Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on South Sudan

1. As per the 100 day extension agreed in November 2019, the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) of South Sudan is due to be formed in late February 2020. It is vital that R-TGoNU is a truly inclusive body, in line with the provisions of the peace agreement. Only then can it lead the move towards sustainable peace and development to which the South Sudanese people aspire. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country, closely linked to the conflict and recently aggravated by severe floods, further underlines the urgency of a sustainable peace.

2. It remains crucial that all the South Sudanese parties publicly reaffirm their commitment to full compliance with the cessation of hostilities agreement of December 2017 and act accordingly. In this regard, the latest clashes in Maiwut are of serious concern. In this context, the recent Rome Declaration signed by the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) and the Government, and witnessed by SPLM/IO, and which includes a commitment to the ceasefire including from the non-signatories movements of the SSOMA, is encouraging. The EU encourages the IGAD to continue its monitoring of the ceasefire via the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.

3. While welcoming recent progress, including meetings between President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar and the partial release by the government of the committed funds for peace agreement implementation, the EU calls upon all parties to urgently tackle the outstanding issues that should be resolved before the formation of the new government, as agreed by the parties in the peace agreement. This includes finding a compromise solution on the number and boundaries of states as well as making substantial progress in the security arrangements, particularly in full participation of all forces including all government forces in the process and in agreeing a new unified chain of command.

4. The EU expects that the R-TGoNU will promote peace and security, guarantee rule of law, move the country towards reconciliation and healing and ultimately democratic elections at the end of the transitional period. Improving the human rights situation and the space for civil society and humanitarian actors to operate are critical priorities. The EU is determined to continue to be a partner for the people of South Sudan in their quest for peace and prosperity and looks forward to working with an inclusive R-TGoNU in this regard. The EU also commends South Sudan’s commitment to the inclusion of at least 35% women in every level of government, as stated in the peace agreement, and encourages the parties to honour this commitment. It underlines its readiness to review its policies towards the incumbent government and other signatory parties, in the absence of sufficient progress in the coming weeks.

5. The EU commends IGAD countries who are contributing to the new Security Supervisory Mechanism and we call on their continuous support and advice to the parties in accelerating the implementation of the outstanding tasks. In this context, the EU awaits the report of the Security Supervisory Mechanism on the progress made to date. The role of IGAD, its Special Envoy and its member countries, as well as of the role of the AU, in promoting peace in South Sudan is critical and the EU will continue to support them in this regard.