THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
Office of the Minister
The Council of Ministers of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) listened, in its Regular Meeting No. 09/2016 on Friday the 22nd July 2016, to a report prepared by Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial, Senior Presidential Advisor and presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on the Communiqué of IGAD Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus on the Situation in South Sudan during the 27th African Union Summit held from the 10th to the 18th July 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The TGoNU Council of Ministers notes the IGAD Heads of State and Government reference to the Communiqué of the 56thExtra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers, issued in Nairobi on 11th July 2016, and the report and recommendations of the Chairperson of JMEC as well as the briefing and recommendations of the AU High Level Representative for South Sudan, to strengthen the collaborative arrangements envisaged in the creation of the IGAD Plus to reach its resolutions on South Sudan.
The TGoNU conveys its appreciation to the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus, all the participants of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit, the IGAD Council of Ministers and the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for their concern and consistent commitment to help South Sudan out of its crisis. The TGoNU Council of Ministers, however, makes the following response to same aspects of the aforementioned communiqué.
1. The TGoNU strongly reiterates the fact that the insecurity confronting South Sudan today is directly related to and as a sequel to Dr. Riek Machar’s failed Coup de tat of December 2013, just like he did in 1991. Neither the Region nor the International Community acknowledged Dr. Riek’s failed Coup de tat of December 2013, despite the evidence. This time the same Dr. Riek Machar attempted another coup de tat, which also failed, right inside the Presidential Palace itself on the 8th July 2016. Again the Region and the International Community do not want to recognize the genesis of the problem and continue to blame both the government and Dr. Riek Machar alike. Yes, the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), as difficult as it is to implement, was designed to address the perceived root causes of that failed coup de tat. But there must be admission of the truth of the situation so that the challenges are dealt with fairly and honestly.
2. The IGAD Council of Ministers reached its Resolutions during its 56th Extra-Ordinary Session on the 11th July 2016, on the basis of unconfirmed informal sources of information well before the facts related to the incident could be established. The TGoNU Council of Ministers hence calls on the IGAD Council of Ministers to review its position in the light of the facts now accumulated and available.
3. The TGoNU Council of Ministers is also reliably informed that the UN Secretary General, H.E. Ban Ki moon, chose to attend that meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus in order to influence its outcome particularly with regards to arms embargo, targeted sanctions and the renewal of UNMISS mandate to include controversial proposals such as ‘the creation of a Protection Force, Intervention Force or Buffer Zone Force, which would undoubtedly undermine the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan.
4. The TGoNU recognizes the sincere concern of the Region and the International Community about the risk of South Sudan relapsing to violence, even full blown war, with dire humanitarian consequences. The Government of South Sudan is cognizant of this reality and confirms its unwavering commitment to the ceasefire declared by H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and undertakes to launch additional measures as follows:
i. The TGoNU Council of Ministers commits itself to reinvigorate efforts to work with all the humanitarian agencies as well as UNMISS to address any impediments to the timely delivery of food aid, easy access to IDPs and expedite flights clearance and any other new challenges that may arise during humanitarian operations.
ii. As Stated in its previous response to the IGAD Council of Ministers Communiqué of the 11th July 2016, the Government of South Sudan maintains a policy for open delivery of humanitarian assistance and secure delivery corridors since the eruption of the conflict on the 15th December 2013. It remains a cornerstone policy of the TGoNU and has been reinforced by Presidential Orders to all the Governors of the States of South Sudan and SPLA Commanders to remove illegal roadblocks and allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need all over the Country.
iii. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, in collaboration with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), has developed a plan of action to implement Chapter III of the ARCSS on Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction. This plan is now the subject of discussion between the Ministry, the RRC, United Nations humanitarian agencies and others to agree on the articulated strategic direction and plan of action on the subject.
iv. The TGoNU has directed the Ministries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, National Security of, and Interior to secure the lives of our citizens and to protect their properties. In particular, the Ministries are to investigate accusation of lynching of civilians on ethnic ground and enhance security of persons in order to engender confidence of citizens in the security forces.
5. The Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus have condemned in the strongest terms in paragraph (4) of their Communiqué the fighting that broke out in Juba on 7thJuly 2016, and apportioned equal condemnation on both the SPLM/IG and SPLM/IO. In December, 2013, IGAD not only refused to recognize the outbreak of fighting as an attempted coup de tat but blamed both the government of South Sudan and the rebels despite the good will demonstrated by the President in releasing the perpetrators of the failed coup de tat.
6. This time again, and to our utter disappointment, the IGAD Council of Ministers and the IGAD Heads of State and Government refused to acknowledge the truth about the cause of the recent violence. They could not even appreciate the outstanding statesmanship demonstrated by the President of the Republic in protecting the First Vice President whose forces were busy trying to force their way in to assassinate the President himself.
7. The government unreservedly concurs and equally condemns the targeting of diplomatic personnel, UN compound and protection of civilian sites (PoCs) that resulted in the death of peacekeepers, as well as the looting of the UN humanitarian stores by armed groups as came in Paragraph (5) of their Communiqué.
Paragraph (5) of the Communiqué is a reflection of the earlier UNMISS report on the matter and the government undertakes to carryout a joint investigation with UNMISS with a view to ensuring accountability of those responsible for these barbaric acts. The government of South Sudan sincerely expressed its condolences and apology to the government of China over the death of its peacekeeping soldiers in South Sudan.
