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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (Left) is received by President Salva Kiir on Tuesday at Juba International Airport (Photo Credit:PPU).

South Africa encourages parties to complete pending tasks ahead of elections

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, encouraged parties to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement in South Sudan to complete the pending tasks such as the security arrangements ahead of the general elections scheduled in December 2024.

Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, South Africa’s minister for international relations and cooperation, during a joint press conference in Juba, said that Ramaphosa encouraged the parties to remain committed to the revitalized peace agreement as the most viable vehicle to address the root causes of conflict and to build sustainable peace in the country.

“We encouraged by the progress achieved thus far, the ceasefire agreement is holding and threats to the country’s peace and stability have been reduced, we believe that the ongoing work in the establishment of the unified security forces for the country will further improve the security situation,” Pandor said.

She commended the parties for having reconstituted critical institutions, such as the National Election Commission (NEC), Political Parties’ Council (PPC), and the National Constitution Review Commission (NCRC), which are critical for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.

“I appreciate the insightful assessment on the situation in the country; the people of South Sudan are eagerly waiting for the general election, which will bring an end to the transitional period. This election will be a watershed moment in this country’s transition toward democratic governance,” Pandor said.

She encouraged the parties to continue engaging in dialogue on outstanding peace tasks, in order to agree on the necessary conditions for holding elections.

Ramaphosa held discussions with President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, and the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (RJMEC)-the body monitoring implementation of the peace agreement.

James Pitia Morgan, South Sudan’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, said that President Salva Kiir and his South African counterpart also discussed deepening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

“In the last two days, the two principals have been engaging in bilateral talks, South Africa is one of the countries in the region and on the continent standing with the people of south Sudan,” Morgan said.

He said that Pretoria has been supporting peace efforts in South Sudan since outbreak of conflict in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

In May 2019, South Sudan’s ministry of petroleum and South Africa’s ministry of energy signed a six-year agreement, which will allow the South Africa’s state-owned Strategic Fuel Fund and the Juba-based Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited (NILEPET) to invest in oil refinery, exploration and pipeline development in South Sudan.

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