The U.S ambassador in Juba has criticized the involvement of South Sudan’s government officials in the Sudan peace talks being hosted by Juba, saying it is distracting them from implementing their own peace agreement.
South Sudan is mediating the peace talks between the government in Sudan and its armed forces yet it is struggling to implement is own peace deal signed over a year ago.
“I have been very concerned from the beginning that South Sudan’s role in the Sudan peace talks doesn’t be a distraction to doing what they need to be doing for their own peace process here,” Ambassador Thomas Hushek said in a press conference at the US embassy in Juba on Wednesday.
Last year, President Salva Kiir offered to mediate between the government in Sudan and its rebels after the former Sudan president Omar al-Bashir mediated talks between government and oppositions groups which led to the signing of the revitalized peace agreement last September.
In September this year, Kiir formed a five-member team to mediate between the Sovereign Council in Sudan and the Sudanese armed groups operating in the Darfur and South Kordufan areas.
The five-member mediation team include the minister in the office of the president, Mayiik Ayii Deng, Dhieu Mathok Diing, Manase Lomule and Akol Koor, and Tut Gatluak, the presidential adviser for security affairs.
However, Tut Gatluak is also the chairperson of the National Pre-Transitional Committee- a body formed to oversee implementation of pre-transitional tasks of the revitalized peace agreement. The committee has been heavily criticized for failing to mobilize resources and implement pending tasks of the peace deal.
“In fact many of the people who are in the government that are working on the Sudan peace talks are supposed to be working day in day out on the South Sudan peace process and they haven’t been doing that job full time,” Mr. Hushek added.
The government and opposition groups have postponed formation of a unity government twice due to unaccomplished critical tasks such as the security arrangements and the determination of the number of states and their boundaries.
In November, political commentators and civil society groups suggested the replacement of Tut Gatluak as chairperson of the NPTC, saying he could not effectively work on the two peace processes.
According to the US ambassador doing two jobs at a go is “a big problem, and a distraction to peace efforts in South Sudan.
Parties to the revitalized peace deal have until February 22 to form a coalition government.
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Published Wednesday, April 8, 2020
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