Doubts cast over South Sudan peace agreement
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, opposition leader Riek Machar, a representative of political detainees in South Sudan and representatives for other South Sudanese opposition groups signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement on South Sudan.
It includes a permanent cease-fire taking effect within 72 hours. Kiir expressed commitment to implementing the agreement. South Sudanese opposition leader Machar hailed the agreement as “important” for Sudan and South Sudan.
However, observers expressed concern that the new agreement may have the same fate of the August 2015 one, also sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development in Africa (IGAD), an eight-country trade block in Africa.
Al-Fateh Al-Sayed, former secretary-general of the Sudanese Journalists Union, said two main barriers could cripple the implementation of the agreement. The first lies in “the transitional period and formation of a transitional government”. The second was “the ability of the conflict parties to address the impact of war, particularly the tribal tensions".
The South Sudanese government needs to provide incentives for the armed factions to assimilate in the transitional government if it hopes for an enduring agreement.
Meanwhile, they must also work together to address tribal polarisation to enhance unity.
The new agreement says the parties should also separate forces in close proximity, withdraw allied troops, open humanitarian corridors and release prisoners of war and political detainees. The IGAD and the African Union member states may deploy forces to supervise the agreed permanent ceasefire.
The agreement stipulates that there will be a pre-transitional period of 120 days, followed by a transitional period of 36 months, preparing the country for polls.
The governments of South Sudan, and Sudan, should immediately rehabilitate the oil fields to production. South Sudan has been suffering a civil war since 2013 between forces loyal to Kiir and former vice-president Machar. - Xinhua