AU reaffirms support for South Sudan peace process

The African Union has affirmed its continued support for the South Sudan peace process.

This was underscored during the unannounced visit to Juba on Monday by Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the chairperson of the continental body, AU. He met with President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar at the State House, J1.

“I came to let you know that we are available at your disposal as the African Union to help you build peace,” he stated.

Last week, President Kiir received the roadmap on how the transitional period should end and to usher the country into democratic elections. The revised timeframe is set to be presented to the presidency this week although the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar has rejected it – saying the document does not reflect the views of all parties to the revitalized peace agreement.

The drafting of the roadmap was spearheaded by the chairperson of the National Transitional Committee, Tut Gatluak, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Elia Lomoro and Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth.

The slow pace of the implementation of the 2018 peace deal has been attributed to a lack of political will and funding by the unity government. Its partial implementation has largely depended on external funding from international donors such as the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Canada, and European Union.

But this month, the United States dealt a blow to the parties by announcing it has pulled out support for peace peace monitoring bodies; RJMEC and CTSAMVM. It cited lack of will from the leaders to implement the agreement.

During a joint media briefing in Juba, the AU leader express optimism for South Sudan peace process.

‘I came here to support the peace process in South Sudan and I’m happy to meet the President and the First Vice President Dr. Machar as we work together to consolidate peace. It takes time to rebuild the nation and that is why – despite the challenges, it is very important to take time to build something meaningful and beautiful. This will help you to address the real problem of development,” he told Kiir and Machar.

On July 7, President Salva Kiir – during a mass presided by the Vatican Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin – pledged to steer South Sudan towards permanent peace and stability despite obstacles he said are contributing to the slow-paced implementation.

The transitional period is expected to an end in the next six months although most of the provisions in the peace deal have not been implemented. Crucial reforms unrealized in the deal include institutional reforms, enactment of permanent constitution, graduation of unified forces, funding of reparation and reconciliation bodies, among others.