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Lack of funds for cantonment may ‘derail’ peace

SPLA soldiers stand in parade 25km east of Juba along Nimule Highway in April 2017 | Photo | Eye Radio

Lack of funds and failure to pinpoint locations for troop cantonment may derail the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, says a US-based think-tank .

According to the deal, the parties agreed to the disengagement and separation of their forces, which are in close proximity, and the assembly and cantonment of their forces within 30 days of the signing.

This is to enable registration of personnel, weapons and equipment accountability, screening, re-organization and/or disarmament and demobilization.

“Most worrying is the fact that donor support for cantonment, which is very critical to the success of the peace agreement, is non-existent,” said the Enough Project.

“Donors have expressed reservations about the prevailing lack of transparency and accountability within the government and have thus declined to commit support.”

Recently, the outgoing UN Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, said the international community is reluctant to finance the South Sudan peace process unless there is transparency and guns are silenced.

While addressing the UN Security Council, he said potential donors that he engaged with have shown no or little interest to fund this process.

In an open letter to the people of South Sudan, the Enough Project said it is deeply concerned about the flaws in the signed peace agreement that fall short of addressing the root causes; corruption and money laundering.

Without funding, especially for the cantonment, the peace agreement may collapse, it said.

“It is equally concerning the fact that the agreement fails to indicate locations for troop cantonment,” it stressed.

“The recent upsurge in fighting around the Yei area is spurred by the ambition to gain control of areas for the proposed cantonment.”

The letter stated that all the factors point to the fact that the agreement is an elite pact that offers short-term concessions to the parties with the big guns while overlooking the long-term prospects of a peace that is based on the fundamental issues behind this conflict.

The Enough Project added that the group is “not supporting regime change, but rather system change”.

It stressed that it is interested in seeing that the resources of South Sudan are used for the benefit of its people.

In that regard, it has advocated for targeted financial pressures on key individuals and entities complicit in the looting of South Sudan’s resources.