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Kenya's envoy visits South Sudan for peace deal

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-10 09:42

Kenya's special envoy to South Sudan Kalonzo Musyoka is in the east-central African country to follow up on implementation of the September 2018 peace agreement.

Musyoka held a discussion with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and other senior government officials on Thursday upon arrival to the country's capital Juba, on the progress of implementation of the peace deal.

South Sudan's presidency said in a statement that the consultative meeting between Musyoka and the stakeholders as well as signatories to the revitalized peace agreement is meant to ensure the formation of a transitional government of national unity by Nov 12.

Musyoka's visit to South Sudan comes three days after the body monitoring South Sudan's ceasefire, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, expressed fears over the slow implementation of the peace deal.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 13th technical committee meeting of cease-fire monitoring body in Juba on Monday, Abiche Ageno, chairman of the monitoring mechanism, said even though much had been achieved in the last three months as the moves toward peace gather momentum, a great deal of work still needs to be done.

Ageno said they had assessed 33 cantonment sites out of which two were found unsuitable due to lack of water or a suitable location. The sites are used for screening, training and integrating of troops and rebels into one force.

He said despite the challenges posed by the rainy season, a number of civilian buildings had been vacated by the South Sudan Army and the National Security Service.

He said out of the 83 buildings identified by the cease-fire monitoring body as being occupied, 47 have been vacated.

President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal on September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to officially end the conflict.

National army

The agreement, referred to as the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, gave the parties eight months to unify a national army and resolve internal boundaries.

On May 3, the warring parties agreed to extend the pre-transitional period for six months to address outstanding issues such as security arrangements, including screening of forces, determining the number of states and demarcation of boundaries.

A nationwide cease-fire between the signatories has been holding since the signing of the agreement, even though fighting has been ongoing between the government and smaller groups clustered in South Sudan's Equatoria region who remain outside the peace deal, according to the International Crisis Group.

Africa's youngest nation descended into civil war in December 2013, after President Kiir claimed that Machar was plotting a coup. This led to removal of Machar as vice-president, leading to the eruption of violence between presidential guard soldiers from the two largest ethnic groups in South Sudan.

Soldiers from the Dinka ethnic group allied with Kiir while those from the Nuer ethnic group supported Machar. The violence spread to various parts of the country.

The conflict has so far claimed over 50,000 lives and internally displaced about 4 million people, with 2.3 million fleeing to neighboring countries as refugees and asylum-seekers.

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