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UN rejects elections before revitalizing peace agreement

Author : | Published: Friday, May 4, 2018

The Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations is calling on the South Sudanese leaders to reject any attempt to organize elections

without the revitalization of the peace agreement.

Bintou Keita says the current political and economic situation in South Sudan is not conducive for free and fair elections.

Last month, the Minister of Information Michael Makuei said the government may be compelled to hold general elections should the next round of talks in Addis Ababa collapse.

The 2015 peace deal timetable requires national elections by August this year, with the agreement concluding 2 months later.

Makuei warned that if nothing transpires from the upcoming revitalization forum, the government will conduct an election to legitimize the leadership.

But Ms Keita says areas still experiencing conflict, and those displaced would not be in a position to participate in meaningful elections.

She says the UN rejects alternative plans that are not driven by the IGAD led peace talks.

“This is not at all from economic perspective, from a political perspective, from a humanitarian perspective – a country where it is conducive right now to go through any meaning elections as a plan B,” said Keita.

“The only plan is the high-level revitalization forum.”

She was addressing the press in New York after completing her visit to South Sudan.

Earlier, the US, UK and Norway also called on all parties to reject any unilateral effort to extend power by all means this year.

The three countries known as Troika said there is a need for a negotiated path to elections that guarantees the protection of fundamental political freedoms, and improved security and humanitarian conditions.

However, Michael Makuei said his government doesn’t need a consent from anybody before holding elections.

“In the first place, it is not the international community that decides for us; we decide for ourselves,” he stressed.

“So if as the people and the government of South Sudan have decided to go for elections, we would do so.”

The information minister went on to say that conducting elections during crisis is a normal practice globally.

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