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East Africa bloc says seeks to shore up South Sudan peace process

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- East Africa ministers met in Juba on Monday to help revitalize peace process in South Sudan.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said the planned High Level Revitalization Forum provides warring parties with opportunity for the broadest consultation, inclusivity to end the more than three years of conflict.

The Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers Workneh Gebeyehu told regional leaders and diplomats in Juba the revitalization forum will help restore permanent ceasefire and create conducive environment for broad consultations among the warring parties.

“The revitalized forum is not a fresh renegotiation or negotiation to implement Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) rather it is a window of opportunity for all South Sudanese stakeholders to return or join the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement,” he said.

“I would like to call upon the transitional unity government and other parties and non-parties of the ARCSS to lay their arms down and join the revitalization of the peace process once again,” he added.

On June 12, regional leaders who met in Ethiopia decided on a High-Level Revitalization Forum of the Parties to the ARCSS which would include all opposition and estranged armed groups.

He disclosed that South Sudanese, the region as well as the wider international community are looking at the IGAD and partners to help the war-torn country achieve enduring sustainable peace through the High Level Revitalization Forum.

Gebeyehu revealed that this process will explore all inclusive peaceful ways to fully implement the weakened August 2015 peace agreement without any conditionality.

“The high level revitalization forum has already started to take effect through endorsing terms of reference and implementation matrix with a view to systematically carry out immediate priorities in implementation of the peace agreement with a revised timeline,” he said.

He added in spite of the enormous challenges in peace building, the forum is also expected to develop a realistic timeline towards democratic election at the end of the transitional period.

Executive Secretary of IGAD Mahboub Malim said they have already embarked on work to ensure peace deal revival yields results.

“During the last Heads of State Summit expectations were raised and of course a lot of work has been done. Since then we have so far embarked on the matrix time lines and the modus operandi on how things should happen in this revitalization process,” he said.

“We interacted with members of civil society, faith-based organization and women and youth.  A lot of ideas were generated. We are now in full picture to reenergize the process,” he added.

Gebweyehu also called for immediate deployment of the much-awaited Regional Protection Force (RPF) and that the Chiefs of Defence (CDF) forces of the African troops contributing countries are meeting in Addis Ababa to sort out final critical operational matters.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the peace monitoring body Joint Monitor and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Festus Mogae urged all parties to restore the permanent ceasefire by renouncing violence.

“It is reasonable and fair that the turmoil last year has led to estrangement of some parties and new groups have emerged. All South Sudanese leaders must renounce violence and get back to negotiating table,” he said.

Mogae added that the outcome of the forum will help improve on humanitarian situation resulting from close cooperation between government, UN and JMEC and other humanitarian agencies.

He also noted that though there has been some progress, the fact that the permanent constitution making process is behind schedule and lack of gender balance in government should be tackled.

“Today the peace agreement has stalled...this is the time to restore it,” he said.

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs Elia Lomuro said they will work closely with JMEC clusters to create conducive working environment for both.

He added the national dialogue launched December last year by President Salva Kiir will work alongside the peace deal revival forum to achieve lasting peace.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.



Uganda beat South Sudan 5-1 in 2018 CHAN qualifier

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda Cranes have qualified for the next round of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier after they beat visiting South Sudan 5-1 on Saturday.

After ending with a goalless draw in the first leg last week in Juba, hosts Uganda clinched the second-leg win to qualify for the next round where it will face Amavubi of Rwanda. The two will compete in two legs in August to decide who can go through to the finals.

The South Sudan team defended in numbers from kick-off before the hosts took the lead after 33 minutes.

Derrick Nsibambi, playing his third full match for the national team nodded the ball past South Sudan’s goalkeeper Daniel Khamis Dak after a well taken cross by defender Nicholas Wadada.

Nsibambi however collided with the goalkeeper and needed medical attention before he was replaced by Paul Mucureezi.

The substitute made sure his impact was felt when he made it 2-0 after 44 minutes with a neat finish.

Uganda’s goalkeeper Ismeal Watenga later punched James Saeed Moga well taken shot.

In the second half, Mucureezi made it 3-0 after 46 minutes.

With the Uganda Cranes midfield well controlled by Muzamil Mutyaba running rings around the South Sudan team, the hosts made it 5-0 with Mucureezi again getting his name on the score sheet.

Daniel Boki Olivier netted a last minute consolation goal for South Sudan who had held Uganda to the goalless draw in the first leg in Juba last weekend.

“I am happy that the boys responded well and got the goals. It is always important to take the chances and now we wait to face Rwanda,” said Uganda’s Coach Milutin Sredojevic.

South Sudan’s coach Felix Bilal Kumuyange said his team had been outplayed.

“We started well, but failed to keep pace with the Ugandan team,” said Kumuyange. 



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