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Next HLRF is ‘critical’ for S. Sudan – EU

The Second Phase Revitalization Forum on South Sudan that has been underway since last week in Addis has entered its 9th day on Wednesday (February 14)

The European Union says the next peace revitalization forum is crucial for South Sudan since the mandate of the current TGoNU has a limited time left.

According to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, the term of the government headed by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President, Taban Deng ends this year.

The timeline slated national elections for August 2018, with the agreement concluding in October 2018.

The European Union said “2018 is a critical year for securing peace in South Sudan”, and called on all parties to the negotiations to put the future of the country and the needs of its people first.

The statement comes a week after the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei, warned that if nothing transpires from the forthcoming peace talks in Addis Ababa, the government will conduct an election to legitimize itself.

In the statement issued on Monday, the EU said while the peace agreement remains the basis for the revitalization process, the discussions must reflect the reality on the ground.

“All stakeholders must show real increased commitment and be serious about agreeing on: viable, revised responsibility-sharing; accountable, and realistic governance structures reflecting the political, regional and ethnic diversity of the country,” the statement added.

The body also said the parties must agree on a clear transitional period, a monitored, durable and effective security sector arrangements that cannot be used to pursue the interests of any single individual group.

It believes that this is a precedence to lay the ground for sustainable and lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.

The General Secretariat of the European Union also noted that; once an agreement is reached at the revitalization forum, and a new transition starts, the new government of South Sudan will have to take on critical challenges such as; a permanent ceasefire.

It also suggests that the talks should highlight on security of the population and improved humanitarian conditions to foster a safe environment for the eventual voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

The body also says task of the next TGoNU should include the completion of the constitutional review process, done in an inclusive manner by ensuring an open political and civic space.

It further picked on accountability, reconciliation and truth-telling processes as essential elements of providing justice for the population.

The statement believes these will lay the ground for the transitional authorities to prepare for inclusive and credible elections to a revised timeline.