Minister for Africa Rory Stewarts sets out UK support for peace in South Sudan
On Monday 18 December the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will convene the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (the Agreement). The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) have made clear that the HLRF is a unique and critical opportunity to make progress towards peace. The humanitarian, economic, security, human rights and political situation continues to deteriorate with devastating consequences for the people of South Sudan. Over half the population now lack enough food to feed themselves and a third of the population have fled their homes, causing the largest refugee crisis in Africa. This situation is intolerable to the region and the international community. It cannot continue.
The region and the international community have repeatedly called for all parties to the conflict to participate in the HLRF constructively and in a spirit of compromise and inclusion. The members of the Troika fully expect the Government of South Sudan to adhere to its repeated public and private commitments to participate in the HLRF in good faith, and with the immediate goal of stopping the fighting. Although it is a member of IGAD, the Government is also a party to the conflict. To achieve a sustainable peace, no party to the conflict can have undue influence or a veto on the process, including the Government. The opposition also bears responsibility for coming to the table without preconditions. All parties must engage sincerely and make concessions in the national interest; otherwise, the conflict and suffering will continue.
The Troika fully supports IGAD’s continuing effort to build peace and, in particular, the tireless work undertaken by IGAD Special Envoy Ismail Wais to bring the parties together. The Troika views the HLRF as the essential, inclusive forum to advance peace; other efforts and fora must support the HLRF or risk diverting attention and focus, and delaying progress. IGAD’s ability to solve this crisis depends on unity of purpose amongst its members, and we urge the IGAD countries to speak with one voice. As the Troika has previously stated, the HLRF and its outcome must be genuinely inclusive and reflect the political reality of South Sudan today. The Troika reiterates its intent to stand with IGAD in its efforts to make progress toward peace and effective implementation of the Agreement, and its readiness to take action against those who obstruct the process.