Fragility of IGAD-Plus Peace Deal in South Sudan exposes By Ater Garang Ariath
A South Sudanese soldier stands with a flag in his boot at a parade marking the 31st anniversary of the formation of the Sudan People Liberation’s Army at the John Garang mausoleum in Juba on May 16, 2014. The SPLA guerrilla movement ecame the new republic’s regular army.CHARLES LOMODONG/AFP/Getty Images
we look back on recently concluded Compromise Peace Agreement by South Sudanese warring parties, we explored diverse opinions why permanent ceasefire declared by the two principles President Salva Kiir and the rebel leader Riek Machar likely to fail the test of time.
Parties to protracted conflict last month finally signed agreement, declared permanent ceasefire following months of negotiations. Chair of Sudan People Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar and Pagan Amum Okiech representing the Former Political Detainees (FDs), 17 August signed final peace agreement that was customized following 16 August IGAD Heads of State summit which included meeting with President Kiir and Machar. President Kiir on 26 August signed deal after IGAD gave government fifteen additional days for “wider consultation” and threatened sanctions, arms embargo if no signature following President Kiir’s refusal to sign on 17 August deadline.
President Kiir and Machar declared permanent ceasefire effective midnight 30 August last month, but reality on ground shows two warring armed forces are still engaging in fighting. However, the Information and Broadcasting Minister Michael Makuei Lueth lately directed blames to the IGAD mediators saying crumble of permanent ceasefire implementation came as delayed of workshop intended to bring the high command of both warring forces in Addis-Ababa earlier this month. Therefore, I have held press conference last week in regard to the permanent ceasefire, explaining how the workshop which was scheduled to take place on 5th September was delayed by IGAD, Lueth noted in explanation of the ongoing retrogress of the permanent ceasefire declaration.
We received report or letter from IGAD on the night of the 3rd September, meanwhile our team is supposed to leaves on the 4th of September this month, we received a letter on the 3rd telling us that due to delayed of the lists of participants and logistical problems, we are calling off this workshop until further notice, this is what we received on the 3rd September, Lueth commented.
And based on that I organized a press conference in which I held “IGAD responsibility”, for whatever delays in the implementation of the agreement and especially at the time when this workshop was meant to prepare and pave the way for the establishment of the “Permanent Ceasefire Monitoring team” and also for the establishment of a joint military command, Lueth asserted. This did not happen, so we called off the team, the team did not go, it was only the day before yesterday on date 8th September that we received a letter again from IGAD, telling us that now you can send your team and I am sure our team must be leaving by now (11, September, 2015), they are now in the Airport and they should be leaving, he said. They are going and they will start workshop tomorrow ( 12 ,September, 2015) and will continue up to 17th after which they are supposed to come back as establish joint and monitoring team for the permanent ceasefire and also as joint command for the leadership of the two armies, the Minister continued.
This is what we are expecting and we are expecting them to come back as soon as they finish this workshop, it’s not only our delegation but combined establish two bodies will have to be based here in Juba, Lueth explained. We are expecting our team to come back together with team of the rebels so that they come and sit here in Juba to start monitoring the permanent ceasefire and start implementing all the others security arrangements and this is what we are expecting to happens, said Minister.
“ it’s IGAD which delayed “ not us and this is why last week I wrote a letter to IGAD telling them that we don’t want this language of both parties are in violations, there is no question of both parties are in violation this time, if there is a delays, or violations from any side calls “spade a spade” , so we told them that we don’t want to hear again that due to the delayed in the list, he added.
Because we know, we are confidence the government sent its list and if there is delayed from the other side; you say the delayed from the rebel side that what I will say and we will continue to monitor whatever violation or delayed from which side, we will continue to keep people inform about it so that we are not held responsible for whatever delayed, he pointed.
The government forces spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer Panyang in recent media spotlight assured that as per the signed Compromise Peace Agreement between the government and the rebels, the SPLA is committed to implement the permanent ceasefire as per the orders of the commander in chief and the chief of general staff by the 29th of August and shall remain committed during the process. On the side of the rebels it has been made clear by their actions and utterances that the rebels are dragging their feet’s in implementing the ceasefire, cited that the continuous attacks in Unity State and Upper Nile indicate lack of seriousness on the side of the armed opposition, Panyang continued. The Army spokesperson stressed that now the rebels have mobilized 5,000 men South of Malakal with intention to attack Malakal and other mobilization is meant to attack Nasir in Upper Nile, therefore, we hereby repeat our invitation for international monitors to monitor the ceasefire and recommit ourselves as SPLA to a peace that will alleviate the suffering of our people. The former SPLA –In Opposition spokesperson and now sided with the government Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang and the leader of South Sudan Resistance Movement / Army said the deliberate act of delaying deployment of monitoring and verification mechanism is aimed at providing ample time for rebels to continue waging war against the army with ultimate objective of making more territorial gains before monitors are deployed. The latest rebel offensives and offensive posture indicate of their intention to capture any of the three state capitals particularly Malakal town so that it’s made their General Headquarters during the transitional period, Koang articulate. It’s regrettable that the regional body tasked with responsibility of restoring peace and stability is colluding with the main architect of December 15th 2013 coup attempt to prolong the suffering of the people of South Sudan, he asserted.
South Sudan Resistance Movement/ Army leader calls upon neutral bodies to bear pressure on IGAD Plus mediation team to once again embrace principles of impartiality and neutrality it had abandoned in order to remain a credible organization. According to the analysts , the ongoing military leaders workshop in Addis-Ababa is marred by intensive confrontations and raised serious doubts that possibility for the joint military command establish prior to 17th symposium deadline remain elusive . The military workshop which supposed to elapse tomorrow 17th September 2015 in Addis –Ababa , especially with formation of the joint military command is unlikely to be materialized per the
situation surrounding controversial expanded compromise peace agreement for resolution of South Sudan conflict. President Salva Kiir on Tuesday in his first nation address after the signature of the Compromise Peace Agreement on 26th August last month in Juba, reaffirmed strong political will to implement the agreement, but cited previous “serious reservations”, to be look into by the regional, international and friendly nations.