AU, UN vow further support for South Sudan peace deal implementation

South Sudan's then vice president Riek Machar (left) and President Salva Kiir pay their respects at John Garang's Mausoleum in Juba on the second anniversary of South Sudan becoming an independent state on July 9, 2013. Andrea Campeanu / Reuters

The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have reiterated their continued efforts to support South Sudan in implementing a peace agreement signed last month.

South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir sign deal to end years-long connflict.

The AU and the UN conducted a joint visit to South Sudan on Oct. 7-9, meeting government officials and representatives of women and civil society organizations as well as the media on issues related to the latest South Sudan peace deal.

Briefing the press on the joint visit and its outcome at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday, officials of the two organizations said they are encouraged with the determination of South Sudanese people for the revitalized peace deal.

During the joint visit to South Sudan, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix were accompanied by the executive director for UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and the co-chair of the AU Network of Women Mediators, Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe.

Chergui, the AU commissioner, said they are very much encouraged by the determination and the resilience of the people of South Sudan, and mainly women.

“And the strong message that came throughout these interactions is now that everybody believes in this revitalized peace agreement,” the commissioner said.

“Everybody has now signed and ratified the peace agreement without reservation. The only party that is going to finalize it this week is the former detainees,” Chergui said. “We are hopeful they will also do without any reservation.”

“So, everybody looks to the implementation,” he said.

Underlining the need for the implementation and the peace process to be inclusive, especially for women, the AU commissioner expressed the commitment by the AU and the UN to continue working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the wider international community to make it happen.

For his part, Lacroix, the UN under-secretary-general, expressed readiness to work together and help the people of South Sudan.

South Sudan’s conflict is now entering its fifth year since it erupted in late 2013.

A 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting.

The latest peace agreement was signed in Addis Ababa in September.