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US diplomats argue over trusteeship idea

Author : | Published: Friday, September 9, 2016

Two prominent US diplomats have disagreed over the proposal to hand over South Sudan’s administration to the United Nations and the African Union.

US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, objected to the proposal by his predecessor, Princeton Lyman to have the international community govern South Sudan.

The two diplomats presented different views during their testimonies to the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing in Washington DC this week.

The Former US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, retired Ambassador Princeton Lyman said IGAD countries need to strengthen the oversight role of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to enforce the full implementation of the peace agreement.

Amb Princeton Lyman says JMEC’s mandate should be increased to include holding accountable leaders who violate the agreement.

He proposed that the African Union and the United Nations take over the administration of South Sudan should South Sudanese and the region fail to stop the violence and achieve a lasting peace.

“There should be an international oversight administration of South Sudan. Without that, we do not see how this peace plan could go forward,” Lyman argued.

Amb Lyman proposed the need for an authoritative international oversight of the peace process that is not dependent on the South Sudanese leaders in order to carry out a political transformation.

He said the body will ensure a broad-based participation of South Sudanese in the transitional governance to avoid the continuation of the conflict.

Ambassador Lyman says if IGAD does not support a UN trusteeship, then the authority of JMEC should be evaluated to include being able to act when the parties refuse to implement the peace agreement as it is.

He said such a body should be able to make key appointments, and start the constitution-making process.

Lyman believes JMEC lacks the authority and sufficient backing from IGAD to hold South Sudanese leaders to their commitments.

“The role of JMEC under the peace plan and the role of Festus Mogae; the fact is that mechanism has no real thorough authority over the parties,” Lyman stressed.

However, Amb Donald Booth says the UN has no authority to place another independent country under its direct administration.

He said such a move would not be supported by the United States.

US special envoy Donald Booth
US special envoy Donald Booth

“That is something that I don’t see that we would have any support for – in practical,” Amb Booth stated.

“This is a matter of sovereignty. I think you get the idea of how that would be received in South Sudan.”

Similar proposal was made in July by the former SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum.

Pagan and Lyman believe that the current leaders in South Sudan do not have the political will to unite the country and end the circle of violence.

The idea of UN trusteeship has also been vehemently rejected by the government and South Sudanese who marched the streets of major capitals to denounce the proposal –including that of an intervention force.

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