Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

Date | 30 November 2022

Tomorrow (30 November) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1123rd session to receive updates on the situation in South Sudan.

Following opening remarks of the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Emilia Ndinealo Mkusa, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to deliver a statement. Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan and Head of AU Liaison Office in Juba, Joram Mukama Biswaro is also expected to brief the PSC. Representative of South Sudan, as the concerned country will also be making a statement. Ismail Wais, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Envoy for South Sudan; Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Major General (Rtd) Charles Gituai; and Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are also expected deliver statements.

The last time the PSC met to discuss the situation in South Sudan was at its 1092nd session held on 11 July 2022. In its communique adopted following the meeting, the PSC encouraged the South Sudanese parties to urgently complete all outstanding transitional tasks, including the graduation and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF), the ratification of the Permanent Constitution-Making Bill and electoral laws, the reconstitution of the National Constitutional Review Commission and the National Elections Commission. In this regard, the PSC encouraged the Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) to expedite the development of the long-awaited roadmap, which was expected to outline the outstanding transitional tasks in the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and chart out the way forward.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to focus on developments since the last session including the finalization of the roadmap, the implementation of outstanding transitional tasks and the state of preparations and commitment for the implementation of the roadmap. September 12 marked four years since the signing of the R-ARCSS. Although some progress has been made in the implementation of the agreement, much more remains to be done in implementing the agreement in full, including the outstanding transitional tasks mentioned in the communiqué of the PSC.

Considering that major transitional tasks remain outstanding and will not be completed before the end of the current transition in February 2023, there was a need for achieving political consensus on how to ensure implementation of these outstanding tasks and what happens at the end of the current transitional period. This is what the roadmap, whose finalization the PSC called for, is expected to deliver. On 4 August 2022, all signatories to the R-ARCSS agreed on and adopted ‘Agreement on the Roadmap to a Peaceful and Democratic end to the Transitional Period of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.’ The roadmap extended the transitional period by 24 months up until 22 February 2025.

In a statement issued on 9 August, the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat took note of the decision to extend the current transitional period. Underscoring that ‘the people of South Sudan have endured enough conflict and deserve a safe, secure and peaceful country’, he reiterated ‘his call for the urgent need for the leaders of the Transitional Government to fulfil their pledge to fully implement the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, in order to deliver on the legitimate expectations of its citizens for peace and stability’.

On 1 September 2022, RJMEC voted on the roadmap that the RTGoNU presented during the extraordinary meeting of the RJMEC. RJMEC adopted the roadmap and the extension of the transition period with 37 of the 43 members of the RJMEC voting in favour of the adoption of the roadmap. However, the Troika (Norway, UK, and US) did not support the extension of the transition period expressing dissatisfaction that the South Sudanese leaders extended their time in power without delivering on their commitment to the agreement. They also expressed regret that the consultation on the roadmap did not involve civil society and other relevant stakeholders. But they supported the roadmap calling on South Sudanese leaders to dedicate the necessary resources for its implementation and deliver their commitments within the set timeframe.

The unification of forces remains the most critical task, according to RJMEC, to address inter-communal violence and lay the foundation for lasting peace. In an important milestone towards achieving this objective, the first batch of the NUF, more than 21 thousand officers who received training in the Equatoria region, were graduated on 30 August 2022. RJMEC welcomed the first phase graduation of the NUF and called for the graduation and deployment of all the forces as quickly as possible. Another 7500 officers were also graduated on 22 November 2022 in Malakal, Upper Nile State, as part of the NUF. It is reported that as of the middle of this month, around 80% of phase 1 of the NUF have graduated.

While welcoming the above progress, RJMEC and the UNMISS highlighted the need for finalizing and implementing deployment plans and for ‘phase two’ of the graduation to be provided with adequate logistical and political support. The other issue critical to reduction of subnational conflicts that have become dominant and stabilization of South Sudan is the implementation of the call on the government to start the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program. During the ceremony of the graduation of forces in Malakal, RJMEC Chairperson, Charles Tai Gituai, while expressing the expectation of RJMEC to see the roadmap fully followed to the letter and spirit, stated his wish ‘to see a program of DDR be taken seriously so those not able to be eligible to join the forces are able to leave the military in a manner that is respectable’.

RJMEC underscored the need for the revitalized transitional government to avoid lagging behind in terms of the implementation of other outstanding tasks outlined in the roadmap. In this regard, it emphasized the urgency of expediting the passage of the relevant bills particularly the Permanent Constitution-Making Process Bill, which is considered critical not only for constitution-making but also paving the way for the holding of elections at the end of the transition period. Recently, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) reportedly passed important bills, including the Constitution-Making Process Bill, ‘the Roadmap Bill’, National Police Bill and National Wild Services Act.  The adoption of the National Elections Act necessary for the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission is still pending. It is also important to point out that the full implementation of the transitional justice chapter of the R-ARCSS is still pending.

Additionally, underscoring the need for vigilance in ensuring compliance with the benchmarks and timelines of the roadmap, various stakeholders are pointing out the slippage of early timelines specified in the roadmap. In this respect, the areas that require urgent attention for timely efforts include the reconstitution of the Political Parties Council, the National Constitutional Review Commission, the Constitutional Drafting Committee and the National Elections Commission. During the 24th plenary meeting of RJMEC, its Chairperson called for action on prioritizing the implementation of the roadmap tasks within timeline, provision of funds for all roadmap tasks, funding and implementation of the program of DDR and fast tracking the establishment of the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH).

Tomorrow’s session will also consider the security situation in South Sudan, where intercommunal violence continues to ravage parts of South Sudan. This month, fighting between Shiluk armed youth and Nuer elements resulted in the displacement of thousands of people, according to UNMISS. There have also been deadly clashes in Upper Nile, Greater Equatoria and Bahr el-Ghazal regions which exasperated the dire humanitarian situation in the country. The country is suffering from the impact of climate change and flooding which has affected many South Sudanese living along rivers banks and marshlands. The continued intercommunal violence and the challenges posed by the massive flooding has made it very difficult for humanitarian workers to reach out to those in need. According to OCHA, close to 10 million South Sudanese will require urgent humanitarian assistance in 2023.

On the mediation front, it is to be recalled that the PSC in its earlier sessions commended the efforts that have been exerted by Sant’Egidio, the Rome based Catholic association with links to the Vatican, to mediate between the government and non-signatory parties since 2019. Although two factions of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) had taken part in an induction workshop in June within the framework of the Sant’Egidio process to be integrated into the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) structure, they apparently failed to meet the deadline of 15 August 2022 to join the Mechanism, according to the latest report of the UN Secretary-General released on 13 September 2022. The non-signatory opposition groups also rejected the extension of the transitional period. In November, South Sudanese presidential Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin reportedly informed Sant’Egidio of the government’s decision to suspend its participation in the mediation process accusing the South Sudanese opposition groups of preparing for war.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may take note of the adoption of the roadmap outlining the outstanding transitional tasks and extending the transitional period and call on the RTGoNU to ensure the full implementation of the roadmap as necessary step for peaceful conclusion of the transitional period with a convening of national elections. The may also welcomed the graduation of the first batch of the NUF and call for the graduation and deployment of all forces as expeditiously as possible and implement phase 2 of the process. PSC may also call on the RTGoNU to proceed expeditiously with the DDR program and provide the required funding for its implementation. The PSC may also echo the call of RJMEC and UNMISS for the RTGoNU to take steps towards the reconstitution of the Political Parties Council, the National Constitutional Review Commission, the Constitutional Drafting Committee and the National Elections Commission and fast track the establishment of the CTRH. On intercommunal violence affecting various parts of the country and forcing civilians into displacement, the PSC may express its concern about the impact of these conflicts. It may welcome the activation of the investigation committees charged with investigating inter-communal conflicts by RTGoNU and urge the committees to conclude their investigations and submit their reports to facilitate measures for enhancing intercommunal harmony. The PSC may express concern over the dire humanitarian situation and appeal for enhanced support from the international community. On mediation efforts to bring non-signatory groups into the R-ARCSS, the PSC may express its concern over the failure of the groups to integrate into CTSAMVM and the declaration by the government of its withdrawal from the process and may express its support to the Sant’Egidio process and urge the parties to cooperate with and implement agreements reached under the process.


