AU calls for rapid solution to South Sudan conflict

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
Comments Off on AU calls for rapid solution to South Sudan conflict

South Sudan has topped the peace and security agenda at the recent African Union summit, with leaders looking for a “quick solution” to the recent outbreak of violence there.

AU peace and security commissioner Smail Chergui told journalists, following the end of the AU summit on Monday, that heads of states “indicated we have to be on the side of the people of South Sudan, but also (wanted to see) how we can find a quick solution to what happened and get back to the work of the transition government”.

The AU has backed a request for more African troops to reinforce the United Nations mission in the country (UNMIS) with a “robust peace enforcement” mandate should violence break out there again.

“The UN does not have the mandate to impose peace,” Chergui said. “They are there when there is peace to keep. That is the added value of African troops in African countries, they are ready to engage in difficult situations, even without the necessary equipment and personnel.”

He said work also needed to start on implementing South Sudan’s peace agreement, which was facilitated by the AU and signed last year after violence broke out in 2013 in the world’s newest country. South Sudan’s five-year anniversary of independence was this month.

This agreement contained a timeline for working on reconciliation and healing.

The humanitarian crisis also needed to be addressed, Chergui said.

The regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development, together with the G5 – five countries tasked with supporting the peace talks, including South Africa – had a special meeting on Saturday evening to talk about developments.

In their communiqué, they called on the UN Security Council to extend UNMISS with a revised mandate to deploy a regional protection force to separate South Sudan’s warring parties.

There is no time frame as yet for the deployment, as it would depend on the UN’s response to the proposal.

Chergui said the AU also asked for “strict observance of the ceasefire”, which he said was holding after a brief outbreak of violence in the capital Juba earlier this month.

He said the warring parties also needed to get back to working on building the transitional government, which formed part of the peace agreement.

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