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UNSC disappointed by Machar’s request

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Monday, October 21, 2019

UNSC team at the Juba International Airport on Sunday, Oct 20, 2019 | Credit | Obaj Okuj/Eye Radio

The UN Security Council has expressed disappointment over SPLM-IO leader’s statement calling for extension of the pre-transitional period.

Over the weekend, Dr. Riek Machar, President Salva Kiir, other opposition leaders and the UNSC delegation met in Juba.

The meeting was held less than three weeks before the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity.

According to subsequent agreements by the parties, they are required to train half of 83,000 troops and unify them under the army, national security and the police services.

However, the Joint Defense Board, which is facilitating the reforms, has reportedly told the parties that the training has not begun, despite the six-month extension.

There are reports of a shortage of funding, and lack of basic military supplies at the cantonment sites.

The leaders have also been blamed for delaying the process by failing to demonstrate a political will to resolve the contentious issues on the number of states and the security arrangements.

However, Dr. Machar who returned to Juba on Saturday told the visiting members of the UNSC that without the Necessary Unified Forces, the peace agreement would face similar challenges as in 2016.

He said there is a need to extend the pre-transitional period to give more time for the security sector reforms to take place.

“What we found out is that, even in three months, we will not be ready to form the Necessary Unified Force. It is clear we need to extend,” Dr. Machar argued.

“The same issues we are discussing now were the ones that brought about the crisis in 2016 – security arrangements, the number of States. Why would you want to replicate that?”

However, the UN Security Council says the new government should be established next month as agreed by the parties in May this year.

“We were disappointed by statements from Dr. Riek Machar that the ceasefire would be in jeopardy if the government is formed by November the 12th,” Kelly Craft, US ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters at JIA on Sunday.

“Political leadership must listen to the voices of South Sudan’s people calling for peace. They must recommit to the permanent ceasefire and it must start speaking the language of unity and compromise.”

The other signatories to the peace agreement, including the government and Eminent Personality Rebecca Nyandeng have rejected the request to extend the pre-transitional period one more.

The First Vice President-designate and the President are expected to meet again to arrive at a political decision before the formation of the government on 12 November.

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