2023 is a ‘make or break’ year for S Sudan peace parties – UN

The United Nations has described 2023 as a “make or break” year for South Sudanese and the parties to the revitalized peace agreement, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan said.

Nicholas Haysom was on Monday briefing the UN Security Council on the implementation of the  peace deal and the challenges facing it.

“The leadership of South Sudan is now facing a stark choice,” Haysom said. “They can embark upon a path of mutual cooperation and reconciliation, in the urgent implementation of their peace agreement or they can take a low road which privileges self-interest and conflict over nation building.”

Last week, political crisis arose over the dismissal of Angelina Teny as the minister of defense and veteran affairs.

President Salva Kiir on 3rd of March issued a presidential decree relieving Ms Teny and Mahmoud Solomon as interior minister.

He also issued an order taking the defense ministry to the SPLM-IG and interior ministry to the SPLM-IO.

In response, the main opposition party chaired by First Vice President Dr Riek Machar said the development was unilateral and a violation of the pact.

Haysom said the UN mission is following the situation as he asks the parties to uphold the spirit of peace agreement.

“UNMISS is following the recent developments relating to the removal of the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs and we call on the parties to exercise restraint and engage in a collegial spirit in order to resolve such sensitive national issues,” the UN official explained.

The current political setback comes barely eight days after the commencement of the extended transitional period of the roadmap.

The roadmap was developed to provide time-bound guidance on the implementation of outstanding provisions that are critical to the conduct of peaceful and democratic elections at the end of the transitional period.

The government made a public commitment in implementing the peace deal within the 24-month period of roadmap.

Much as the UN acknowledges the commitment and progress, Haysom noted the “slippage” in meeting the timelines set out in the roadmap.

“We believe there are some key hurdles that the parties must clear in order to successfully position South Sudan to complete the final leg of the transitional phase next year,” he added.

Haysom, who is also the special representative of the UN Secretary General, said for the leaders to ensure peaceful transition, there is need to clear six key aspects.

These include the permanent constitution making, reconstitution of political parties’ council, national elections commission, opening of political and civic space, stopping subnational violence, and addressing the humanitarian situations across the country.