By Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno Chairman
At The 11th CTSAMVM Technical Committee Meeting
Juba, South Sudan.
June 11th 2019(Nyamilepedia) — Dear CTC members, Dear Colleagues, Representatives from the Board members and partners, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 11th meeting of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee.
The past month is the first month into the extended Pre- Transitional Period and the Parties have taken some clear steps forward in implementing the tasks of Chapter II of the Peace Agreement.
First, there was the workshop for the security mechanisms held by the IGAD Special Envoy and RJMEC. CTSAMVM appreciates the commitment made there by the Parties to form the Necessary Unified Forces at a force size of 83,000.
Second, there were workshops on training curricula by the JTSC and DDR with the Parties to the Agreement. This week there is a training workshop for the AJMCCs and JMCTs.
Third, there have been other activities including visits by JMCC to different cantonment sites. CTSAMVM has been there to provide logistical and liaison support when necessary, and has provided the master ceasefire maps. We
also conducted a Joint Field Visit to Luri on 14 May 2019. Although we were
Fourth, the ceasefire has, in general, been successful and this represents a major achievement for the Parties to the Agreement. There are tensions in several areas but indications are that the cause of tension and any associated fighting is a result of intercommunal differences.
The situation in Yei River State appears to be calm apart from 2 alleged ambushes by NAS on 22 May 19 at Kegiko and on 24 May between Kagulu and Lotaye. However, CTSAMVM has received a number of allegations of civilian harassment and detention of personnel. They are to be investigated.
Verification of Cantonment is a priority of CTSAMVM during the extended Pre-Transitional Period with the JDB having identified 35 cantonment areas. Of these 35, CTSAMVM has assessed 20. CTSAMVM found that 17 of the 20 assessed sites are suitable for cantonment with 1 not suitable and 2 disputed. We urge the JDB to quickly resolve the disputed cantonment sites.
Cantonment as you know provides the very basis for the implementation of the Security Arrangements, without which the Peace Agreement cannot be implemented. When troops are cantoned they will be separated, thus keeping the risk of any sort of military engagement to a minimum. Further, cantonment will allow the other activities of the Security Arrangements – such as registration, screening for eligibility for future service, DDR, to take place.
Access for CTSAMVM has improved and we appreciate the efforts of all the Parties to allow us access. After our joint visit to 5th Division SSPDF which included the US and Egyptian Defense attaches, we are now allowed access to all of 5th Division’s units. However challenges remain with 3rd Division SSPDF as they continue to deny access insisting on clear instruction from HQ. Also, the SSPDF Special Force Division Deputy Commander in Mankien denied the MVT in Bentiu access for force verification on 26 April citing the same reason. Again we urge the Parties to allow full and unhindered access as they committed to do with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 2017 and the R-ARCSS.
A joint field visit was also conducted to Luri, headed by myself. We were welcomed by the Acting Chief of Training and observed jointly the training centre. However the acting Chief of Training again insisted on pre- notification before any verification.
Regarding the vacation of civil buildings, we thank the SSPDF for vacating four schools in the Malakal area, including Pakang Basic School in Obai and Pio Yukwan Secondary School in Wadakona. We also thank the SPLM/A-IO for vacating Gaderu Primary School in Gaderu in the Yei area. Despite this progress, however, there remain 54 civilian buildings occupied by the armed forces, 52 by the SSPDF and 2 by the SPLM/A-IO. Again, we strenuously urge the Parties to treat this task as a matter of urgency and vacate civilian facilities immediately.
The financial challenges at CTSAMVM as previously reported at the last CTSAMVM Technical Committee continue and they have negatively impacted our monitoring and verification capabilities. Despite our meetings with NPTC, they have yet to disperse funds to be utilized for CTSAMVM, the CTSAMVM Board meetings, and the CTSAMVM Technical Committee meetings.
However, we do appreciate NPTC and their agreement to pay the costs of travel and accommodation for the party representatives travelling to Juba for this important meeting.
Finally, I want to emphasize again, CTSAMVM including its monitors, both international and national, acts independently, impartially and with neutrality. These are the values that command the confidence of all the Parties and the respect of the international community. Our cooperation with the Parties and contribution from the international community enable CTSAMVM to fulfil its mission without leading to bias against any party or any of CTSAMVM’s partners. Any attack on the integrity of CTSAMVM or its staff is false and unacceptable.