We welcome the swearing-in, on April 26, 2016, of H.E. Dr. Reik Machar as the First Vice President, and the appointment, on April 28, by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, of the Ministers of the Transitional Government of National Unity, in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan of 17 August 2015.In addition, we congratulate the people of South Sudan on the initiation of this transition, which was achieved through the efforts of the JMEC along with regional and international partners. In this regard, we commend the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, former President Festus G. Mogae on the work he has done as JMEC Chairperson and the leadership he has shown, and the facilitation role being played by the AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konare. While appreciating the role played by the leaders of the IGAD region thus far, we express our hope that they will remain actively seized with the implementation of the Agreement.
We also welcome the April 26 statements by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for cooperation, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence. We express our hope that this positive spirit will enable the swift establishment of all transition institutions and the full implementation of ARCSS.
In this regard, we underline that maintaining this spirit of cooperation and enhanced consultation will be crucial as the country begins the most critical phase in the implementation of the Agreement. We emphasize that the formation of the Transitional Government marks the beginning of a 30-month transition that, as the parties stated in the ARCSS, will undertake “institutional and structural reforms to ensure effective governance in the Republic of South Sudan.” In that regard, we also note the importance of participation of other political parties in the JMEC and other transitional institutions in accordance with Chapter 1 Article 3.1 of the Agreement.
We look forward to rapid progress within the early months of the transition on the foundational reforms outlined in the agreement, including, the incorporation of the ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution of 2011, the drafting and ratification of a permanent constitution; completion of the Strategic Defense and Security Review process; creating an enabling environment for unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection; enhancing transparency and accountability of public finances; and establishing the necessary institutions to advance justice and reconciliation. These are indispensable measures that will build the confidence of the South Sudanese people and its partners.
We reiterate our support for the January 31 Communiqué of the IGAD Council of Ministers, endorsed by JMEC on February 2, 2016, which, in the absence of agreement on the creation of new states, urged the suspension of further action on implementing the operationalization of new states until an inclusive, participatory boundary Commission comprising all parties to the ARCSS reviews proposed states and their boundaries.
We are concerned by the recent reports of ceasefire violations. We call on all parties to honor their commitment to a permanent ceasefire and to ensure freedom of movement for CTSAMM monitors. We also underscore the importance of establishing the National Security Architecture.
We are alarmed by the massive humanitarian needs in South Sudan. We also noted with concern the obstacles put by some parties on the movement of humanitarian assistance. In this regard, we call on all parties to facilitate the full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to ensure timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, to all those in need. We also expressed our strong support for a speedy establishment of the Reconstruction Board in line with the Agreement.
We call on all officials and parties to desist from making any obstructive public statements, so as to maintain the positive momentum towards the full implementation of the Agreement and avoid reversal of the achievements made thus far. We also note that the ultimate responsibility for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan rests with its leaders. It is time for the country’s leaders to work together and give the people of South Sudan what they want and deserve—peace.
We recognize that the conflict has significantly affected the country’s fledgling economy and brought serious difficulty to the daily life of the South Sudanese people. We further emphasize the primary responsibility for improving the economic condition of the country through judicious use of revenues is that of the South Sudanese Government. We urge the Transitional Government of National Unity urgently to engage the International Financial Institutions and the international donor community in order to develop and share an accurate analysis of the economic situation and chart new policies, which address the needs of the South Sudanese people. The international donors will continue their support for the people of South Sudan. Further assistance will be dependent on significant economic reform and transparency by the Transitional Government.
We fully support President Mogae’s work, his mandate, the integrity of JMEC, and the decisions taken so far in furtherance of the peace agreement as well as the need to strengthen JMEC’s capacity for it to play its critical role at this complex stage in the implementation of the Agreement. In this regard, we fully support the Chairperson’s efforts to resolve the issue of political party participation in JMEC, the transitional government, and other transitional institutions. Partners have resolved to support JMEC to perform its all important functions with financial and technical resources.
The JMEC Partners Group will remain in close contact with our representatives in Juba, and will together remain vigilant in supporting JMEC and the South Sudanese parties to ensure all elements of the agreement are implemented in good faith. The group will convene again in July 2016 in Khartoum to further support South Sudan and ARCSS implementation, and may also convene on an ad hoc basis as necessary.