UN envoy for South Sudan calls for maintaining peace momentum

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit shakes hands with ex-vice president and former rebel leader Riek Machar during their meeting in Juba, South Sudan September 9, 2019.REUTERS/Jok Solomun

The top UN envoy for South Sudan on Wednesday called for efforts to maintain the momentum of peace in light of an agreement on the formation of a transitional government.

The recent meeting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar in Juba was an important development, David Shearer, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for South Sudan, told the Security Council.

The agreement on the formation of a transitional government is a positive step because it maintains the momentum of peace and bolsters confidence among South Sudanese, said Shearer.

“The formation of the transitional government provides an opportunity to lift our gaze from immediate challenges and look over the horizon toward elections, expected at the end of three years of transition,” he said. “The challenge remains, of course, to show tangible results.”

The peace process remains precarious, but progress is being made, he said. “Maintaining momentum is the absolute key. And that depends very much on the continuing good will of the parties as well as the collective and unrelenting focus of its international friends to support the formation of a transitional government.”

The formation of a transitional government is in line with the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan signed a year ago although the deadline for such a government was postponed by six months — now by Nov. 12.