COVID-19 should not be an excuse to delay peace implementation – US embassy in Juba

Photo: The US Ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek speaks during a press conference at the US embassy in Juba, South Sudan, on December 19, 2019 |Credit | PETER LOUIS/AFP via Getty Images.

July 31, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – The United States government has said that COVID-19 pandemic is not an excuse to further delay the implementation of some provisions of South Sudan’s revitalized peace agreement saying some of the provisions of the 2018 peace deal could be implemented remotely.

The US statement came as disagreements between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny continue over the fate of Upper Nile state following Kiir’s rejection of General Johnson Olony who had been nominated as governor of the oil-rich state by SPLM-IO chairman and First Vice President Machar.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a very real threat to all of us, and has affected each and every one of us on how we do things every day: we wear masks, we have to watch our social distancing, we have to think more carefully on how to conduct business with each other and in large groups,” the US embassy in Juba said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is a time when some meetings can be done remotely, it is a time when some meetings have to be managed more carefully, but it is not a time or an excuse to stop doing what needs to be done to govern a country,” it added.

The statement said meetings between the presidency, notably between Kiir and Machar should continue and should not be affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and accountability should take its course.

“The meetings of the collective presidency should not be affected by COVID-19, the council of ministers should be meeting now. The business of accountable governance must and should proceed even in these trying times,” the statement said.

It further said that the US government was concerned over the delayed implementation of the revitalized peace agreement pointing to the continued disagreement between Kiir and Machar over the governorship of Upper Nile state.

“The Embassy of the United States is concerned with continued delays in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan,” the statement said.

“Five months after the launching of the transitional government, we note continued and persistent delays in the establishment of a transitional national legislative assembly, the continued dispute over the governorship of Upper Nile, and the continued absence of empowered state and county administrations,” it further added.

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