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Thursday, 03 December 2020

UN envoy warns of delays in South Sudan's peace progress

State ministerial positions were recently agreed although the county commissioners, which is the level below governors, are delayed, said David Shearer, the UN secretary-general's special representative for South Sudan

Xinhua , Wednesday 16 Sep 2020
Media Briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head
Media Briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan Mr. David Shearer
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The top UN envoy for South Sudan on Wednesday warned against the slow progress in the political process in the war-torn country.

On the positive side, the transitional government continues to function. State governors have been appointed with the exception of the Upper Nile state.

State ministerial positions were recently agreed although the county commissioners, which is the level below governors, are delayed, said David Shearer, the UN secretary-general's special representative for South Sudan.

Elsewhere, however, progress has been painfully slow, he told the Security Council.

Cabinet meetings occur irregularly, and South Sudanese want to see the president and vice presidents meet and work collectively. There has been almost no movement on the critical area of security sector reform.

Forces who have collected for training are yet to graduate and many of those remaining are abandoning camps because of food and other shortages, he said.

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly is yet to be reconstituted. As a result, necessary new laws are not being passed and progress on the constitution has been delayed, he noted.

COVID-19 has slowed implementation of the peace agreement, including meeting key benchmarks. But the pandemic is not entirely to blame. There is a reversion to business as usual where progress on the peace agreement itself limps along, he said.

"The continuing delays risk pushing elections out well beyond the timeline prescribed in the (peace) agreement. That will add to the growing disillusionment amongst communities about whether the political will exists to give South Sudanese citizens the opportunity to choose their own leaders."

He warned that, without significant international pressure, including regional pressure, political will wane. "So, momentum is urgently needed, particularly to maintain confidence among the signatories (to the peace agreement)."

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