S. Sudan peace monitor urges parties to expedite troop movements as deadline looms

Parties to South Sudan’s September 2018 peace deal have been urged to expedite the process of troop movements to cantonment sites and barracks towards an immediate realisation of the agreed Necessary Unified Forces.

The urgent call came as the parties to the September 2018 revitalised peace deal gathered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday to find solutions to the stalemate in the implementation of the revitalised accord on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.

Augostino Njoroge, Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluating Commission, urged the parties to the peace deal to “expedite the process of troop movements to cantonment sites and barracks, selection and immediate training of the Necessary Unified Forces”.

The process of troop movements to cantonment sites and barracks, envisaged to form a unified South Sudanese army of 83,000 personnel to support implementation of the 2018 peace deal.

“The Parties should give direction and timelines on the operationalisation of several cantonment sites across the country and in respective states as a start and within the remaining Pre-Transitional Period,” Njoroge added.

The commission also urged the parties to expedite “the reconstitution of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Commission and make it respective to the needs of those who shall not qualify for selection into the Necessary Unified Forces”.

Signatories to South Sudan’s fragile peace agreement on May 3 agreed to extend the formation of the transitional government by six months following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved issues.

The ongoing meeting came following the East African bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), summon of the parties to the 2018 peace deal for a meeting in Addis Ababa to find solutions to the current stalemate amid the approaching deadline for the six-month Pre-Transitional Period.

According to Njoroge, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism has already verified 23 cantonment sites and 10 barracks as suitable for cantonment and barracking of forces.

The Joint Transitional Security Committee had also identified 18 training centers for the 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces.

 “Regrettably, however, none of the designated sites is operational, and not a single former combatant has been registered,” Njoroge said. “This also meant that training of forces is yet to begin,” he added.  –Xinhua

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