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February 4, 2019

Opening Remarks at the 8th CTSAMVM Meeting of the Technical Committee

Opening Statement

By

Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno Chairman of CTSAMVM

At
The 8th CTSAMVM Technical Committee Meeting

Juba, February 4th 2019

Excellencies,
CTSAMVM Technical Committee members, Representatives from the Board members, Representatives from the Donor countries and International Community,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. I warmly welcome all of you to the 8th meeting of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee. I again sincerely thank the Donor countries for their continued financial and political support to CTSAMVM. I also want to thank the Party representatives who travelled to Juba to attend this meeting and I note that this is the second meeting to take place in Juba. Again, this represents a significant milestone and shows momentum for progress in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

Since the last meeting, the Permanent Ceasefire is largely holding, and there continue to be encouraging signs of communications and cooperation between the Parties on the ground. We commend the Parties on recent disengagement in Bil Payam and Maridi. On 25 January 2019 CTSAMVM visited Bil Payam and met with the SPLM/A-IO leaders and civil leaders there. The area is calm and the disengagement appears to have been successful. In Maridi in Western Equatoria the SPLM/A-IO has moved to an area agreed with SSPDF 6th Division. The area is 7 km from Maridi and ‘ground rules’ have been agreed to allow both Parties to coexist peacefully. CTSAMVM also recently conducted a joint field visit to Yambio where we met with the acting TGoNU governor and SSPDF and SPLM/A-IO leadership. We are happy to report that the logistic truck was released and received by the SPLA-IO this past Friday.

Unfortunately, the Yei area in Central Equatoria continues to be of concern with continuing clashes between the SSPDF and NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo. Fighting was reported between SSPDF and the NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo on January 20th on the Yei Maridi Road on January 31st and 1st–2nd Feb 2019 at Goja Boma between Kegulu and Umbaci and kediba in amadi state. There are also allegations of offensive military movement against NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo positions by SSPDF in Mukaya County on January 18th resulting in the displacement of many civilians. We continue to urge the office of the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan to resolve the issue of NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo and other armed groups operating in Greater Equatoria and bring them into the revitalized peace agreement. We also urge the government to show restraint and desist from any offensive operations.

Regarding denial of access of the CTSAMVM MVTs, the SPLM/A-IO Division 4B and SSPDF Div 4 are now cooperating with CTSAMVM in their area of responsiblities and the verification tasks are countinuing smoothly. However, you will learn at this meeting of new instances where the SSPDF has denied access to CTSAMVM in conducting its mandate as given in the agreement. On February 1st2019 CTSAMVM team was stopped at SSPDF checkpoint at Kegulu on the Lasu road in the Yei River area. Again we urge the government and all the Parties to allow the CTSAMVM freedom of access to carry out its mandated monitoring and verification tasks.

Regarding disengagement of forces in close proximity, CTSAMVM is concerned about the lack of any formal disengagement in the country besides Bil Payam and Maridi. We are particularly concerned about situation in southern Unity State, especially around Leer and Rubkuay. I hope that we can use the lessons learned from the successful disengagement in the areas of Bentiu and Maridi and apply them throughout South Sudan. Again, we need to continue to give attention to reports of clashes, unauthorized movement of troops, and denial of access and disengagement of forces at the meetings of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee. This is in addition to other critical issues such as Sexual and Gender Based Violence.

As we reported at the last meeting, the budget constraints continue affecting CTSAMVM activities. CTSAMVM is now in critical situation that 2019 budget is not secured and since Nov 2018 the monitors have not paid their allowances. The budget for the National Monitors to cover the costs of insurance and out of pocket expenses has been discussed with the NPTC and we have submitted a budget proposal. We are awaiting the decision of the TGoNU regarding the budget.

At the last meeting I mentioned that we are stillawaiting the results from the TGoNU’s investigationinto the 18 December 2018 incident in Luri in which are members of our Juba MVT were unlawfully detained and abused by personnel from the National Security Service. We are still waiting for this report. We urge the government to complete its report on Luri soon and acknowledge CTSAMVM’s right to freedom of movement and access.

This meeting, is expected to discuss the status of the implementation of the peace agreement, the progress of implementation of 7th CTSAMVM Technical Committee outcomes including the status of the ceasefire and recent violations. You will also receive an update on citizens’ engagement and a briefing on the recent joint field visit to Yambio. I urge all of you to focus on the agenda items and to work together to resolve issues impeding peace and security in South Sudan.

I again thank all the Donor countries and partners for attending this meeting as observers. I wish this meeting produces fruitful deliberations and results. Thank you.

About this author

CTSAMM

CTSAMVM is an institute of the Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed by the Government and SPLM/A-IO in August 2015.