The political process in South Sudan is not dead but needs significant resuscitation, Mr David Shearer, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the Head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has said.
Shearer stated this referring to the August 2015 accord between the country’s warring sides while briefing the Security Council on the situation in the war-ravaged country.
Shearer said regrettably, no party has shown interest in reviving the Peace Agreement.
Despite the peace agreement, South Sudan slipped back into conflict due to renewed clashes between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing former First Vice-President Riek Machar.
Shearer explained that unlike this time last year, where the conflict was construed on a bipolar basis, today the opposition has splintered, making it necessary for UN peace building efforts to be more widely cast than previously.
He told the 15-member Council that “virtually no part of the country is immune from conflict.
“Yet, there has been no concerted effort by any party to adhere to a ceasefire. Instead, we are seeing an intensification of the conflict over the past month”.
The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the crisis-torn country said that in some of the violence, Government forces had responded to attacks by opposition forces, notably in Wau and the Equatorias.
In contrast, Government-led operations such as those in Upper Nile and Jonglei appeared more strategic in focus and were aimed at taking opposition-held areas,’’ he said.
Shearer stressed that the UNMISS would work together with partners on opportunities to forge a viable solution to end the hostilities.
“Despite what appears to be attempts by the parties to achieve victory through military means, a political solution is the only way forward for South Sudan,” the UN envoy said.
He noted that military offensives were fracturing groups and intensifying ethnic divisions to a degree that would hinder reconciliation.
To revive the political process, the international community must speak with one voice, he said.
He urged the Security Council, the African Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to unite in dealing with the parties.