Sudan crisis 'a wake-up call' for South Sudan: UN

AFP , Wednesday 2 Aug 2023

The crisis in Sudan should serve "as a wake-up call" for Juba, the UN envoy to South Sudan said Wednesday, urging the government to lay the groundwork for credible elections next year.

The market in Juba.
The market in Juba.


Since winning independence from Sudan in 2011, the world's newest nation has lurched from one crisis to another, including a five-year civil war that cost nearly 400,000 lives before a peace deal was signed in 2018.

But the fragile unity government led by President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar has largely failed to deliver on the promises of the peace agreement, including drafting a constitution.

Kiir has vowed to hold the country's first ever presidential polls by December 2024, but UN envoy Nicholas Haysom warned that the authorities needed to act quickly to ensure "peaceful, inclusive and credible elections."

"The situation in Sudan serves as a wake-up call for all of us in South Sudan. It reinforces the imperative to move swiftly in strengthening the foundations for peace, stability and inclusive governance," he told a press conference.

"A conducive political and civic environment is required for all political parties, civil society groups, media and all South Sudanese."

The United Nations has repeatedly criticised South Sudan's leadership for its role in stoking violence, cracking down on political freedoms and plundering public coffers.

The government was meant to conclude a transition period with elections in February 2023, but has so far failed to fulfil key terms of the peace deal.

Fighting in Sudan between the army and paramilitary forces has added to South Sudan's problems, with over 190,000 people fleeing across the border for refuge, Haysom said.

One of the poorest countries on the planet despite large oil reserves, South Sudan has spent almost half of its life as a nation at war and continues to be roiled by outbreaks of politically motivated ethnic violence.

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