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Press statement of the 537th meeting of the PSC on the evolution of the peace process in South Sudan

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, August 26, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 537th meeting held on 24 August 2015, had an exchange of views on the evolution of the peace process in South Sudan.

Council reaffirmed its earlier communiqués and press statements on the situation on South Sudan, including communiqués PSC/AHG/COMM.1 (DXV) and PSC/MIN/COMM.(DXXVI), adopted at its 515th and 526th meetings, held on 13 June and 24 July 2015, respectively.

Council reiterated the AU's full support to the mediation efforts led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In this respect, Council welcomed the convening of an IGAD Plus Summit devoted to the situation in South Sudan in Addis Ababa, on 17 August 2015. Council expressed the AU's appreciation to the IGAD Chairperson, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia, and to other leaders of the region, notably Presidents Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, for their continued commitment and tireless efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan.

Council commended the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for her continued commitment and efforts in support of IGAD. Council expressed appreciation to the members of the AU High-Level ad hoc Committee on South Sudan (Algeria, Chad, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa), as well as to the AU High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konare, for their contribution to the search for peace in South Sudan. Council also expressed appreciation to the international partners, in particular those who are members of the IGAD Plus Mechanism, namely the United Nations (UN), the Troika (Norway, United Kingdom and the United States of America), China, the European Union and Italy, on behalf of the IGAD Partners Forum, for their sustained support to the IGAD-led mediation efforts. Council urged them, including the UN Security Council, to continue to support these African-led efforts.

Council welcomed the submission to the South Sudanese parties by IGAD, with the support of the larger international community, of the Compromise Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Council expressed full support for the Agreement, which is the outcome of extensive and prolonged consultations, and stressed that its effective implementation by all the parties would enable them to find a lasting solution to the current conflict.

Council welcomed the signing of the Agreement by Dr. Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement In Opposition (SPLM/IO), as well as by Mr. Pagan Amum, on behalf of the Former Political Detainees, and by other South Sudanese stakeholders, during the IGAD Plus Summit that took place in Addis Ababa on 17 August 2015. Council noted the initialing of the Agreement by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and stressed the urgency of completing the signing process. In this respect, Council welcomed the commitment of President Salva Kiir Mayardit to sign the Agreement, following consultations in South Sudan, and looked forward to the signing of the Agreement, on 26 August 2015 in Juba, as announced by IGAD on 24 August 2015.

Council called upon all the South Sudanese stakeholders to demonstrate the required sense of responsibility and commit to genuine reconciliation, put the interests of South Sudan and its people above narrow interests and fully support the Agreement and its implementation. Council stressed the imperative need for all parties to comply strictly with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 23 January 2014 and ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the needy people, and to facilitate the return of the displaced people.

Council, recalling its earlier pronouncements, warned that all those undermining the lasting resolution of the conflict, including the implementation of the Agreement, would be held accountable for their actions.

Council reiterated the AU's commitment to continue assisting the South Sudanese stakeholders to achieve lasting peace in their country, including through the AU High Representative for South Sudan and the High-Level ad hoc Committee. In this respect, Council requested the Commission, working closely with IGAD and the UN, to submit to it, as early as possible, concrete proposals on how best the AU could contribute to the implementation process of the Agreement, once the signing process is completed, in line with the relevant provisions of the said Agreement.