Briefing on the situation in Abyei

Briefing on the situation in Abyei

Date | 29 September 2022

Tomorrow (29 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene a briefing session on the situation in Abyei.

Following the opening remarks of the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Banole Adeoye or his representative will deliver a statement. The Chairperson of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), former South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to provide update briefing to the PSC. The representative of South Sudan, as a country concerned, is also expected to make a statement. It remains unclear if Sudan would be allowed to deliver a statement considering that it is suspended from participation in AU activities. This is important more so because Sudan is also Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and delivered a statement during the last PSC session on Abyei in this capacity. Others expected to address the PSC include the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Hannah Teteh and the new United Nations (UN) Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr.

The last time the PSC considered this issue was at its 966th session in November 2020. The communique adopted following this meeting expressed concern over the lack of progress in the discussion on the final status of Abyei. AUPSC appealed to the Governments of the South Sudan and Sudan to agree on the arrangements that can expedite the resolution of this longstanding issue. It also appealed to the two countries to accelerate the implementation of their Agreement on Temporary Security and Administrative Arrangements for the Abyei Area, signed on 20 June 2011, particularly the finalization of the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, the Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Police Service, in order to facilitate the provision of essential services to the Abyei population.

Since then, there has not been any movement on all these issues as both Sudan and South Sudan have been preoccupied by their own internal challenges. The lack of progress seems to have increased frustration among the residents of the area who recently staged a public demonstration to demand autonomy. This is said to be a proposal supported by Francis Deng, a prominent South Sudanese politician and diplomat from Abyei who served as his country’s first Ambassador to the UN after its independence in 2011. However, the Chief Administrator of Abyei and some others apparently oppose the proposal which they said entertains the idea of a joint interim arrangement.

Following this development, news about the resumption of talks between Sudan and South Sudan on the final status of Abyei have emerged. Sudan Tribune quoted South Sudan’s presidential adviser on security affairs as having said that President Salva Kiir and the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan started talks on the status of Abyei. But the details about these talks remain sketchy at this stage. Over the past decade and more, the AUHIP under the chairmanship of former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been engaged in trying to assist Sudan and South Sudan to find a lasting solution to the issue of Abyei. It is to be recalled that President Mbeki briefed the PSC during its last session at the 966th meeting and remains to be the main AU mechanism dedicated to, among others, the situation in Abyei.

On the security front, reports indicate that this year saw a rise in intercommunal violence in Abyei. This led to the loss of lives and displacement of thousands of people. Of particular concern has been the outbreak of violence between the Ngok Dinka and Twic Dinka communities in the Agok area in February and March, and its spillover towards Abyei town. The situation is said to have been relatively calm in recent months following a traditional leaders peace conference facilitated by UNISFA. The conference took place in Entebbe, Uganda, in May 2022 and it concluded with the Dinka and Misseriya traditional leaders signing a peace accord in support of efforts to find lasting peace for the Abyei area.

Apart from UNISFA, the other mechanisms that play important role for stability in Abyei include the Political and Security Mechanism and the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). However, there is not much change in respect to the engagement of these mechanisms.

There have also been major changes with respect to UNISFA since the last PSC meeting. The border tension between Sudan and Ethiopia affected UNISFA when Khartoum openly called for the withdrawal of Ethiopian peacekeepers. Ethiopia was the sole troop contributing country to UNISFA which has been deployed in the area since 2011. The Ethiopian peacekeepers have now left the mission and they have since been replaced by other peacekeepers from Ghana, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.  On 15 March 2022, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr of Nigeria took over from Ethiopia’s Major General Kefyalew Amde Tessema, as the new Force Commander and acting head of UNISFA, to lead the recently reconfigured multinational peacekeeping mission.

UNISFA’s mandate is set to expire on 15 November 2022 and the Security Council is expected to renew it possibly for another six months. Ahead of the mandate renewal negotiation, the Security Council will meet on 28 October 2022 to discuss the situation in Abyei based on the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNISFA which is due by 15 October 2022. Tomorrow’s PSC meeting would be very timely and relevant in light of the upcoming meeting and negotiation in New York. Its outcome will likely feed into the discussion at the Security Council and help guide the African members in their participation on the mandate renewal negotiation. The UN mission proves to be critical for promoting stability and law and order as well as supporting efforts for reconciliation and determination of the final status of the area. Yet, its role is impacted by the level of cooperation of Sudan and South Sudan and the scope and nature of its mandate. Apart from the issues of concern from the communique of the 996th session that remain unresolved, the PSC may also address itself to these relevant issues relating to the mandate and functioning of UNISFA.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may express concern over and condemn incidents of intercommunal conflicts including killings, shootings, cattle-rustling, violence against women, including rape and migration-related violence witnessed in Abyei since its last session while calling for enhancement of efforts for maintaining peace among various communities. The PSC may also call for the enhancement by the AU through the AUHIP, of the mediation efforts including through possible support to the parties in resuming the meetings of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee. The PSC may also welcome the reconfiguration of UNISFA and commend the support that the stakeholders and the two countries concerned along with troop contributing countries gave in this respect and urge them to continue their support for finalizing this process. The PSC may reiterate its earlier call for implementation of the outstanding determination of the status of Abyei which is the underlying cause for the various insecurities, including by appealing to the Governments of the South Sudan and Sudan to agree on the arrangements that can expedite resolving the status of Abyei and request the Chairperson of the Commission, working with the AUHIP, to engage the two Heads of State to resolve the status of Abyei on the basis of the AUHIP proposal of 21 September 2012. It may also reiterate the need for implementation of demarcation of the Safe demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) to allow the JBVMM to effectively discharge its mandate.


Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

Briefing on the Situation in South Sudan

Date | 11 July 2022

Tomorrow (11 July) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1092nd session to consider the situation in South Sudan, with a focus on the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized – Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

The session will commence with the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson for July, Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Abdi Mahamoud Eybe. This would be followed by remarks of the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye. The PSC is expected to receive the main briefing from Joram Biswaro, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan and Head of the AU Mission in South Sudan (AUMISS). The PSC will also receive statements from the representative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ismail Wais and the Head of the United Nations (UN) Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom. As a country of concern, it is also anticipated that there will be the statement by the Permanent Representative of South Sudan to the AU.

The last time the PSC met to discuss South Sudan was at its 1060th session convened on 25 January 2022. At the time, it decided to undertake a solidarity visit to South Sudan on the second anniversary of the formation of the Transitional Government on 22 February 2022, considering that the end of the three-year transition period was approaching fast.

Members of the PSC undertook their sixth field visit to South Sudan from 22 to 25 February 2022. The visit allowed them to assess the overall situation on the ground, particularly the status of progress in the implementation of the R-ARCSS. During the visit, PSC members met with President Salva Kirr Mayardit and encouraged progress on the full implementation of the peace agreement, particularly its Chapter II on security arrangements. They also met with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), members of the Troika (US, UK and Norway) and other international partners in Juba. Furthermore, they discussed with civil society representatives on the need to engage women and the youth in the implementation of the peace agreement. Subsequent to the visit, the PSC was supposed to discuss its field report and adopt a Communique in March although this did not happen as planned.