8. The Government welcomes and appreciates the acknowledgement made by the IGAD Heads of State and Government in paragraph (6) of their Communiqué, for the ceasefire declared by the leaders of SPLM/IG and SPLM/IO. Further:
i. The Government stresses and reiterates its full commitment to the unconditional implementation of the ceasefire issued by H.E. The President of the Republic on the 11th July 2016.
ii. The Government is committed to the immediate investigation of the recent violence in Juba, to substantiate or disqualify the TGoNU’s claim of a Coup attempt, as well as the cause of fighting elsewhere in South Sudan. In this regard, a Ministerial Committee has already been established headed by the Hon. Minister of Interior, who is the Deputy Chairman of the SPLM/IO; the recommendations of which shall constitute the basis for holding those responsible accountable according to the relevant laws of South Sudan. For transparency, the investigation report shall also be availed to IGAD, the AU and the international community.
iii. Under the leadership of the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the Chief of General Staff, the army established a Court Martial on Wednesday the 20thJuly 2016 for the trial of soldiers who might have committed atrocities and crimes during the recent events. Again, for transparency the investigation report shall be shared with IGAD, the AU and the entire international community.
9. Both Paragraphs (8) and (9) of the Communiqué of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus support the recommendations by the United Nations Secretary-General to enforce the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). We interpret re-enforcement (in paragraph 8) to mean ‘increasing the number of peacekeeping forces in South Sudan or ‘provision of more advanced weapons and equipment’. This is in line with the previous demand by UNMISS, through the Security Council, for gunships, drones and warplanes.
Paragraph (9) of the Communiqué on the other hand calls upon the UN Security Council to extend the mission of UNMISS with a revised mandate to inter alia serve as: (a) intervention force to separate the warring parties, (b) protection force for major installations including Juba International Airport, (c) protection force for the civilian population and (d) a force for the pacification of Juba which could be understood to mean securing or guaranteeing the security of Juba but not in exclusion of de-militarization.
10. In view of the contents of Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Communiqué of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus which support the recommendations by the United Nations Secretary-General, the TGoNU Council of Ministers reiterates the following:
i. The TGoNU acknowledges that the security challenges before South Sudan are related to the implementation of the Provisions of the Security Arrangements under Chapter II as mentioned in Paragraph (11) of the Communiqué of the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Plus.
ii. The TGoNU has always been committed to the expeditious establishment of the security architecture envisaged in the ARCSS and provision of unhindered access to the Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVTs) under the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).
The TGoNU agrees and genuinely recommits itself to the immediate implementation of this provision to address the remaining outstanding security issues, including verification of redeployment of forces of Juba as per the Agreement, establishment of cantonment areas, and establishment of Joint Integrated Police (JIP). Repeatedly the Chairman of JMEC agrees that the biggest challenge in this respect is funding.
iii. The TGoNU and the people of the Republic of South Sudan unanimously REJECT the use of the notion of ‘Protections of Civilians’ as a strategy to compromise the hard-earned independence and the sovereignty of South Sudan. The protection of civilian population is a primary constitutional function of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, as it is in any country the world over.
Referring this primary responsibility to UNMISS or to a regional force is a serious violation of the sovereignty of State, particularly when the Government has not failed to do so. Even during the unfortunate events of December 2013, and July 2016, it was the government, not UNMISS that protected its citizens across South Sudan. Furthermore, following the departure of the SPLM/A-IO troops from Juba and its environs there are no longer forces in Juba to be separated by a ‘Protections Force’, which now becomes obviously redundant.
11. The TGoNU informs the international community, including IGAD, AU and UN, that they have not been forthcoming in honoring their roles as stakeholders in supporting the implementation of security the arrangements. The TGoNU institutions are preparing their respective budgets for the implementation of the ARCSS and appeal to the stakeholders to make tangible responses.
12. The TGoNU welcomes and appreciates the appeal of the Heads of State and Government of IGAD Plus in paragraph (12) of their Communiqué, calling on the international community and humanitarian agencies to come to the rescue of affected populations in South Sudan by strengthening their presence and mobilizing requisite resources. TGoNU once again declares its commitment to guarantee safe humanitarian corridors for the passage of displaced communities and the delivery of humanitarian supplies, as it has always done.
13. Finally on the recommendations for the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of UNMISS with a revised mandate, the TGoNU:
i. Welcomes such a review provided that the TGoNU is fully consulted and persuaded to accept any new ideas.
ii. Would consider consultation on a revised UNMISS mission to include key aspects of development. Our experience from the CPA, 2005, indicates that ‘peace without development cannot succeed’;
iii. The TGoNU) is willing to discuss, inter alia, the revised mandate of UNMISS as follows:
a. How the existing UNMISS force can provide for the personal protection of Dr. Riek Machar if he returns.
b. UNMISS to contribute towards construction of military barracks for the SPLA units, which were redeployed out of Juba to 25 KMs radius from the centre of the town (i.e. a diameter around Juba of 50 KMs) as part of the redeployment outside Juba that began last year.
c. The revised mandate to include refiguring of its composition to reflect the majority of its force being involved in reconstruction of roads, schools, clinics, agriculture, public financial management, procurement (e.g. UNOPs).
d. Discuss obligations of the TGoNU and UNMISS to address the issue of the POCs in the immediate and in the long term including their closure and how the SPLA could be transformed into a standing National army composed of all ethnic groups of South Sudan.
e. A consultation exercise between Countries contributing to the UNMISS force in South Sudan over how to apportion responsibility with regards to the training of the SPLA, helping with the construction of roads, agriculture and schools respectively.
f. TGoNU to negotiate with the UN member states on how to assist South Sudan with the governance aspect of the transition, especially how the Security Sector could be empowered to better perform their duties.
g. The TGoNU remains seized with the ARCSS and the position expressed in this document.
Dr. Martin Elia Lomurö
Minister of Cabinet Affairs
The Transitional Government of National Unity.