Thursday, May 15, 2014

South Sudan: UN Mission welcomes deal to resolve conflict in long-troubled Pibor

UNMISS peacekeepers patrolling in Pibor, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Photo: UNMISS/Martine Perret.

14 May 2014 – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has welcomed the signing of an agreement between the Government and the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (Cobra Faction) on the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Greater Pibor County, Jonglei state.

In a press statement welcoming the accord, reached in Addis Ababa on 9 May, UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson recalled that just six months ago, prior to the to the current national crisis, Pibor County was the epicentre of instability in South Sudan, and the conflict between the SSDM/A and the Government was the focus of international attention.

“I would like to thank the negotiators as well as the religious leaders for their efforts in stopping the violence, bloodshed and suffering of the citizens of Pibor County” she said, commending the Church Mediation Team for facilitating the deal and congratulating the parties for ensuring that peace and stability has prevailed in Greater Pibor County since their dialogue began last year.

The agreement, Ms. Johnson continued, will lay the foundation of a durable peace for all the people and communities of Pibor and surrounding counties. “I ask them and their leaders to turn this agreement into swift action” she added.

Meanwhile, the Mission stands ready to support the full implementation of the peace agreement and called on all international development and humanitarian partners to provide assistance that will enable the Government and the people of the Greater Pibor County to address the root causes of the longstanding instability, including the delivery of basic services and other peace dividends.

Further to the press statement, Ms. Johnson reaffirmed the Mission's steadfast commitment to the people of South Sudan, and expressed her hope that the Government and the SPLA/In Opposition can follow suit and also reach a peaceful solution to the wider conflict “which continues to cause untold suffering to the people of South Sudan.”

The Pibor agreement comes as a broader accord was signed on 9 May, also in the Ethiopian capital, by South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir, and former Vice President Riek Machar, whose supporters have waged a five-month battle that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians and led to gross human rights violations by both sides. The agreement to resolve the country's wider crisis was welcomed late last week by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.