Communiqué from High-Level Event on South Sudan at Headquarters, 29 September 2015

SG/2221-AFR/3230
2 October 2015

Communiqué from High-Level Event on South Sudan at Headquarters, 29 September 2015

A high-level event on South Sudan took place on 29 September 2015 at the Head of State level.  This event, on the margins of the general debate, was hosted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and co-chaired by the African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha, and the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia.  President Salva Kiir Mayardit addressed the event from Juba via videoconference, and Vice-President James Wani Igga, Riek Machar Teny and Pagan Amum Okech attended the event in person.  As an outcome of the meeting, the members of IGAD Plus supported issuing the following communiqué:

We commend President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Riek Machar Teny and Pagan Amum Okech for signing the Agreement on the Resolution of the South Sudan Conflict, and for taking the step to bring an end to 21 months of civil war.  We commend the members of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly and the Liberation Council of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in Opposition for endorsing the Agreement on 10 September 2015.  We also commend the efforts of the IGAD Special Envoys, and the active support provided by the Governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda in facilitating the negotiations and supporting the signing of the peace agreement, and the concurrent efforts of the members of the IGAD Plus for displaying unity of purpose behind IGAD at critical times in the negotiations.  We underline the importance of continued engagement by IGAD Plus in support of the implementation of the Agreement.  We also recognize the importance of the support to be provided by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations country team for the implementation of the Agreement.  We call on the parties to fully cooperate with UNMISS to enable the Mission to effectively discharge its mandate, and on the Government to fully respect the Status of Forces Agreement.

We call on the Agreement signatories to proceed without delay with its full implementation and on all leaders of South Sudan to once again come together as they did at the time of independence, and to rededicate themselves to cooperate in serving their people and assisting them to emerge from the trauma of war and rebuild their lives.

We commend the Government of the Republic of South Sudan for agreeing to the important modalities for the Implementation of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements in accordance with Chapter II of the peace agreement, and urge the SPLM in Opposition to urgently do so.  We call on the parties to proceed expeditiously with the discontinuation of military operations in accordance with the Agreement, the disengagement of forces on the ground, the cantonment of their troops and integration of forces, beginning with those in Juba.  We urge them to reach agreement soonest on security arrangements for Juba and other major towns to enable the return of the SPLM in Opposition leadership, and respect all the security commitments outlined in the peace agreement to build confidence amongst the civilian population so that they can start returning to their homes.

We call upon the signatories to the Agreement to start planning the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity, and engage constructively to support the establishment of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism.  We believe that the timely commencement of the implementation process will assist the parties to maintain the agreed timelines outlined in the peace agreement, and look forward to the timely and full implementation of the provisions of the Agreement that cover vital areas of governance, security, reconstruction, financial transparency, justice, accountability and reconciliation, the adoption of a permanent constitution and the holding of national elections to usher in a representative Government.

We recognize that the peace agreement calls for comprehensive reform in the establishment and functioning of public institutions, and encourage the adoption of forward-looking plans and initiatives to provide much-needed services to the people.  We strongly urge for collegial and inclusive processes of engagement in reforming these key national institutions, and urge the Transitional Government of National Unity to commit to investing its funds towards the provision of services to the people to that end.  We stand ready to provide support to the Government and people of South Sudan in this major endeavour of transformation.

We remain very concerned over the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.  About 2.2 million people have been uprooted by the conflict, of which nearly 1.4 million are internally displaced, including over 200,000 at United Nations bases.  Over 630,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries and about 4.6 million people face acute food insecurity.  We call on both parties to lift restrictions on humanitarian access, take full responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of humanitarian workers and extend meaningful assurances of safety for humanitarian operations.  We look forward to the voluntary return, resettlement and rehabilitation of all South Sudanese displaced and exiled from their homes, and the resumption of their lives as free citizens of their country.  We call on the Government and on donor countries to address the $700 million humanitarian funding gap needed to assist the victims of this conflict, as well as mobilize support for the implementation of the peace agreement.

The human rights situation in South Sudan remains of extreme concern.  We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, all violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law that have been committed during the conflict.  We welcome the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council in its Summit of 26 September 2015, notably to ask the African Union Commission to establish an independent hybrid judicial court in accordance with Chapter V (3) of the Agreement.  We remain committed to helping the parties ensure that those responsible for crimes committed are held to account, and in this regard we stand ready to support the African Union Commission establish a credible, impartial and effective court that provides the South Sudanese people the justice they deserve.  We call on the parties to fully implement the provisions of the peace agreement related to justice, accountability and reconciliation.

The Agreement provides a unique opportunity for the people of South Sudan to resume the process of rebuilding their nation and transitioning from war to peace.  We are fully committed to supporting South Sudan and its people as they embark on the path of recovery, peace and development.

Note:  The members of IGAD Plus are IGAD, the African Union, Algeria, Chad, China, Djibouti, Ethiopia, the European Union, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States.

For information media. Not an official record.