Given the present challenges in South Sudan, the co-guarantors of the peace agreement namely Sudan and Uganda have been expected to renew their engagement in support of reinvigorating the implementation of the peace agreement. Sudan is preoccupied with its own internal challenges. Even though it is currently chairing IGAD, it has been a while since the organization met and discussed any of the peace and security challenges in the region, including South Sudan. The IGAD Executive Secretary visited Khartoum recently to secure the participation of the leadership as Chairperson in the IGAD Summit that took place in Nairobi on 5 July.

On his part, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had invited South Sudan President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to Kampala to facilitate talks on the implementation of the peace agreement, including on the issue of security arrangements. The PSC welcomed his initiative to help the parties resolve some of the outstanding issues. However, the meeting which was planned to be convened from 3-4 March 2022, did not take place.

The PSC also recognized the need to reactivate the AU Ad-Hoc High-Level Committee’s engagements on the South Sudan peace process. Following its meeting and decision to undertake a visit to South Sudan, the Committee traveled to South Sudan in early June and engaged various stakeholders. Among others, it received a briefing from the Revitalized Joint monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JEMC) on the status of implementation of the peace agreement.

One of the issues that tomorrow’s session will thus address itself to is the follow-up on the PSC field mission, including the report on the mission and this recent mission undertaken by the AU High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan.

South Sudanese government has been partly attributing the delay in the implementation of the peace agreement, particularly as it relates to the security arrangements, to the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council (UNSC). At its 1060th session, the PSC had called on ‘the international community to lift the arms embargo and other sanctions imposed on South Sudan to enable the country to build the required capacity of the unified armed forces and for them to more effectively discharge their constitutional mandate of defending the territorial integrity of their country’. However, several UNSC members were of the view that South Sudan did not make adequate progress on the benchmarks set out by the UNSC for the easing or lifting of the sanctions. On 26 May 2022, the Security Council adopted resolution 2633 (2022) renewing the South Sudan sanctions regime until 1 July 2023. Ten Council members including Ghana voted in favor of the resolution, while five abstained including the two African members Gabon and Kenya as well as China, India and Russia.

The implementation of the peace agreement was further complicated by the split within SPLM-IO and the emergence of factions which led to deadly clashes.  This eroded trust in the peace process resulting in SPLM/A-IO to suspend its participation in the monitoring mechanisms of the agreements – RJMEC and CTSAMVM. On 30 and 31 March 2022, UN, AU, IGAD and RJMEC representatives met with the South Sudanese leadership – President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, as well as Vice Presidents Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, Dr. Wani Igga, and Gen. Taban Deng Gai – and urged them to de-escalate the political tensions. They also encouraged them to resort to dialogue to resolve their differences and called on the leaders to return to the full implementation of the Agreement underscoring the need to make progress based on a clear roadmap to address outstanding issues such as the unification of forces, the constitution-making process and preparations for elections. The representatives of the three institutions also appealed to SPLM/A-IO to resume its participation in RJMEC and CTSAMVM. The RJMEC and CTSAMVM face further strain due to withdrawal of financial support by the US, which contributes up to 40 percent of their funds. The efforts of the representatives of the four entities culminated in a rapprochement between President Kiir and the first vice President Machar, although SPLM-IO suspended its participation in Parliament over the passage of the Political Parties Amendment Act 2022 without consensus.

With less than eight months left for the end of the transition period, there is increasing concern within the country about what will happen in February 2023 as not much has been done to prepare for elections. There is also growing fear that if South Sudan slides back into yet another cycle of conflict and violence, it will further aggravate the complex situation in the horn of Africa region which is already facing enormous peace, security and humanitarian challenges. At the R-JMEC monthly meeting on 2 June 2022, the Interim Chair Charles Tai Gituai noted the ‘growing public anxiety, frustration and despair on what happens when the Transitional Period lapses in February 2023 without the completion of all tasks of the Agreement’.

The UN Special Representative Nicolas Haysom also underscored the sense of urgency with the impending deadline for the end of the transition fast approaching. In his engagement with the media on 30 June 2022, SRSG Haysom called on ‘all parties to demonstrate collective common purpose—unity of purpose—by working together towards the full implementation of the agreement. I encourage the leaders to take the necessary steps for the country to exit its transitional period, through the conduct of free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections.’

Perhaps, the most pressing issue, which is also of concern for South Sudanese, is the question of whether and how elections could be held at the end of the traditional period. There is no consensus among South Sudanese political forces on whether to proceed with the elections as scheduled for early 2023. While some advocate for holding of elections as scheduled, others point out that the elections should be postponed given the lack of progress in implementing key aspects of the peace agreement including unification of forces, preparation of the final constitution, and establishment of the necessary legal and institutional frameworks.

As this delay may become a site for political contestation and lead to instability, PSC members may seek clarification on contingency plans on how to deal with the uncertainty and disagreement that may result from this situation. It is worth recalling that during its visit last month, the delegation of the AU Ad Hoc Committee received assurance from officials it engaged that it will receive a proposed roadmap on how to manage the uncertainty resulting from the failure to complete the basic transitional arrangements for holding the elections as scheduled in February 2023. The proposed roadmap, which among others is expected to indicate the duration of the possible extension of the transitional period and the plan for completing remaining transitional tasks for holding of elections, has not as yet been received.

The other issue expected to receive attention during tomorrow’s session is the security situation. As noted above, growing disagreement among the parties to the peace agreement brought the country to the brink of the collapse of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) and the return to fighting. As parts of the country are experiencing insecurity often on account of local political, socio-economic and security dynamics, it would be of interest for members of the PSC to consider how the lack of progress in implementation of the peace agreement exacerbates these existing conflict dynamics. These include cattle-raiding in the tristate corridor between Warrap, Lakes, and Unity States, child abduction among communities in the GPAA and Jonglei, the impact of cattle migrations from Jonglei and Lakes States into the Equatorias, or contestation over state administrations among ethnolinguistic communities in Wau and Malakal. These highlight the need for peacebuilding initiatives to focus also on measures for mitigating such local conflict dynamics while working on modalities for speeding up implementation of the peace agreement and securing consensus among South Sudanese actors on how to manage transitional tasks not finalized at the end of the traditional period.

The expected outcome of the session is a Communiqué. The PSC may welcome the efforts of AU, IGAD, RJMEC and the UN to accompany the parties to the R-ARCSS through among others mediating their disputes. While welcoming the rapprochement between President Kiir and First Vice President Machar and the progress made in implementing the peace agreement including the launching of consultations for the establishment of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Commission, it may also express concern about the lack of progress in the implementation of key transitional activities necessary for successful end of the transition and the convening of elections on time including making of final constitution, adoption of laws for convening of elections, the reform of the elections commission and the graduation and redeployment of the unified forces. The PSC may urge the parties to exert their utmost efforts and commitment for speeding up implementation of the key transitional activities. It may also call on the authorities to present the roadmap outlining the plan on the implementation of the remaining transitional tasks. The PSC may also call on the AU Commission to work with IGAD and the UN to undertake joint assessment of the areas of the transitional process in South Sudan that require urgent engagement and support from the region, the AU and the international community. It may welcome the field visit by the AU Ad Hoc Committee of five member states to South Sudan in June and encourage them to have a follow up visit to review developments since last visit and assess implementation of commitments made during the last field mission. The PSC could also call on the AU and the international community to mobilize peacebuilding and humanitarian support for South Sudan to address the pressing peacebuilding and humanitarian issues including a high-level of food insecurity facing many parts of the country.


Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 25 January, 2022

Tomorrow (25 January,) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a briefing session on the situation in South Sudan.

Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, is expected to make opening remarks. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, may brief the Council. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan, Joram Biswaro, may also brief the Council. As per usual practice, the PSC may also receive the statements of the representative of South Sudan and the representative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Special Representative of the Secretary General Hanna Tetteh may also make a statement.

