposition for impeding the talks in February this year. While the government delegation took two days protesting in Addis Ababa, Machar’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, was sentenced to death in Juba in what was seen by the SPLM(IO) delegation as a provocation to end the peace talks.
It is yet to be seen if the warring parties will commit in the next round of revitalization peace talks, however, the UN acknowledged that there is a big gap between the warring parties that should be bridged through the ongoing shuttle diplomacy.