Friday, February 28, 2020

South Sudan Transition Will Be Under Watchful Eye, Says Washington
South Sudan's FVP Machar swearing in as his wife stands besides him on 22 Feb 2020 (SSPPU

February 27, 2020

(JUBA) - The U.S. will adopt a wait-and-see approach towards the South Sudan transitional national unity government, hoping that cooperation between the parties will bring Washington to support them.

In an anonymous briefing, a senior State Department official told journalists by telephone on Wednesday that his administration will watch how President Salva Kiir and his FVP Riek Mach will behave during the 36-month transition which witnesses the implementation of political and economic reforms before to hold general elections.

"So everyone’s looking to see: Will this new unity government work? Will it remain an inclusive and unified government? What will their work habits be? And really, what I – the main take is if it works, if the parties work collaboratively, it has a chance of working. If they continue to be competitors within this government, it’s – it has a lot less chance of working," said the official.

"So a collaborative approach is what we’re looking for. We’re looking for signs of that collaboration, attitudinal changes," he further stressed.

Kiir and Machar delayed twice the formation of the transitional national unity government due to the failure to implement the pre-transitional measures particularly security arrangements and the number of states.

However, the two leaders have made major concessions that led them to form the national unity government on 22 February: Kiir accepted the re-establish the 10 states while Machar returned to Juba without his army as Kiir’s bodyguards are protecting him.

The State Department official pointed out that there is still uncertainty in the relationship between the two leaders. He further underscored they will keep watching their behaviours in different areas.

"Are they taking responsible decisions that are focused on the needs of their people, or are they taking self-interested decisions based on their own kind of political needs or their needs for power or corrupt finances?" He said before to add more interrogations "Will this new unity government work? Will it remain an inclusive and unified government? What will their work habits be?"

He stressed that they will keep watching the transitional government looking for signs of collaboration between the main partners and "attitudinal changes".

Nonetheless; the official admitted that up to now the two sides have made considerable concessions and showed the needed goodwill

"But really, collaboration is the word of the day there, I think. It was a compromise leading up to this. The parties had to compromise to get here, but they’ve done that," he said.

He expressed hope that in the future they will demonstrate with more "signs that this is different than before," as he said.

We hope "there are assertions by all parties that it’s different this time, assertions which have to be tested and watched very carefully," he stressed.

In a statement released on 25 February, the International Crisis Group (ICG) went in the same direction and described the concessions made by the two leaders as "A major step toward ending South Sudan’s civil war".

The groups said the two sides will no doubt be focused for days, weeks or even more to discuss over government positions. But despite all the shortcomings encountered, the think tank stressed that there is a willingness to work together this time.

" The magnitude of the compromises they have made suggest that both Kiir and Machar are more willing participants in this unity government than in the last failed one," ICG said.


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