The last time the Council met to discuss South Sudan was in April 2021 following its field mission to the country in March 2021. The PSC adopted a communique welcoming the steady progress in the implementation of the R-ARCSS and urging R-TGoNU, among other things, to take all possible steps to mobilize the necessary resources for the implementation of the R-ARCSS, especially Chapter II relating to transitional security arrangements.

Since then, there has been limited progress across the different pillars of the peace agreement but also challenges that continue to persist. The permanent ceasefire continues to hold in spite of continued intercommunal violence. Important tasks related to the appointment of state assemblies have made progress after significant delays. Disagreements over how to divide parliamentary seats have also been resolved. The constitution-making process bill has been reviewed and adopted by the council of ministers. A roadmap has been developed and adopted to facilitate the implementation of tasks related to transitional justice and a technical Committee has been established to undertake national consultations on the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation. Furthermore, President Salva Kiir decided to resume talks with the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) in Rome under the auspices of the Community of Sant’Egido.

However, more than three years after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, no tangible progress has been made in establishing the necessary unified forces, which is a key aspect of the peace agreement. According to the UN, the government attributes the delay to the arms embargo imposed against South Sudan and disagreements among signatory parties over the command-and-control structure and share ratio of the necessary unified forces. However, the reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) underscores the need for the government to approve critical bills and avail the necessary resources to complete the transitional security arrangements.

What complicated the situation further is the split within SPLM-IO and the emergence of the Kitwang faction which has eroded trust and confidence in the peace process. The split within SPLA-IO led to deadly clashes between forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to Kitwang faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy Johnson Olony. President Kiir designated his Presidential Advisor for National Security, Tut Gatluak, to negotiate with the Kitwang faction in Khartoum but SPLM-IO complained that this violates the peace agreement which prohibits the shifting of allegiance. Nevertheless, the Khartoum meeting between SPLM and the Kitwang faction led to the signing of two separate agreements which, according to media reports, deal with integration of forces loyal to the Kitwang faction into the South Sudanese army with a general amnesty and the settlement of local land disputes.

South Sudan is expected to hold elections in 2023 marking the end of its fragile political transition. The reconstituted transitional national assembly (TNLA) has been slow to operationalize and this has impacted the adoption of critical bills related to constitution-making process, election, public financial reform and others. The constitutional bill, which has already been approved by the Council of Ministers, is yet to be endorsed by the TNLA. This is considered to be a very critical task which paves the way for the country to hold elections in 2023. Delays in the establishment of the TNLA standing committees, which are supposed to consider these bills, was said to be the main obstacle. On January 3rd, the Speaker of TNLA announced the appointment of chairpersons and deputies of the various committees, which hopefully contributes to expediting the legislative process. The coming one year is going to be decisive in making concrete progress in implementing the peace agreement and set the stage for the elections.

The government has already called for international support to hold elections. However, due to other crisis situation in the neighborhood including in Ethiopia and Sudan, South Sudan is not getting the necessary international attention at the moment. Sudan is the current chair of IGAD and one of the guarantors of the revitalized peace agreement but it is undergoing a difficult transition which is facing a serious setback following the October 25 coup. Ethiopia, as previous chair of IGAD played an important role in facilitating the South Sudanese peace process however it is now embroiled in its own crisis. The regional dynamics has weakened IGAD and the leadership position of its key mechanisms tasked with overseeing the implementation of the South Sudanese peace agreement – RJMEC and CTSAMVM – remain vacant for quite some time. The AU Ad Hoc Committee, established to support IGAD, has not also been very active and there is a need to reactivate the committee to support of the South Sudanese peace process. Uganda, the other guarantor, is planning to host a South Sudan leader retreat in February and the expectation is that this will give renewed impetus to the implementation of the peace agreement.

The expected outcome is a communique. While recognizing some of the progress that has been made the PSC may express concern over the slow implementation of the peace agreement. It may urge the R-TGoNU to mobilize adequate the financial resources, for the implementation of the R-ARCSS, especially Chapter II relating to transitional security arrangements. The PSC may also call for the rapid and full operationalization of the TNLA. It may further underline the importance of expediting the legislative process to lay the foundation for the planned election in 2023. The PSC may reiterate it previous decision on the need to hold a transparent, democratic and credible election at the end of the transition period. It may also call on the international community to provide support for the implementation of R-ARCSS.


Briefing on the Situation in Abyei

South Sudan

Date | 24 November, 2020

Tomorrow (24 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a virtual meeting to receive a briefing on the situation in Abyei.

The Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation (AUHIP) Panel Thabo Mbeki is expected to brief the Council. United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) Force Commander may also provide a briefing. The representative of Sudan also as the Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and representative of South Sudan are scheduled to present. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa may also deliver a statement.

The meeting is taking place after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed the mandate of UNISFA for another six months. It would have been useful if the PSC meeting had taken place ahead of the mission’s mandate renewal. This would have given the African members of the Security Council a clear guidance to reflect Africa’s views and perspectives in the negotiation process.

Be that as it may, in light of the resolution adopted by the Security Council, the meeting of the AUPSC will be critical to pronounce itself on some of the salient issues. There is pressure particularly from the penholder underscoring the need for an exit strategy for UNISFA. Over the last couple of years, the US has been calling for a significant reduction of the UN peacekeeping budget and, hence, pushing for exit of some of the UN missions. What made the situation further complicated as far as UNISFA is concerned relates to the fact that the parties have not been able to make much of a progress in terms of the political track. Although there have lately been positive developments in the bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan, this has not yet been translated into concrete action, particularly in terms of resolving the outstanding issues, including the final status of Abyei. Therefore, by insisting on the exit strategy, the Council and particularly the penholder, is trying to exert pressure on the parties to make progress.

There has indeed been increasing frustration that the parties have not made progress in establishing joint institutions as per their 2011 agreement. There is also disappointment over the delay in the deployment of UN police and denial of visas, the impasse in the appointment of a civilian Deputy Head of Mission. These issues need to be resolved to assist the mission in effectively carrying out its mandates. Every possible effort must also be made to capitalize on the positive momentum generated by the warm bilateral relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

No doubt, the mission cannot stay there indefinitely but it should also be understood that it is premature for the mission to withdraw at this stage. Since UNISFA has been deployed nine years ago, it has certainly contributed in stabilizing the Abyei Area. The mission, which is composed solely of Ethiopian peacekeepers has been recognized for effectively discharging its mandate, including the facilitation of peaceful migration, conflict prevention, mediation, and deterrence. A premature withdrawal without the resolution of the outstanding issues will have the risk of undermining the stability of the Abyei area and jeopardize the fragile transition processes in both Sudan and South Sudan. But then the issue is the parties will have to make tangible progress. The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) working together the UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify mediation efforts to encourage both Sudan and South Sudan to establish temporary administrative and security arrangements for Abyei and to achieve a political solution for the status of Abyei. Some important work is expected to be done over the coming six months.

The UN Secretary-General is requested by the Security Council to hold a joint consultation with the governments of Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to discuss the exit strategy for UNISFA and develop options. He is also expected to report on engagement by the African Union and AUHIP on political mediation of the Abyei dispute and Sudan and South Sudan border issues, and recommendations on the most appropriate framework, structure or organizational mandate for the region to provide support to the parties that will enable further progress in these areas. Furthermore, the Security Council has expressed its intention to request an independent review of UNISFA in the context of recent political developments between and within Sudan and South Sudan and based on the outcomes of the above-mentioned joint consultation.

The exepected outcome is a communiqué. The PSC may welcome the recent mandate renewal of UNISFA for the next six month. The PSC may deliberate on the exit strategy of the mission and chart out the way forward. It may call on the AU Commisison for enhanced and continued support for the mediation efforts between Sudan and South Sudan.


