Despite considerable efforts by the IGAD mediation and the apparently successful outcome of the Arusha talks between SPLM factions, the agreement signed in Addis Ababa on 2 February between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar has made little significant progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement in South Sudan. The conflict that broke out over a year ago has been a disaster for the people of South Sudan and has put at risk the stability of the entire region. Leaders of all groups and parties should go beyond short-term interests and build on the initial talks to make the necessary compromises for peace, for the benefit of all the people of South Sudan.
It is essential the current negotiations are completed no later than 5 March. The EU supports the IGAD-led process and encourages a closer involvement of the international community. In particular, it supports repeated IGAD and AU warnings that if the two sides continue to violate the ceasefire mechanism or fail to finalise a political agreement, appropriate sanctions will need to be adopted by the international community.
The EU believes that the publication of the Commission of Inquiry’s findings and its recommendations on accountability are necessary to ensure that such violence against civilians cannot be undertaken with impunity. The people of South Sudan and in particular the victims deserve no less, and it will in the long run enable greater accountability and give rise to more robust political stability.