S.Sudan leader urges unity on independence anniversary

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 7/10/2024 5:03:08 AM

South Sudan's leader Salva Kiir urged unity on the anniversary of the independence of the conflict riven young nation, saying there had been progress on a long-delayed peace agreement.

The world's newest country is still plagued by violence and political infighting since achieving independence from Sudan in 2011.

A peace agreement six years ago ended a 2013-2018 civil war between Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, but key provisions are still unfulfilled and transition timelines repeatedly delayed.

Kiir said the country must honour those who had lost their lives for independence by coming together, to "learn from our mistakes and join hands to rebuild South Sudan."

He described the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement as a "difficult journey", but said "most of the critical outstanding issues have been implemented," in a statement issued late Tuesday.

His government would work with regional bloc IGAD and partners to "fully implement the remaining provisions", he said.

However, the statement did not mention national elections due to be held in December.

The international community has grown increasingly exasperated warning that many of the provisions of the agreement required to hold elections remain unfulfilled.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged parties in April to take "urgent steps" for the ballot to proceed, while the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) warned of a lack in necessary "technical, legal and operational expertise" for polls.

Britain, Norway and the United States in June urged political parties to work together to avoid a "consequential" delay.

Kiir also said the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo was threatening regional peace and stability, while urging an end to Sudan's civil war.

"It is no secret that the war in Sudan has negatively contributed to the decline in South Sudan oil production and have negatively affected our economy," he said.

Inflation has soared in South Sudan -- which relies on crude oil exports for some 90 percent of its GDP -- after a key Sudanese pipeline transporting oil from the nation was ruptured in February.

One of the poorest countries on the planet despite its large oil reserves, South Sudan has spent almost half of its life as a nation at war.

Some 400,000 people died and millions were displaced in the civil war before Kiir and Machar signed the 2018 peace deal and formed the unity government.

Since then, the country has battled flooding, hunger, violence and political bickering as the promises of the peace agreement have failed to materialise.

Shining BD