Pressure mounts on S. Sudan's Kiir to sign peace deal
AU Commission’s Dlamini-Zuma joins chorus of voices demanding that South Sudan president sign peace deal with rebels
Pressure is mounting on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to sign a peace agreement proposed by the "IGAD-Plus” mediation initiative, which ostensibly aims to end South Sudan’s 20-month-old conflict.
On Wednesday, African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – joining a host of other voices – urged Kiir to sign onto the deal, which has already been signed by Kiir’s rival, rebel leader Riek Machar.
In a statement, Dlamini-Zuma described the proposed agreement as "a balanced document whose faithful and effective implementation by all the parties would enable them to find a lasting solution to the current conflict”.
The international community, she added, was expected to support implementation of the deal.
Dlamini-Zuma issued the statement after meeting with representatives of the various international parties involved in the so-called "IGAD-Plus” peace initiative for South Sudan.
Those parties – which endorsed the agreement on Tuesday – include the U.S., the U.K., China, the EU, Norway, the UN and the AU.
On Monday, the agreement was signed by Machar. Kiir, however, citing "reservations” about certain articles of the deal – especially those pertaining to the issue of executive authority – refused to sign the document.
Instead, he requested another two weeks in which to discuss the issue with top military officials in Juba.
In her Wednesday statement, Dlamini-Zuma called on Kiir to sign the document within two weeks, warning that his continued failure to do so would "spell further disaster for South Sudan and its people, with far reaching implications for regional security and stability”.
The IGAD-Plus initiative’s international partners have called on Kiir to respect a new 15-day deadline set for signing a final deal or face punitive measures.
The latest developments follow the expiry of an August 17 deadline – also set under the rubric of IGAD-plus – for concluding a final peace agreement.
Notably, last week, South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makue accused the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) – an East African regional bloc – of "forcing” both sides to accept the peace agreement.
"We are being forced to sign a deal about which we aren’t convinced,” he had said at the time. "The parties [to the conflict] are being forced to accept the document without a chance to negotiate.”
Makue also described the appointment of foreign nationals to the chairmanship of a Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee on South Sudan and National Election Commission as "a new form of colonialism”.
South Sudan has been torn by conflict since late 2013, when Kiir accused Machar, his sacked vice president, of leading a coup attempt against him. In the 20 months since, tens of thousands of people have reportedly been killed and millions reportedly displaced.
Last Modified: 2015-08-20 08:45:34
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