South Sudan : A wind of hope is blowing in Juba.
President Salva Kiir and his main opponent and former vice president, Riek Machar, posted with a smile on September 11, on the forecourt of the presidential palace in Juba. And the handshakes exchanged that day, clearly testify to the progress of peace and the will to accelerate the implementation of the agreement signed on September 12, 2018.
This "revitalized" agreement provides for the creation of a "new unified army" and the formation of a "government of national unity". In a statement to the press, President Salva Kiir and his main opponent Riek Machar declared their readiness to form a unity government on 12 November and to meet that deadline.
Speaking to the diplomatic community on September 12 in Juba, South Sudanese Foreign Minister Awut Deng also praised "the state of mind and relaxed atmosphere" of meetings and the immense progress made "in the implementation of the agreement.
Pointing out that "the quartering and registration of the soldiers has already begun and went very well overall".
IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismaïl Wais, said that "all outstanding issues were discussed: security arrangements, the number of administrative regions, the formation of the government and the spread of the peace agreement is the first in a series of meetings to unblock the process. "
The objective set by IGAD is to have at least 50% of the 83,000 soldiers of the future united army not only cantoned, but also selected, trained and redeployed by the end of September.
"We have learned from the past, there will be a unification of forces, not integration, and these forces will depend on a single chain of command," reassured the IGAD special envoy. Mr. Ismaïl Wais welcomed the recent reconstitution of the Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR).
This important commission is in charge of preparing those, among the soldiers, who have chosen the return to civilian life. And the help comes. Egypt, for example, recently donated tents and uniforms. China, on the other hand, has provided a lot of food aid while others are showing their goodwill, supporting the process, only making promises.
On the ground, the ceasefire seems to hold firm and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is observing a trend towards the return of refugees. In August, 15,944 people returned spontaneously to South Sudan, mostly from neighboring Sudan and Uganda. A total of 209,071 people are reported to have returned from exile in recent months.