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Implement peace deal to persuade hold-out groups- UK envoy

Author: Emmanuel J Akile | Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Chris Trott, the UK ambassador to South Sudan speaks to Eye Radio on Dec 7, 2019. Okot Emmanuel/Eye Radio

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to South Sudan has called on parties to the revitalized peace agreement to demonstrate their commitment to implementing the peace deal in order to encourage the agreement hold-out groups join the process.

Former government army generals Paul Malong and Thomas Cirillo are the hold-out leaders who have refused to sign the revitalized peace agreement.

Thomas Cirilo is heading the South Sudan National Salvation Front, while Paul Malong is the chair of National Democratic Movement.

The UK ambassador to South Sudan, Chris Trott said if parties to the revitalized peace agreement implement the accord, those who have refused to join the process would be persuaded.

“The holdout groups are holding out because they made it very clear during the negotiation that they didn’t think this agreement was going to deliver peace,” Chris Trott told Eye Radio in an interview on Tuesday. “The best way to get them to come on board is to demonstrate that this agreement is delivering peace and then as patriots of South Sudan, they will join the process.”

Gen. Cirilo has often argued that the 2018 revitalized peace agreement does not address the root causes of the conflict, and that his movement is “not after positions,” in reference to the power-sharing formula adopted by the parties to govern the country during the transitional period.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) however rejected reopening the whole agreement for re-negotiations after its signing in September 2018.

Gen. Paul Malong demanded participation in the negotiations of the peace talks but was denied the opportunity by the mediators. He fell out with President Salva Kiir after being dismissed as the army Chief of Staff in 2017.

However, the UK envoy said the peace agreement provides a platform to build peace and the best way to persuade the doubters is to implement the peace deal.

“So rather than just expecting them to jump on board with an agreement that they still think isn’t going to work and I suspect that the delays in the start of the transition have probably reinforced that view, the very best way is to say right, we have now started, we’ve reached an agreement on the outstanding issues, we’ve started the transition, we are working towards elections, now it is your opportunity to be part of the political future of South Sudan,” Mr. Trott added.

In his Martyrs Day speech last year, President Salva Kiir reiterated his appeal to General Paul Malong and Thomas Cirillo to return home and support the revitalized peace agreement.

Kiir said he does not consider the opposition leaders, including the two as enemies but the opposition leaders held their defiant positions, watching from a distance parties to the revitalized peace deal struggle to form a unity government-postponed twice for incomplete execution of critical tasks.

The training and unification of forces is yet to be completed while the stalemate over the number and boundaries of states also remains to be resolved within the remaining 45 days.

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