VTC Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 15 September, 2020

Tomorrow (15 September 2020) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold a briefing session on the situation in South Sudan. This 944th session of the PSC is expected to consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the latest situation in the country. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan, Joram Biswaro, is expected to introduce the report. It is also envisaged that the PSC receives update from the Office of the Legal Counsel regarding the request of the 917th session of the PSC for progress report on the process for the operationalization of the Hybrid Court.

The PSC will also receive the statements of the representative of South Sudan, the Interim Chairperson of the Revitalized-Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Sudan, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the representative of the UN.

The last time that PSC was briefed on South Sudan was in April 2020. The meeting is scheduled to take place via VTC.

It is exactly two years since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Therefore, this meeting will provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement and the challenges that still persist since the last meeting of the PSC.

As noted during the last session, the agreement reached by the parties to form an inclusive transitional government has certainly rescued the country back from the brink. The announcement of the formation of the R-TGoNU with an inclusive new cabinet was very welcomed. This is essentially what has been considered as a progress. However, over the last couple of months since the formation of the R-TGoNU, the delays in fully operationalizing the governance structures and implementing the national security arrangements has been a source of major concern.

It has been noted that despite the formation of the R-TGoNU, the parties to the R-ARCSS were unable to agree on the distribution of responsibilities at the state and local government levels. As reported by R-JMEC, the resultant delay in the formation of state governments.

The Chairperson’s report is expected to highlight developments since the last session. In June, bilateral discussions between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar resulted in some progress with the two sides agreeing for ITGoNU headed by the president to nominate governors to the states of Unity, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Central Equatoria and Lakes; The SPLM/A-IO for the states of Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and Western Equatoria; and SSOA for Jonglei state. Despite the issuance by President Kiir of Republican Decrees No. 51/2020 and 53/2020 naming eight of the ten governors and three Chief Administrators of the Administrative Areas respectively, four of the six parties comprising the Other Political Parties (OPP) continue to object to this agreement as being contrary to the terms of the R-ARCSS.

This delay in the formation of the state and local government leadership has impacted negatively on the formation of the Transitional National Legislature (TNL), comprising both the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of States (CoS). Thus, this key component of the transitional institutions has as yet to be established. The delay also contributed to a security vacuum in several states; evidenced by escalating inter-communal violence in the states of Warrap, Lakes, Unity and Jonglei. Countless numbers of individuals have been killed and others wounded in ongoing cattle rustling episodes and revenge attacks.

Another area of concern relates to the inadequate pace of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements. Despite the PSC urging the parties to facilitate the ‘unification, training and integration of the various armed groups to enable deployment of the Unified Forces’, registration and screening, and detailed unification training have been suspended, and plans to complete graduation at all training centres within 30 days from 28 May 2020, followed by immediate redeployment of the NUF have not materialized. According to R-JMEC, high levels of the forces abandoning the cantonment sites and training centres due to severe food shortages, lack of medicines, and care facilities for the female personnel. The other area of immediate concern is the escalation of fighting, allegedly between the SSPDF/SPLA-IO and NAS with adverse effect on the protection of civilians.

The increase inter-communal violence coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood disaster has also been exacerbating the humanitarian situation in the country affecting the wellbeing of many South Sudanese people. There have been continued sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) incidents, including rape and gang rape in some areas of the country. There has also been increasing reports of attacks against humanitarian workers, and a near-complete halt to the voluntary return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and refugees. Furthermore, the socio-economic situation has been extremely dire. It is in the face of all these challenges that the second anniversary of the peace agreement is being marked this month.
Two years after the signing of the peace agreement, the South Sudanese people are not yet experiencing the dividends of peace. Lack of political will and trust among the parties is a major obstacle for making any meaningful progress. It is absolutely imperative that they set aside their difference and work together in a spirit of collegiality for the sake of the South Sudanese people who have endured so much for far too long. It is in this spirit that they can accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement and resolve the remaining outstanding issues. It is also vital that the financial constraints impeding progress are addressed as highlighted in the communique of the 917th PSC session. But it is only if there is meaningful commitment and action on the part of the South Sudanese stakeholders that the international community will be able to provide the necessary support. The Troika in a statement issued on 12 September 2020 observed “South Sudan’s leaders have a real opportunity to deliver the foundation of a stable and prosperous nation for all, and to demonstrate their commitment to peace. We urge them to demonstrate this as a matter of urgency and will work with South Sudan to support progress”.

The briefing from the Legal Counsel is expected to provide update on the status of operationalization of the Hybrid Court. While the legal instruments necessary for the formation of the Hybrid Court including the MoU between the AU and South Sudan have been drafted, these have as yet to be finalized with the signing of the MoU. The delay in the establishment of the TLA also means that the legislation envisaged in the R-ARSSC has as yet to be initiated.

It would be of interest to members of the PSC to know whether the legal instruments prepared through the Legal Counsel have reflected the useful guidance from the AU Transitional Justice Policy adopted by the AU Assembly in February 2019. Additionally, it would also be of interest where the process stands with respect to the other components of the transitional justice Chapter of the R-ARCSS. As the June 2020 R-JMEC report to IGAD noted, ‘Consistent with Articles 5.1.4 and 5.1.5 of the R-ARCSS, the RTGoNU is expected to receive support from the UN, AU and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACPHR) in furtherance of the implementation of Chapter V of the R-ARCSS.’ It is worth noting that the ACHPR is undertaking work to deliver on this expectation pursuant to its Resolution 428 on the human rights situation in the Republic of South Sudan (ACHPR/Res.428(LXV)2019) which tasked the Country Rapporteur for South Sudan to engage with the AU Commission and the Government of South Sudan with proposals on the operationalization of Chapter V of the R-ARCSS.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s meeting is a communique. The AUPSC may wish to welcome the progress made in the formation of the various components of the R-TGoNU including in resolving the issues surrounding the allocation and appointment of the leadership of state governments. The Council may express concern over the slow pace of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements and the challenges observed since its last session including suspension of activities for unification, training and integration of various armed forces and incidents of fighting. The PSC may also reiterate its call for the parties to implement the establishment and operationalization of the expanded Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). The PSC may wish to call on the parties to demonstrate high levels of responsibility and urgency working together in a spirit of consensus and compromise to resolve all outstanding issues to complete the formation of the R-TGoNU in line with the peace agreement. With respect to the transitional justice chapter of the R-ARCSS, the PSC may welcome the engagement of the AU Commission to support the work towards the operationalization of the Hybrid Court and call on South Sudan to fully collaborate with the AU to address all challenges in the delivery of Chapter V of the peace agreement including with the contribution of the ACHPR and having regard to the useful guidance in the AU Transitional Justice Policy for finalizing the legal instruments and the MoU on the Hybrid Court.


Briefing on the Situation in South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 27 January, 2020

Tomorrow (27 January) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to meet to consider the situation in South Sudan. The Director of the Department of Peace and Security, Admore Kambudzi, is expected to brief the Council. Sudan, current Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the UN are expected to deliver statements.

At its meeting on Monday, the PSC is expected to assess the progress made over the past two months and may express concern over delays in the resolution of the outstanding issues in relation to the pre transitional tasks.

The last time the AUPSC met to discuss South Sudan was in November after the expiry of the extended pretransitional period and the agreement reached by the parties to extend it for an additional period of 100 days following the Entebbe Summit convened by the guarantors. The PSC welcomed the extension to help address pending issues relating to security arrangements and number of states and internal boundaries of South Sudan, which are critical to the full implementation of the Revitalized Agreement. In this regard, it underscored the need for the parties to agree on a systematic approach for addressing outstanding matters, with a view to effectively and efficiently utilizing the 100 days to complete the remaining crucial tasks. It also requested the Chairperson of the Commission to brief the PSC on a monthly basis on the situation in South Sudan until the end of the 100 days extension of the pre-transitional period. It is in this context that the meeting on Monday will take place and it will afford the PSC the opportunity to assess progress with barely 30 days left before the expiry of the 100 days extension.

