Summit Level Session on South Sudan

Date | 30 June, 2018

Tomorrow (30 June 2018), the Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have a summit
level session on South Sudan. The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission is expected to provide a briefing report to the session. Others expected to address the summit include South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chair of the High level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in his capacity as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). It is also anticipated that President Omar Hussein Al-Bashir of Sudan and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni will brief the PSC
on the talks that was convened in Khartoum and the subsequent signing of a declaration of agreement by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr Riek Machar.

As framed on the agenda of the session, this meeting in part aims at reviewing
implementation of the PSC decision of its 720th meeting held on 20 September 2017. In this respect, the PSC would be interested to assess the progress made in terms of the IGAD peace process under the High-Level Revitalization Forum and the tripartite coordination between IGAD, AU and UN, and the signing and domestication of the MoU on the establishment of the Hybrid Court. Additionally, a major area of concern has also been the continuation of the conflict and violation of agreed terms particularly in relation to the ceasefire.

In terms of the briefing from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, issues expected to be covered include the continued nonimplementation and violation of commitments that the parties made under the ongoing peace process. Apart from expressing concern about these continuing challenges, it is expected that the PSC would urge support for and reinforcement of the role of the Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism (JMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanisms (CTSAMM). In this respect, the briefing note underscores the need for equipping and enabling the CTSAMM to speedily investigate and report all violations. With respect to the role of the AU, one area that may receive close attention is the role of the High-Level Ad Hoc Committee of the AU on South Sudan. Indeed, the PSC summit follows immediately after the meeting of Ad Hoc Committee that President Ramaphosa is expected to chair. Apart from reviewing the state of the South Sudan peace process, the issue of how to leverage and reinforce the role of the Committee vis-à-vis the work of IGAD is expected to be high on the agenda of the Committee’s meeting. This is expected to feed into the PSC summit, which may define how best to leverage the role of the Committee. As the summit reviews the progress in the peace process, very important focus of tomorrow’s session is expected to be the recent round of the HLRF, including most notably the signing of the ‘Khartoum Declaration of Agreement between parties of the conflict of South Sudan’ on 27 June. As part of the IGAD briefing it is expected to update the PSC on the
recent round of the HLRF, which convened talks between the parties on governance and security arrangements from 17 to 23 June.

With the parties unable to reach a compromise, the IGAD proposed a “Bridging
Proposal” outlining a middle ground on the parties’ negotiating positions related to key governance and security issues. In further attempt to get the parties to resolve their differences, the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government convened on 21 June its 32nd Extraordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia focusing on South Sudan. To this end, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and IGAD Chairperson Abiy Ahmed brought President Kiir and Machar for a face-to-face meeting for the first time since the collapse of the peace agreement in 2016. With the parties still unable to agree to the IGAD bridging proposal, the IGAD Assembly assigned Sudan’s President Bashir to facilitate a second round face-to-face meeting between the two. This meeting convened in Khartoum with the presence of President Musenevi, who was not present during the IGAD Assembly meeting in Addis Ababa, led to the signing by the two sides the declaration of agreement referred to above. Others who signed the agreement are representatives of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, Former Detainees and other political parties. Notably, it was witnessed by the IGAD Special Envoy and members of the Troika (Norway, the UK and the US) with Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir as its guarantor.

In terms of content, the declaration stipulated that instead of IGAD’s proposal a ‘Revised Bridging Proposal’ will be concluded by the end of the current round of talks in Khartoum. Whether this has indeed been concluded and what the contents of the revised bridging proposal would be part of the issues that
President Bashir is expected to clarify in his briefing to the PSC. As indicated in the statement that the AU Commission Chairperson issued, the PSC is expected to welcome the signing of the declaration in Khartoum. For PSC members, given the repeated violation of previous agreements by the parties, there is interest to know the level of commitment of the parties for complying with the agreement. In this context, it is interesting if this signal for achieving a settlement would avoid discussion on punitive measures. As envisaged in the AUC Chair’s briefing note, the PSC could indeed welcome the outcome of the 62nd meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers and PSC’s 720th session decision to impose punitive measures against those who obstruct peace and violate peace agreements.

Other issues of interest from the perspective of the PSC relate to the operationalization of the Hybrid Court for which the AU has a responsibility under the South Sudan Peace Agreement. In this respect, despite the fact that the Government of South Sudan signed the MoU on the establishment of the Hybrid Court with the AU, it has not adopted the relevant legislative measure for the domestication of the MoU. A further issue for the PSC is the invitation by the parties in the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement of AU member states and IGAD to deploy the necessary forces to supervise the agreed
permanent ceasefire. What this actually means and how it can be operationalized would be of
interest to PSC members.

The expected outcome of the PSC summit is a communiqué. This is expected to commend the efforts of IGAD including the recent rounds of the HLRF and the IGAD Council of Ministers
and Summit meetings held in Addis Ababa. Most importantly, it would also welcome the signing of the Khartoum Declaration. As a measure that is necessary to support the peace process, the communiqué is also expected to encourage Sudan and South Sudan to intensify efforts to promote their bilateral relations particularly for the resumption of oil production in South Sudan. It is also expected to reiterate and endorse the plan for imposing punitive sanctions, while urging the speedy finalization of the conclusion of negotiation on the bridging
proposals. For the PSC, it would also be important to put in place a mechanism for finalizing the process of domestication of the MoU for the operationalization of the Hybrid Court. The issue of monitoring compliance with the cessation of hostilities agreement and the provision of humanitarian assistance and unfettered access to humanitarian actors would also receive attention.