South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) welcomes opposition leader Riek Machar at State House in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Jan. 15, 2020. South Sudan warring parties on Wednesday agreed to continue with further consultations on the contentious issue of the number of states after Salva Kiir and Riek Machar met in Juba. (Xinhua/Daniel Majak)
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) welcomes opposition leader Riek Machar at State House in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Jan. 15, 2020. South Sudan warring parties on Wednesday agreed to continue with further consultations on the contentious issue of the number of states after Salva Kiir and Riek Machar met in Juba. (Xinhua/Daniel Majak)

The EU on Monday urged President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to expeditiously reach an agreement on the appointment of state governors after the two leaders recently failed to agree on the issue.

Sinead Walsh, EU ambassador to South Sudan told Xinhua that they are concerned over the stalemate that is delaying full formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGNU) despite the two sides having already appointed cabinet in March.

“Yes, we are concerned. We urge a swift appointment of state governors and local governments among others. We find the delays in the full formation of R-TGNU regrettable and urge the parties to redouble efforts to accelerate the process in a collaborative spirit,” she said in an interview in Juba.

Machar, who is currently the first vice president in R-TGNU last week, rejected the states offered to his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in opposition (SPLM-IO) by Kiir, arguing that they were not representative of his party’s strength at state level.

The government allocated six states to itself that include Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Warrap, Unity, Northern Bhar El Ghazal and Lakes states, while SPLM-IO’s three states included Jonglei, Western Bhar El Ghazal and Western Equatoria states respectively.

South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) a loose-coalition of other political parties was given one state of Upper Nile.

Walsh said both parties should work to continue building on the positive momentum created by Kiir’s earlier decision to reduce the number of states from 32 to 10 states which had been holding back the peace process.

“Much has been achieved and it is important to build on these achievements. The people of this country need and deserve peace. The new unity government will have to show a strong and sincere spirit of collaboration to bring security and stabilization, promote much-needed reconciliation and justice, and deliver essential basic services to the people of South Sudan,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said that there is urgent need not lose focus on the dire humanitarian needs in South Sudan amid the COVID-19 which of recent has gained priority focus.

The UN agencies have estimated that at least 6.5 million people face acute food insecurity this year alone, due to combination of factors like conflict, flooding and invasion of desert locusts.

“It is important that by focusing on COVID-19 that we do not neglect other humanitarian programs. The ongoing need for humanitarian support in South Sudan is extremely high. More than half of the population is severely food insecure,” said Walsh.

Walsh noted that EU will continue to support the Revitalized-Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) for the independent monitoring and evaluation of the peace process.

“This support will continue in the transitional phase of the implementation of the R-ARCSS (peace deal) and it is in our view an essential component of the peace implementation, also in view of the needed trust-building between the parties and among them and the international community,” she said. Enditem

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