The half-way mark of the 100 days extension has already passed and not much progress seems to have been made in resolving the outstanding issues. The provision of food and supplies to the cantonment sites was an issue. How much progress has been made in terms of the screening, selection and training of the necessary unified forces will be critical in putting in place the security arrangements as provided for in the revitalized peace agreement. The government has released part of the funds, albeit late, to the tune of 40 million USD to help implementation.

However, ensuring accountability and transparency in the allocation and use of the funds remains a matter of concern.

The last two months have witnessed series of meetings by the principal signatories with a view to addressing the outstanding issues on the security arrangements and the number and boundaries of States. Riek Machar has been travelling to Juba to meet with President Salva Kiir and iron out differences on the pending tasks. The last IGAD Summit held in Addis Ababa last November was concluded without deciding on the status of Riek Machar.

It is to be recalled that the 67th extraordinary session of the IGAD Council of Ministers had recommended to the Summit to lift any restrictions on Riek Machar.

Even though the Summit has not yet done so, Dr. Machar has been travelling in the region without difficulty and the latest meeting between him and President Kiir took place in Juba in January. No breakthrough has yet been achieved and the discussions will have to continue to find a way forward.

South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza in his capacity as South Africa’s Special Envoy to South Sudan is reported to have proposed an arbitration to address the question on the number and boundaries of states. While the government has accepted the proposal, SPLM-IO indicated that the process has to be completed before the formation of the unity government. Angelina Teny, spouse of Dr. Riek Machar and Head of SPLMIO’s Committee for Defense is reported to have said that ‘the unity government cannot be formed before the pending tasks are finalized within the extended deadline’.

The parties have failed twice to form a revitalized unity government and time is fast running out for them. The remaining few days are going to be very critical for the parties to iron out their differences and pave the way for the formation of an inclusive transitional government.

Unless the parties demonstrate the necessary political will to do so, the possibility of the 100 days extension expiring without any meaningful progress cannot be ruled out. It is this likelihood that is creating growing frustration and fear in the region and beyond. The United State is pushing for stronger sanctions if the parties fail to form an inclusive transitional government before the expiry of the 100 days period. It has already taken unilateral sanction against Vice President Taban Deng, among others, for his alleged role in undermining the peace process. At its last meeting, the PSC had also urged the international partners to consider punitive measures, including targeted sanctions, to be imposed against those who continue to undermine the peace process in South Sudan.

This said, so far, the ceasefire is holding, and it was reinforced recently by the signing of a peace declaration in Rome between the government of South Sudan, the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) under the facilitation of the Community of Sant’Egidio. Through the Declaration, the signatories recommitted themselves to adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of December 2017 and avoid any further confrontation across the country to creative conducive environment for dialogue to resolve the conflict. That SSOMA, which is a coalition of holdout opposition groups including the National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Crillo, committed themselves to the cessation of hostilities is encouraging. The government and the holdout opposition groups are expected to meet again in Rome to discuss about the monitoring mechanism of the cessation of hostilities. The Community of Sant’Egidio is also trying to initiate direct talks between the government and these non-signatory parties of the revitalized agreement. Efforts exerted to bring these parties on board have so far failed to bring the desired result.

If the outstanding issues including the number and boundaries of states are not consensually resolved before the end of the additional 100-day time period, it remains unclear how the unity government will be formed and whether it will have the support of the SPLM-IO. Under these conditions it is uncertain that the cessation of hostilities will continue to hold.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The PSC may welcome the series of meetings between President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar and urge them to demonstrate the necessary political will to resolve their differences on outstanding issues in the remaining few days before the expiry of the 100-day time period and agree to form an all-inclusive transitional government. The PSC may express appreciation to the Deputy President of South Africa and other members of the Committee of Five in their efforts in trying to find a compromise solution to the issue of the number and boundaries of states. The PSC may further welcome the release of funds by the government for implementation of the pre-transitional tasks and underscore the need to release the remaining amount to help expedite implementation in the remaining days of the pre transition period and ensure the necessary transparency and accountability. The PSC may welcome the signing of the peace declaration in Rome. The PSC is expected to visit Juba before the expiry of the 100 days extension.


Briefing session on the situation in South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 09 April, 2020

Briefing Session on the Situation in South Sudan

Tomorrow (9 April 2020), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council under the Chairpersonship of Kenya will have a briefing session via remote electronic exchanges. Instead of the delivery of the briefing in person, the PSC will consider the written briefing of the Special representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan. The PSC will also consider the statement of the representative of South Sudan and the statement of the Interim Chairperson of Revitalized-Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission. While there is no indication on input from IGAD, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) has also shared a brief to the PSC.

The purpose of tomorrow’s meeting is to review the developments in South Sudan since PSC’s field visit to South Sudan and the subsequent formation of the Government of National Unity of South Sudan, inaugurating the transitional period under the Revitalized – Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

It is to be recalled that the AUPSC had undertaken a field mission to South Sudan from 18-20 February 2020 to evaluate the status of implementation of the peace agreement and express solidarity with the people of South Sudan. The visit took place at a very critical moment when the extended pre-transitional period was about to expire in two days’ time, and important discussions were underway in relation to the formation of an inclusive Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU). The visit was a good opportunity for members of the AUPSC to undertake important consultations with the leadership, the national pretransitional Committee (NPTC), UNMISS, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) and other relevant stakeholders in this regard.

Although it came almost at the 11th hour before the expiry of the deadline for the extended pre-transitional period, President Salva Kiir made a compromise proposal to revert to the ten states plus three administrative areas for resolving the stalemate on the issue of the boundaries.

It is this compromise proposal that helped revive hope and restored the confidence of the parties to the peace process, who then agreed to address other remaining outstanding issues, including the transitional security arrangements, during the transition period. This is what paved the way for the formation of the inclusive transitional government of national unity.

The agreement reached by the parties to form an inclusive transitional government has certainly rescued the country back from the brink. One of the issues that the region and other in the international community raise if whether the arrangement will pass the test of time and avoid the illfated fortune of the previous transitional government of national unity that ended in July 2016.

As the briefing from the AU SRCC highlighted, the parties have succeeded in putting in place a new presidency and a new cabinet. The Presidency as announced on 21 February by President Kiir is made up of the President, First Vice President and four other Vice Presidents responsible for a cluster of ministers. The announcement by President Salva Kiir of the formation of the R-TGoNU with an inclusive new cabinet was welcomed. Ministerial portfolios were allocated among the parties to peace agreement with the President nominating 20 Ministers from his side, including Finance and Interior Ministers, while Dr. Reikh Machar nominating nine Ministers, including Defense and Petroleum Ministers. The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) got three Ministers, Former Detainees two Ministers and Other Opposition Political Parties one Minister in the new cabinet.

While the distribution of cabinet portfolios has led to defection from both the SPLM-IO and the side of SPLMIG, no major disagreement that puts the R-TGNU has risen over the assignment of cabinet posts. Members of the cabinet were appointed on 12 March.

However, there two major areas of delay for the full constitution and operationalization of the R-TGNU. As highlighted in the statement of the Interim Chairperson of R-JMEC, the first relates to the delay in the formation of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the
restructuring and reconstitution of the Council of States.

Second, there has been a deadlock on responsibility sharing at state and local government levels and this is delaying the completion of the establishment of the structures and composition of the revitalized transitional government. In line with the revitalized peace agreement, the State and local levels of government will be reconstituted with power–sharing among the Parties at these levels. Accordingly, 55% will be allocated for Incumbent SMPL-in Government (SPLM-IG) led government and 27% for SPLM/A–IO, while SSOA will get 10% and other opposition parties will have 8%. The SPLM-IG and the SPLM-IO disagree over the interpretation of the prescribed percentages for allocating State Governors under the R-ARCSS. Series of meetings between the parties are said to have taken place on this issue but no consensus has yet been achieved. The government is said to be insisting on taking six states, while other parties are opposing the government’s position on this issue.

