Monitor criticises defections among parties to the peace agreement in South Sudan

By Ruot George

The revitalised Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, the body tasked with monitoring the peace agreement in South Sudan has criticised a tendency of people defecting from one peace partner to another.

According to the interim chairperson of RJMEC, Charles Tai Gituai, defectors and parties encouraging them must be held accountable.

“RJMECcondemns military defections and accepting defections as being against the letter and spirit of the agreement,” Gituai said in an emailed statement.

“Defectors must be held accountable for their actions following a transparent investigation.”

Defections have majorly been going on between the two leading parties to the agreement, SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO.

The peace monitor equally expressed concern on the decision of the SPLM-IO to suspend participation in meetings of the security mechanism.

Last week, representatives of SPLM-IO walked out of the peace meeting to protest what they said was the continues attack on their cantonment and training centers by the members of South Sudan People’s Defence Forces.

They cited attacks on their bases in Unity, Upper Nile, Central and Western Equatoria States which they said was reported to CTSSAMVM and RJMEC meeting with no feedback.

The United States, United Kingdom and Norway collectively known as the TROIKA expressed disappointment and urged RJMEC to investigate peace spoilers and hold them accountable.

RJMEC says it was concerned with this decision but was encouraged by the commitment of SPLM/ – IO intention to continue with dialogue to find solutions

“RJMEC notes with concern the suspension of participation of the SPLM/A-IO in the meetings of the security mechanisms of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), but is encouraged by its reiteration of its continuous commitment to full implementation of the R-ARCSS,” Gituai said in his statement.

RJMEC monitors a peace deal signed in September 2018.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 after political disagreement at the ruling party meeting in Juba. The conflict left nearly 400,000 people dead and more than 6 million others displaced into refugees in the neighbouring countries and internally displacement camps. A transitional government of national unity of 36 months was formed in February 2020 and expected to end in 2023 with elections.

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