Saturday, August 29, 2015

South Sudan President Declares Permanent Ceasefire
August 28, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has issued an executive order announcing permanent ceasefire with rebels with effect from midnight of 29 August in accordance with the 72 hours deadline after signing the peace agreement on 26 August.

He ordered the army to stop military activities in the entire country against armed forces loyal to Riek Machar, his former deputy in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and government.

President Kiir, according to the broadcast by the state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Thursday evening, directed the minister of defense, Kuol Manyang Juuk, and the chief of general staff, Paul Malong Awan, of the government forces to ensure the ceasefire takes effect on that day and to work with the other stakeholders to provide an effective monitoring mechanism to put into action measures which should be observed by all involved parties.

Rebels however said government forces were on offensive against their defense positions, with fighting taking place on Friday at Tayar port in Unity state, allegedly in an attempt by the government to capture more territories before the ceasefire comes into effect.

Observers have expressed doubts whether the two sides would respect the terms of the deal they have signed, apparently to avoid threats of sanctions hovering over them by the international community.

President Kiir himself raised serious reservations at the signing ceremony attended by regional leaders. Government officials have also issued statements attempting to portray the other to have launched attacks in violation of the agreement.

Several ceasefires have been declared in the past months of more than 20 months of the conflict but none have held and analysts said the latest move could go the same way.

"The declaration is positive step on the part of the president. We are waiting to see the same replicated by the rebels. We cannot say they will not respect it and we cannot say they will respect it. We are waiting to see what they will have to do,” Peter Ajak Deng, an activist from the war ravaged state of Jonglei state told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

“Whatever step they will take will indicate their seriousness of their commitment to implementing the agreement. It is not by words or the signature they have put on the pages,” he said.

He said it was an unconditional ceasefire but claimed that the details showed it was a conditional ceasefire. He was doubtful that the the two groups would be willing to comply.

"We are far away from establishing that the ceasefire is going to improve the security of the people," he said. There have been several ceasefire declarations during the course of this conflict – and none of them have made any difference for ordinary people. “The people of this country remain at the mercy of armed groups, bandits, and elements of armed forces from the both rival groups,” he further observed.

Government’s chief of general staff, Paul Malong, has openly opposed to the peace deal signed by his commander-in-chief with sources saying he could be behind the continued alleged attacks against the rebels.

The armed opposition faction is yet to declare a permanent ceasefire.


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