The delay in the appointment of governors is said to have created a power vacuum at the state level. This has contributed, among other things, to incidents of intercommunal violence. Therefore, the parties have been called upon by the Interim Chairperson of R-JMEC to resolve this issue in a spirit of compromise and collegiality. The slow implementation of the security arrangements and the delay in the training of the Necessary Unified Forces, and the shortage of supplies also remains a matter of concern. Given that this has been the major factor behind the collapse in July 2016 of the first unity government, issues facing the transitional security arrangements is an area of major concern that should receive major attention.

Other issues highlighted in the various documents include the lack of consultation by the President with the TGNU presidency in making senior appointments to public institutions, and the inconsistencies of the Constitutional Amendment Act No.6 of 2020 issued on 19 February with the R-ARCSS due to changes that the President Kiir’s government made to the Constitutional Amendment Bill. The CTSAMVM also reports various incidents that occurred since the formation of the RTGNU including allegations of rape and violent sexual abuse, defections and armed assault on members of the CTSAMVM.

These challenges notwithstanding, the latest developments in South Sudan has rekindled hope for silencing the guns in the country. The South Sudanese peace process has no doubt been fraught with so many challenges, and the road ahead is by no means easy. But the hope and expectation is that the parties will defy the odds and try to work together for the sake of the south Sudanese people who have endured so much for far too long.

Based on the input that members of the PSC will provide electronically after reviewing the various briefing notes and statements, the expected outcome of this remote briefing on the situation in South Sudan is a communique.

The AUPSC may wish to welcome the formation of the inclusive revitalized transitional government with the announcement of the new cabinet and the show of increasing trust and collegiality between President Kiir and First Vice President Machar. The Council may express concern over the delay in the formation of the Transitional Legislative Assembly, the State Council and the appointment of governors. Also of concern for the PSC is the slow implementation of the transitional security arrangements and urge the parties to avoid the slow progress in security arrangements from derailing the transitional process. In this regard, the PSC may wish to call on the parties to continue to work together in a spirit of consensus and compromise to resolve some of these outstanding issues to complete the formation of the RTGoNU in line with the peace agreement. As South Sudan became the latest country in Africa to confirm new cases of corona virus infection, the AUPSC may also call on the AU, IGAD, UN, EU and others to support the effort of South Sudan for containing the virus while ensuring that COVID19 does not lead to major disruption in the transitional process in South Sudan.


Briefing on the Situation in South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 14 November, 2019

Tomorrow (14 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have a session on the situation in South Sudan. This comes two days after the
expiry of the extended deadline for the implementation of the pre‐transitional tasks. It is expected that Joram Biswaro, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan, is expected to brief the PSC. The last time the AUPSC met to discuss South Sudan was one month ago when it considered the report on the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in the country. This session is expected to focus on assessment of the latest situation in South Sudan, including the extension of the pre‐transitional period by 100 days and the role the AU could play for completion of the pretransitional tasks within the 100 days.

Considering the limited progress made in implementing the pre‐transitional tasks, no one was sure what would happen on 12 November 2019. IGAD and the rest of the international community were insisting that the extended timeline is non‐renewable, and that an inclusive transitional government should be formed on the set timeline. President Kiir was also saying that the transitional government will be formed. By contrast, Dr.Reikh Machar was insisting that his forces will not join the transitional government without meaningful progress on the implementation of the pre‐transitional tasks, particularly relating to Transitional Security Arrangements and the determination of the number and boundaries of states.

The last two weeks have seen increased activities to avoid the worst and salvage the revitalized peace agreement, including the preservation of the cessation of hostilities and the ceasefire, which ensured a modicum

of stability. The Security Council had visited Juba and talked with the parties. IGAD had also dispatched a delegation to Juba to undertake similar consultations.

Furthermore, members of the Troika also visited Juba and did the same. President Salva Kiir and Dr. Reikh Machar met face to face on three occasions, twice in Juba and the last one in Kampala.
What eventually saved the situation is the Tripartite Summit that was convened in Kampala by Sudan and
Uganda in their capacity as co‐guarantors of the agreement. The meeting was critical to facilitate agreement between President Kiir and Dr. Machar to extend the pre‐transitional period for one hundred (100) days effective from 12 November and review progress after fifty days from that date. The two principals also agreed to establish a mechanism involving the parties and the guarantors to monitor the implementation of the pending tasks. Under the circumstances, the outcome of the Kampala Tripartite Summit was the least bad option in trying to salvage the revitalized peace agreement and preserve the cessation of hostilities and the ceasefire agreement, thereby avoiding a relapse into another cycle of violence.

Of critical importance for tomorrow’s PSC session is the key question of whether the parties will use this window to expedite the implementation of the critical pending
tasks. In this regard, it would be of interest to PSC member states to know the role that the AU and its office in Juba would play in supporting the process for achieving the implementation of the pre‐transitional tasks including, a clear roadmap and follow‐up mechanism.

In terms of helping effective utilization of the limited window of opportunity that the 100 days extension presented, IGAD held two important meetings as a follow‐up to the Kampala Tripartite summit. IGAD convened a consultative meeting of the parties in Addis Ababa on 9 November 2019, ahead of the extraordinary meeting of its Council of Ministers on 10 November 2019. The consultative meeting endorsed the outcome of the Kampala Tripartite Summit, including the extension of the pre‐transitional period for 100 days effective from 12 November 2019. The IGAD Council of Ministers, which met on the following day welcomed the outcome of the consultative meeting of the parties, including the endorsement of Kampala Tripartite Summit communique.

The IGAD Council of Ministers initiated the steps to be taken towards the completion of the key pre‐transitional tasks within the 100 days. The IGAD Council instructed
the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan in collaboration with R‐JMEC, CTSAMVM and the AU Commission to urgently organize a workshop for security mechanisms in Juba to agree on a roadmap with clear timeline for the implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements within the one hundred (100) days extension. It further directed its Special Envoy to facilitate a meeting of the Parties to the R‐ARCSS to resolve the issue of the number of states and their boundaries and any other outstanding issues pertaining to the establishment of the Revitalized‐ Transitional Government of National Unity (R‐TGoNU).

While these two areas are expected to be a priority, the IGAD Council set the ambition higher by requesting the Special Envoy to continue engaging the non‐signatories to the R‐ARCSS and organize a retreat for the Leaders of the Parties to the RARCSS for trust and confidence building as soon as possible. The Special Envoy has also been entrusted with closely monitoring the progress of implementation of the critical pending tasks during the extended Pre‐Transitional Period in close collaboration with Revitalized‐Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R‐JMEC) and CTSAMVM. The Ministers called on the Incumbent TGoNU to immediately disburse the USD 100 million to National Pre‐Transitional Committee (NPTC) to enable the completion of the critical pending tasks. In addition, they called on regional and international partners to provide the necessary support to expedite the implementation of pending tasks, while appreciating those that have already done so.

After its visit to Juba, the UN Security Council (UNSC) met and held consultations on the situation in South Sudan last week. The UNSC expressed concern on the lack of substantive progress in the implementation of key elements of the revitalized peace agreement and called on the parties to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the agreement, to clear benchmarks and the cessation of hostilities and ceasefire agreements.

The Council also called on the parties to make immediate progress on pre‐transitional tasks, including the security arrangements and a process for the resolution of the number and boundaries of states in order to allow for the peaceful formation of an inclusive transitional government.

