South Sudan

Report of the Secretary-General on South Sudan (S/2016/341) [EN/AR]

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(covering the period from 3 February to 31 March 2016)

I. Introduction

  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2252 (2015), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 31 July 2016 and requested me to report on the implementation of the mandate every 60 days. The present report provides an update to my previous report dated 9 February 2016 (S/2016/138) and covers developments from 3 February to 31 March 2016.

II. Political developments

2. Despite a promising start to the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, heralded by the arrival in Juba of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A in Opposition) advance team in December 2015, overall progress in the implementation of the peace agreement remains behind schedule and the Transitional Government of National Unity has yet to be established.

South Sudan peace process

3. In an important step towards the establishment of the transitional Government, on 11 February, the President, Salva Kiir, appointed the leader of SPLM/A in Opposition, Riek Machar, as First Vice-President of South Sudan and appointed the incumbent Vice-President, James Wani Igga, as Vice-President of the transitional Government. Mr. Machar welcomed his appointment, while reiterating that his return to Juba would depend on the implementation of the agreed transitional security arrangements.

4. In a press statement on 12 February, the President announced that he had consulted with opposition political leaders, including the former political detainees and other political parties, on the formation of the transitional Government, and called upon the First Vice-President-designate to join him in Juba by 19 February to form the transitional Government and provide the names of his ministerial nominees. However, at the time of reporting, Mr. Machar had not arrived in the capital and had indicated that he would officially communicate the names of his ministerial nominees only upon his arrival in Juba.

5. In the same press statement of 12 February, the Office of the President announced that the relocation of government forces outside Juba in preparation for the return of SPLM/A in Opposition forces, including the bodyguards of the First Vice-President, was at an advanced stage. On 23 February, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism informed the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission that it had commenced the monitoring and verification of the withdrawal of government forces from Juba. In line with the peace agreement, once the locations of the cantonment sites are confirmed by the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, the Mechanism will monitor the sites in addition to the permanent ceasefire. On 2 March, the Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army stated that the majority of government forces had moved out of Juba and that the remaining units would be redeployed to sites outside the capital once the transitional security arrangements were in place. However, in its report presented during the seventh meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, held on 24 March, the Mechanism registered concern over the delay in the process of verification of the sites and slow progress in the transfer of both government and opposition troops to cantonment sites.

6. During the reporting period, meetings of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission were focused on implementing the transitional security arrangements, including the transfer of the first batch of 1,370 opposition troops to Juba. Opposition forces began to arrive in Juba on 24 March, when UNMISS airlifted the first batch of opposition police officers from Pagak to Juba via Malakal, and have since continued to arrive on a near-daily basis through a combination of UNMISS and chartered commercial flights. Meanwhile, Ethiopia has agreed to transport the opposition’s heavy weapons to Juba once the troops are in place.

7. On 25 February, I visited South Sudan, where I met the President and stressed the urgency of implementing the peace agreement, including the formation of the transitional Government, and highlighted the Government’s responsibility to protect its citizens. In Juba, I also visited an UNMISS protection of civilians site, spoke to students at a school in the site and met with United Nations and other humanitarian actors. During my time in Juba, I also spoke by telephone with the First Vice-President-designate. I urged him to return to Juba and highlighted the critical need for the timely implementation of the peace agreement.

8. In another positive development, on 4 March, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission witnessed the selection by consensus of representatives of other political parties to the institutions provided for by the peace agreement, including the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee and the Board of the Special Reconstruction Fund. Seventeen seats in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly were distributed among the parties that had also endorsed the peace agreement.

9. The National Constitutional Amendment Committee completed the drafting of the prescribed constitutional amendments by 9 February. It also drafted the enabling law for the constitutional amendments to take effect and prepared a list of existing laws requiring amendment in order to implement the peace agreement, including laws relating to the armed forces, security agencies and emergency services. On 21 February, however, the Committee announced that it had suspended its activities because of a lack of political agreement between the Government and SPLM/A in Opposition on four issues: (a) the proposed creation of 28 states; (b) the number and mode of selection of presidential advisers; (c) the filling of vacant positions in the National Legislative Assembly; and (d) the selection of the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly. The Committee unanimously agreed to refer the outstanding issues to the Transitional Government of National Unity upon its formation.