War in South Sudan led the UN to declare 100,000 people are suffering famine, with a further 5.5 million at risk. This special briefing urges the country to work harder to establish parameters for a ceasefire. At the same time, humanitarian corridors from Sudan should be kept open and donors must fully fund the UN aid appeal.
Originally published in Daily Monitor
Originally published in Sudan Tribune
In response to U.S. postponement of decision on whether to lift sanctions on Sudan (see Sudan), Sudan late July supported S Sudanese rebels, Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), to launch attacks from Sudan against govt forces in northern Unity oil field. Despite govt’s unilateral ceasefire declared in May, govt forces negotiated and fought with SPLA-IO near Pagak, SPLA-IO’s former HQ, in north east during July to secure area for oil refinery project with Ethiopia. SPLA-IO 30 July near DRC border clashed with group who defected from it to join opposing rebel group, National Salvation Front. Troika members (U.S., UK and Norway) and EU 20 July denounced attacks by opposition and govt forces’ “clear violation” of ceasefire. National Dialogue Steering Committee (NDSC) delegation early July went to South Africa to meet rebel leader Riek Machar and invite his input in National Dialogue design. NDSC 3 July said Machar declined to meet. President Kiir 10 July earmarked 2.4bn S Sudanese pounds for NDSC activities.
China, traditionally averse to intervening abroad, is testing the role of peacebuilder in South Sudan, where it has unique leverage. This could portend a growing global security role, but further Chinese engagement will likely be tempered by self-interest, capacity constraints and aversion to risk.
President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan reached a milestone with the formation of a transitional government in Juba in April. Yet fault lines like those in the Equatorias remain outstanding. A committed, inclusive political response is vital to stop low-level conflicts continuing indefinitely.
Talks led by East Africa’s IGAD offer the best chance to end South Sudan’s spreading war. International partners must put aside their disillusionment and rally to the regional body’s new IGAD-PLUS mechanism to help mediators reach a deal.
[There is] a much more chaotic situation on the ground [of South Sudan] than, let's say, two years ago, when [there was] one government, one armed opposition.
From the war's outset the UN never tried to maintain a death toll [in South Sudan]. Guesses vary from 50,000 up to 300,000. It demonstrates a shocking lack of humanity that no one has tried to establish the scale of violence.
The over-focus on a new peacekeeping mandate at the expense of political developments in the country [South Sudan] reflects international disunity and a lack of political strategy.
We need some kind of political solution to this conflict, and this resolution doesn’t do that.
It's time for real talk because while the diplomats are playing games, it will be the South Sudanese who are dying
It [South Sudan's peace agreement] halted the fighting, created a framework for reform, transitional justice and elections and prevented regional powers being further sucked into South Sudan's war
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Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.
International actors are struggling to respond to the evolving situation in South Sudan, meanwhile regional actors are busy creating facts on the ground.