Feb 12, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The 70th Exrtra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers met in Addis Ababa, on Saturday, 8th February 2020. In his update to the Council members, Ambassador Lt. General Augostino Njoroge began by giving the latest information on the unification of forces.
He said: “CTSAMVM reports that considerable progress has been made in moving personnel to the designated Training Centres, where at least 36,000 troops are currently assembled.”
However, he continued: “screening, selection and actual joint training of the forces is yet to start. Unification progress has been impeded by challenges including insufficient food, medicines, shelter, and storage for weapons, as well as lack of facilities for female combatants.”
Amb. Lt. Gen Njoroge also informed the Council that “the issue of the number of States and their boundaries remains outstanding despite several efforts to resolve it.”
Accordingly, he urged “that the leadership of the Parties demonstrate the spirit of compromise.”
In closing, he added: “I must underline that the gains made since the signing of the R-ARCSS on the 12th September 2018 must be consolidated, not least in terms of the Permanent Ceasefire, and improved humanitarian access.”
In urging the region, the international community, Partners and Friends of South Sudan to speak with one voice in support of the peace process in South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Njoroge offered the following points which all can agree on.
One Voice 2020
1. Maintaining the Permanent Ceasefire is the best way of consolidating the gains made since signing the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, and it is a key factor which enables progress to be made. Progress delivers its own benefits to all South Sudanese in terms of confidence and trust building.
2. The issue of the number of states and their boundaries, which the R-ARCSS itself recognises as sensitive, is a pivotal issue that if resolved before the formation of the RTGoNU, will underpin much more achievement and cooperation in implementing the Peace Agreement. Mere postponement of implementation of any provisions is harmful in the long run.
3. The unification of forces must continue so that the representative national army and organised forces can be established and deployed to protect all cities, civilians, humanitarian access and the free movement of people. The Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) process is a fundamental part of that process.
4. Inclusivity is critical to the R-TGoNU, and all parts of it will be strengthened if a women’s participation rate of 35% is adhered to. Inclusivity is the bedrock of all aspects on implementation of the Peace Agreement.
5. The humanitarian situation in South Sudan remains grave, and innocent women and children continue to suffer the greatest burden resulting from the conflict. All steps must be put in place to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access.
6. A peaceful and inclusive environment conducive to political engagement must be sought and maintained so that Parties and stakeholders can cooperate with one another meaningfully at every level. The political space for civil society, women and youth to engage with the peace process must be created, protected, and cherished.