Secretary‐General Antonio Guterres, in welcoming the decision of the IGAD Council of Ministers based on to the agreement reached in Kampala under the auspices of the Co‐Guarantors, urged the parties to use this extension to make further progress on critical benchmarks, including security arrangements and the number and boundaries of states, to allow for the formation of an inclusive transitional government of national unity. He also echoed the call made by IGAD for the Government of South Sudan to release the pledged amount of $100 million through a transparent and accountable mechanism.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. AUPSC could welcome the face‐to‐face meeting between President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, leader of the SPLMIO, the signatory of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the South Sudan Conflict (R‐ARSSC). It may also welcome the communique adopted by the Tripartite Summit in Kampala, including the agreement reached to extend the pre‐transitional period by hundred days. The Council may endorse the outcome of the consultative meeting of the parties in Addis Ababa and the decision adopted by the IGAD Council of Ministers. It could also urge the parties to demonstrate the necessary political will and commitment to the Revitalized Peace Agreement as the only viable framework for resolving the conflict in South Sudan and build trust and confidence to expedite the implementation of the critical pending tasks to facilitate the formation of an inclusive transitional government. In this connection, it may support the call by IGAD for developing a clear roadmap and the setting up of mechanisms for monitoring and follow up of implementation in collaboration with the AU Commission. It may also call on the parties to exert every possible effort to finding a consensual solution to the issue of number of states and their boundaries. The AUPSC may urge the TGoNU to avail the necessary resources for the implementation of the agreement and appeal to AU member states and partners to provide financial and technical assistance in this regard.


Consideration of the AU Commission Chairperson Report on South Sudan

South Sudan

Date | 15 October, 2019

Tomorrow (15 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will have a session for considering the report of the AU Commission Chairperson on the Situation in South Sudan. The Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, is expected to introduce the report with an update on the state of implementation of the Revitalized – Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R‐ARCSS). Ethiopia, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is also expected to make a statement in the partially open segment of the session ahead of the closed session.

The last time the AUPSC received a briefing on South Sudan was on 11 June 2019 following the extension of the Pre‐transition period for six months until 12 November. Barely a month is now left for the expiry of the extended timeline, which according to the decision of the IGAD Council of Ministers, will not be renewable. The key question remains whether enough progress has been made in implementing the pre‐transitional tasks, which are instrumental for the establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) come 12 November 2019. As things currently stand, the answer seems to be far from reassuring. Last month marked the first anniversary of the signing of the R‐ARCSS. That the agreement is so far holding is considered as good news in and of itself. Many of the various institutions and mechanisms set out by the agreement have been established. Various representatives of the opposition parties have also moved back to Juba. Fighting has also subsided and the displacement of people due to conflict is said to have significantly decreased. But there is still sporadic fighting between the parties and non‐signatory groups and intercommunal violence continuing to claim the lives of innocent civilians.

In terms of implementing the R‐ARCSS, the positive developments notwithstanding, challenges abound in terms of making tangible progress regarding the implementation of pre‐transitional tasks. Key among these, which is of interest for today’s PSC session, is, of course, the implementation of the security arrangements and the resolution of the boundaries issue. The Chairperson’s report is expected to highlight the various developments not only generally in the situation in South Sudan but also importantly in the implementation of the pre‐transitional tasks of the RARCSS. The IGAD Council of Ministers at its meeting held on 21st August 2019 in Addis Ababa decided that at least 50% of the 83 thousand necessary unified forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September. According to UN reports, currently, out of the 35 cantonment sites planned, 23 are said to have now been occupied by opposition forces and 10 by the Government. Food, water and other resources have also been delivered to the sites. However, there is lack of amenities and there is serious financial and logistical constraint. TGoNU had pledge to provide 100 million USD to support implementation but only few of that amount has so far been disbursed. According to SRSG David Sherer, who recently briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the latest in South Sudan, “more fundamental differences also persist. The opposition foresees a newly constituted security sector, whereas the Government presumes that opposition troops will be subsumed into existing forces”. On the other hand, the Independent Boundaries Commission, which was supposed to address the number of states and their boundaries was unable to reach consensus.

Although the IGAD Special Envoy has been exerting efforts to engage the non‐signatory parties and bring them on board, it has so far not been successful. In fact, the holdout opposition groups had organized a meeting in The Hague at the end of August with a view to forging a united front against Juba. The meeting was said to have been attended by General Thomas Cirillo, Pagan Amum, General Oyai Deng Ajak, Cirino Hiteng, Sunday de John, Thomas Tut and other opposition officials. General Paul Malong was also said to have joined the meeting via teleconference.

It is against this backdrop that the face‐to‐face meeting between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President‐Designate, Riek Machar Teny took place in Juba last month. The meeting, according to IGAD, is said to have resulted in a way forward particularly on addressing pending Security Arrangements issues. The meeting also called for a Committee to address the sensitive issue of the boundaries. The meeting was welcomed by the region and the international community at large injecting renewed impetus to the
peace process.

However, not long after the face‐to‐face meeting, SPLMIO issued a statement condemning what President Salva Kiir is alleged to have said during prayers held at the
Presidential Palace. The statement accused the president of asserting that the revitalized transitional government will be formed without the SPLM‐IO, which it argued, contradicts the outcome of the face‐to‐face meeting. The situation was further compounded by the defection of an SPLM‐IO General – James Ochan Puot – to the
government side. These and the increasing fracture of the various groupings in the opposition camp is said to be threatening to overshadow the positive atmosphere observed following the face‐to‐face meeting.

The Deputy Spokesperson of SPLM‐IO is reported to have said that they [SPLM‐IO] will not be part of a unity government without proper security arrangements and agreement on the internal boundaries of states. Lam Akol, the leader of the National Democratic Movement,
echoed these sentiments.

The remaining few weeks before the expiry of the pretransition period are no doubt going to be very critical. It has become very clear that the key benchmarks set out in the R‐ARCSS may not be met and, therefore, the hope and expectation now is that they could be carried out
during the transition period with the formation of an inclusive and Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. IGAD is expected to meet at the level of Heads of State and Government during the course of this
month and one of the likely issues to feature on the agenda of the Summit will be the situation in South Sudan.

The UNSC has issued a Presidential Statement on 8 October 2019, under the South African Presidency, welcoming the face to face meeting and the initial progress made in implementing the R‐ARCSS. It called on Parties to speed up implementation of the transitional security arrangements and to continue consultation on the issue of the number and boundaries of states with a view to finding a common solution. The UNSC stressed that actions which threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan may be subject to sanctions and it affirmed that it shall be prepared to adjust measures contained in the relevant resolutions in light of the implementation of the parties’ commitments, including the ceasefire.

The Chair of the Security Council Committee 2206 on South Sudan is on a visit South Sudan and the region, including Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda as part of the regular consultation. In the following days, the delegation of the UNSC is also scheduled to visit Juba before their joint annual consultation with the PSC in Addis Ababa. Machar is said to have been requested to travel with them to Juba.

What has become clear both from the pre‐transitional period tasks that are outstanding and the statements of the opposition parties is that what will happen come 12 November 2019 is very difficult to predict. This uncertainty has made the need for contingency planning is a necessity. It would be of particular interest for PSC members to learn from Chergui AU’s engagements since the last PSC session on South Sudan and the options available to it, working along with IGAD and the UN, for heling the parties address the main outstanding issues to prevent the derailment of the transitional process. The expected outcome of the session is a communique.

While welcoming some of the progress made including the face‐to‐face meeting between President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, the PSC could underscore the need for the signatories to continue demonstrating the necessary political will and commitment to establish agreed mechanisms to address all outstanding issues in the implementation of pre‐transitional tasks, notably those relating to security arrangements and the number and boundaries of states. The AUPSC could urge the TGoNU to avail the necessary resources for the implementation of the agreement and appeal to AU member states and partners to provide financial and technical assistance in this regard. It may also echo the call by the UNSC to IGAD to appoint the Chair of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.