1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2304 (2016), in which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 15 December 2016 and requested that I report on the implementation of the mandate every 90 days. It covers developments between 12 August and 25 October 2016 and contains observations on the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan and related tasks. A separate special report will be shared with the Security Council on the strategic assessment of UNMISS, which will present recommendations on the future engagement of the Mission in South Sudan (S/2016/951).
II. Political and economic developments
2. Since the adoption on 12 August of Security Council resolution 2304 (2016), there has been marginal progress towards the implementation of key elements of the peace agreement. The reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity worked to consolidate the current political arrangement that has Taban Deng Gai as the First Vice-President and head of a Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition) faction, in which capacity he has led the engagements of the Transitional Government of National Unity with regional countries and international partners. On 9 September, following a reshuffling of the Cabinet and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, the First Vice-President appointed 15 new members to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, to replace those representing SPLM in Opposition in the Commission.
3. On 11 August 2016, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union issued a communiqué endorsing the decision of the second extraordinary summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-Plus (IGAD-Plus) group, held in Addis Ababa on 5 August 2016, encouraging Riek Machar to rejoin the peace process and welcoming the gesture of Taban Deng Gai to step down with a view to returning to the status quo ante.
4. On 15 August, at the inauguration of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, established under chapter I of the peace agreement, the President, Salva Kiir, stated his commitment to working closely with the new First Vice-President in the implementation of the peace agreement and outlined priority measures, including: initiating an inclusive process to unify political parties; expediting transitional electoral procedures to facilitate elections; planning for security sector reforms to commence in January 2017; and establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate the outbreak of violence in Juba in July 2016.
5. On 4 September, at the conclusion of the visit of a Security Council delegation to South Sudan, the members of the Council and the Transitional Government of National Unity issued a joint communiqué, in which the Government expressed its determination to implement the peace agreement, in particular the reform agenda (see S/2016/776, annex).
6. From 20 to 23 September, the Riek Machar-led faction of SPLM/A in Opposition held a meeting of its political bureau in Khartoum. In the resolution issued at the end of the meeting, the political bureau, inter alia, condemned the appointment of Taban Deng Gai as First Vice-President, expressed its commitment to the resuscitation and full implementation of the peace agreement, called upon the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and its transitional institutions to suspend activities until the Transitional Government of National Unity is reinstituted and reconstituted and urged the rapid deployment of the Regional Protection Force, as well as the demilitarization of all the major towns. The resolution also called for the reorganization of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Opposition in order to wage an armed resistance against the Government.
7. Concurrently, on 23 September, on the margins of the General Assembly in New York, a ministerial meeting was held to discuss the current challenges and how best to advance the political process in the country, with the participation of the core regional and international partners of the South Sudan peace process. The partners unanimously agreed on the importance of an inclusive political process, involving representatives of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), SPLM in Opposition (chosen by the Opposition), as well as other armed and unarmed opposition and civil society organizations, consistent with the peace agreement, as the only viable means to end the fighting and return South Sudan to a path of sustainable peace and stability. The participants encouraged the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and the African Union High Representative for South Sudan and former President of Mali, Alpha Oumar Konaré, to urgently enhance their engagement with all parties to agree on concrete modalities for inclusive representation in the institutions and political processes at the heart of the South Sudan peace process, namely, the constitutional review process, the electoral process, justice, reconciliation and national healing processes, as well as security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. The partners called on all signatories of the peace agreement to engage constructively and proactively with the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and the African Union, as well as with the United Nations to support the implementation of the peace agreement. On 19 September, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union also issued a communiqué in which it stressed that political dialogue was the only path to the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (see S/2016/868, annex).
8. On 19 October, at the meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, the Chair and partners reiterated the importance of inclusivity and the need for the representation of all parties in the political process, as essential to the implementation of the peace agreement. However, the issue of political inclusivity is still unresolved at this point and the legitimacy of the institutions of the transition, as currently constituted, remains in question.