Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) under the headship of Nigeria has undertaken a field mission to South Sudan.
The mission, according to a statement by the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, is in the context of expressing the solidarity and total support of the African Union towards finding a lasting peace in South Sudan.
The Republic of South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan (North Sudan) in 2011, has been engulfed in political unrest since 2013.
The crisis started as a result of incumbent South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardi’s allegation that his former deputy, Riek Machar, and ten others, attempted a coup d’état.
Machar denied the allegation and fled to lead the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is opposed to government forces, over control of the South Sudanese government.
The Nigerian Embassy, Ethiopia said:
“Today, 15th April 2018, the African Union Peace and Security Council begins a 5-day field mission to South Sudan, starting with the capital city of Juba.
“The field mission, led by His Excellency, Bankole Adeoye, the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the African Union, is a key agenda of the Peace and Security Council for the month of April 2018 under the Chairmanship of Nigeria.
“The field mission is taking place in the context of expressing the solidarity and total support of the African Union towards finding lasting peace in South Sudan.”
The Nigerian Embassy in Ethiopia also noted that the South Sudanese armed conflict has entered its 5th year, with dire humanitarian and security challenges.
It further said the PSC ambassadors and permanent representatives will pay special attention to adequate response and solutions to the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, where estimated millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees in neighbouring countries are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.
It added that the PSC will also endeavour to find solutions to the political and unfolding economic challenges, while engaging the government and opposition parties along with the civil society.
“In particular, the PSC is expected to call on all parties to adhere to the provisions of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed on 21 December 2017 in Addis Ababa and witnessed by Nigeria and other member states on the AU high level ad hoc committee on South Sudan.
“The field mission will further take stock of the outcome of the two phases of the IGAD led High Level Revitalization Forum under the auspices of the regional economic community Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) so far held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2017 and February 2018.
“In addition, the PSC is expected to uniformly voice support for the IGAD peace process. While in Juba and other parts of South Sudan, the PSC will assess the challenges facing the implementation of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) through direct engagement with South Sudanese parties and stakeholders.
“The PSC will further deliver a strong and urgent message to the government of South Sudan on the imperative to accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement. The PSC will reiterate the need for all parties to the conflict to take advantage of the High Level Revitalization Forum as it remains the last chance for peace in the East African country,” the statement read.
The Nigerian mission also said, in totality, the visiting council members hope to engage the government of South Sudan at the highest level to finalize institutional arrangements for the establishment of a Hybrid court; while expressing the readiness of the African Union to take necessary measures to ensure that sustainable peace is achieved in South Sudan, which is Africa’s youngest independent country.