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Watchdog urges pressure on South Sudan to resolve pending issues  

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir attends a medals awarding ceremony for long serving servicemen of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the Bilpam, military headquarters in Juba. Photo: Reuters

December 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A UK-based watchdog has urged the international community to apply pressure against South Sudan parties to resolve outstanding pre-transitional tasks which would enable for the formation of a transitional government.

The government in Juba and several opposition groups signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement in September last year to end the conflict which has killed and displaced many in the world’s youngest nation.

In a report released on Tuesday, the Conflict Research Programme, a watchdog group based in the UK, urged the international community to pressure South Sudan parties to resolve the outstanding issues rather than applying such pressure to force the parties on deadlines

“There are many outstanding questions in South Sudan that can be addressed in the coming 100 days. It is impractical to expect these issues to be settled, but it is possible to minimize the risks of regression (the breakdown of the ceasefire and a return to war) and it is feasible to move forward on crucial topics, as outlined in the previous section,” the report said.

“Insofar as the internationals want to signal their discontent with the parties’ lack of good faith and their determination to see a better outcome for the South Sudanese people, they are advised to apply pressure on resolving the key issues, rather than applying pressure on the deadline,” it added.

The report titled: “South Sudan: The Politics of Delay said the most critical concern in South Sudan’s ongoing peace process was “maintaining the ceasefire in South Sudan: a slow political process is far preferable to a return to war. A close second is maintaining forward motion in addressing the host of governance issues facing the country; continued discussion is better than a lurch into authoritarianism.”

“This memo indicates that the 100-day delay should be seen by international policymakers, not as a new focal point for intensified deadline diplomacy, but as an opportunity for advancing consultation and strengthening action towards a civic peace agenda. It also offers South Sudanese civil society actors an analysis of elite politics and syntheses of research findings that are relevant for further deliberation and advocacy.

“International diplomatic practice in South Sudan has, for the most part, pragmatically adopted operating procedures that take account of the disorderly nature of South Sudanese politics. However, we argue that such practice would be more effective if it were informed by a vocabulary and framework that enables a more structured understanding of the benefits, as well as the downsides of delay.”

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