Juba, May 12, 2014 (SSNA) — We welcome the peace agreement signed between the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army and the government of the Republic of South Sudan said the undersigned representatives from the organized sector of the South Sudanese civil society.
We applaud the parties for reaching an agreement that brings to an end the bloodshed and suffering of the people in Pibor County as a result of the over two years of dreadful violence. This is a big step towards restoring hope to the people in the County. With certainty, Peace in this region is a great celebration not only for the people of Jonglei State but the entire republic of South Sudan.
We commend both parties for the compromises they have made for the sake of peace in Pibor County. We particularly congratulate the parties for reaching an amicable and quick solution to the conflict. We extend special thanks to the negotiators of both parties for their leadership in the process. We believe that if this agreement is implemented, it can lay essential foundations for sustainable peace and security in the Greater Pibor region and Jonglei.
We are calling upon the parties to live up to their commitments as stipulated in the peace agreement. We urge the Council of States to quickly approve the agreement in order to swiftly enter into force. We further express our interest and commitment to contribute to the full implementation of the peace agreement. We encourage all relevant stakeholders including the regional and international friends of South Sudan to join hands to provide the necessary support to translate this peace agreement into a reality on the ground.
We are concerned that the issue of accountability has been vaguely captured in the agreement. We look forward to this being revised at the implementation stages to ensure those responsible for atrocities committed during the hostilities are held accountable.
With great honor, we commend the religious leaders under the auspices of the Church Leaders’ Mediation Initiative for their efforts in facilitating the process that led to this peace agreement. We particularly commend the vital leadership of Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, Bishop Paul Yugusuk and Bishop Arkanjelo Wani Lemi and urge them to continue steering the peace process during subsequent phases.
We urge members of the communities in Pibor country to embrace this peace agreement and work together to make it a reality on ground. We call upon the leadership of SSDM/A to initiate an inclusive local dialogue with the people of Greater Pibor Area to deliberate on the implementation of the peace agreement. The dialogue should bring together members of the communities from all walks of life including youth, women, elders and other community leaders who did not participate in struggle of the SSDM/A.
This will foster broad ownership and inclusive implementation process. This can avoid exclusion and the perception of the agreement as only a reward of “those who fought”.
We urge the government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in opposition to follow the example set by this peace process by genuinely committing to the agreement on cessation of hostilities and quick resolution to their crisis through dialogue. We remind the parties that solutions to the problems of South Sudan does not emanate from the barrel of the gun. Besides, violence breeds violence, consequently creating protracted cycle of violence. The people of South Sudan want peace – and peace now. We urge the warring parties to heed to this call and work to make peace happen.
The SSDM/Army – Cobra faction picked up arms against the government of South Sudan for the latest offensives in the cycle of violence in the third quarter of 2012. Peace efforts steered by the Church Leaders begun soon after the beginning of the uprising. First round of peace talks begun in December 2013 at the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa and achieved a cessation of Hostilities agreement on January 30, 2014. No hostilities by the two parties has been reported since the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. The peace agreement was secured during the second round of talks that took place in Addis Ababa that begun on April 30, 2014 at the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.