UN urges South Sudan to hasten peace deal implementation for fair polls

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South Sudan

The UN senior envoy in South Sudan has called on political parties to accelerate the peace deal implementation to enable free and fair elections.

David Shearer, special representative of the UN Secretary-General said the parties should hasten efforts to graduate unified forces, form state and county institutions, reconstitute the national legislature and finalize the constitution so that elections can take place.

“That has heightened doubt and frustration. It has also opened opportunities for spoilers to exploit local tensions,” Shearer said in a speech delivered to the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission plenary in Juba on Thursday.

“Our fear is that the slow pace of reform as set out in the Peace Agreement will deteriorate further as national actors meddle and fuel local-level violence,” he added.

According to the 2018 revitalized peace deal, the youngest nation is supposed to train and graduate a unified force of 83,000 personnel to take charge of security during the transitional period until 2023 when elections are held.
The unification of the army has been delayed amid missed deadlines with some government officials citing the existing arms embargo imposed by the United Nations and the United States.

Shearer welcomed this week’s announcement that the government would accelerate the implementation of key outstanding aspects of the peace deal, including the graduation and deployment of unified forces.

However, he said that action now needs to follow these good intentions because thousands of troops are festering in cantonment sites without adequate shelter, health care, food and water. The UN envoy pledged the UN’s full support for efforts to breathe new life into the peace process.

“We are already looking at prioritizing technical support for Security Sector Reform and have increased engagement with the South Sudan National Police Service to build its capacity to prevent and respond to crime,” he said.

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