UN urges South Sudan’s warring parties to make genuine progress at upcoming peace talks
Nyalei Yar has lived at a temporary protection site next to a small United Nations base in the Unity region of South Sudan for three years.
She has no expectation of returning to her former home, as violence continues to plague the area. A recent surge in fighting has forced even more people to flee to the camp. The site previously held about 600 internally displaced people – it now provides sanctuary to almost 1800.
“I don’t know the future, the only thing I can say is that the UN and international community have to speak up to tell them to stop the fighting so that we can have peace in South Sudan,” said Nyalei Yar.
Responding to that plea, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, is urging the warring parties to end the violence and fully commit to peace talks.
“The solution to the challenges that are facing South Sudan are not violent ones, they are political. Certainly political, not military,” said David Shearer. “All of the warring parties must abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, lay down their weapons and come to the negotiating table with a genuine willingness to compromise, to reconcile and to work for peace.”
Talks at the High Level Revitalization Forum are set to resume in Addis Ababa next week. All parties will be represented, including the UN.
“We believe very strongly that this forum is critical to achieving a genuine and lasting peace and we hope that our role there will be able to narrow the position between the various parties,” said David Shearer. “I hope that the parties seize the opportunity to make real progress for the sake of their people, who continue to suffer immensely from the ongoing conflict.”
The SRSG also reiterated the message of the Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, to the Security Council this week, where Mr. Lacroix urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to release and make public reports of violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement produced by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).
“It is important that these reports are considered and where the evidence exists that the violators are held to account publicly. It is only by doing that, that we will be able to end the cycle of impunity that exists,” Mr. Shearer said.
Shuttle diplomacy between the parties is already underway in Addis Ababa, where formal talks are due to begin on May 17.