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Special representative of the Secretary General, Nicolas Haysom speaks to media on Wednesday May 24, 2023 (Photo: Kitab Unango/Juba Echo)

South Sudan’s peace process at risk of unraveling due to outstanding issues

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) warned on Wednesday parties to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement to not lose sight of the critical pending outstanding issues, that could make or break the country’s aspirations for sustainable peace.

Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMISS, said much of the region and international attention has shifted to neighboring Sudan, and yet South Sudan’s peace process is at a critical moment where it could either make progress or retard.

“I met recently with President Salva Kiir to discuss developments in South Sudan and the implications of the Sudan crisis on South Sudan. We agreed that the longer the Sudanese conflict continues there will be significant security, economic and humanitarian consequences for South Sudan,” Haysom told journalists in Juba.

Haysom said that he encouraged the President and other parties to step up efforts to fully implement outstanding issues such as enactment of the permanent constitution, enactment of electoral laws and establishment of electoral institutions.

“However, I have also encouraged the President to continue making progress towards implementation of the South Sudanese roadmap. This is not the time to take our eyes off the ball, what we can learn from Sudan is how quickly matters can unravel if neglected,” he said.

Haysom said that the scale of importance of what remains to be done does not leave room for inaction.

“We still see 2023 as a make –or- break-year for this nation, if it is to fully implement the peace agreement which is to suggest that matters cannot be differed to 2024,” he disclosed.

Under the road map extended in August 2022, the parties agreed to hold elections after 24 months in December 2024.

Haysom said the constitutional making process is 10 months behind schedule, and that the elections’ planning is eight months behind schedule.

He added that several aspects of the transitional security arrangements remain incomplete.

“The Security Council has specifically requested an inquiry into whether the country will be ready for elections, and it has asked those in the UNMISS who are supporting the elections to render their support on fact basis, which is to say if the conditions are met to hold those elections to continue to render support,” Haysom said.

Haysom also said that if the ongoing conflict in Sudan lasts for a longer period, it definitely would impact South Sudan’s security, economy and also worsen the already dire humanitarian situation.

“On security, economic and humanitarian challenges more generally, we have emphasized that the nation will have to grapple with multiple challenges, including the effects of the Sudanese situation without losing sight of the critical need to address it’s own internal security challenges,” he said.

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