UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the return of Riek Machar to the South Sudanese capital of Juba and his swearing in as the First Vice-President of South Sudan, calling it a “new phase” in the implementation of the peace agreement.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Ban also called for the immediate formation of the transitional government of national unity.
“He commends the efforts of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson, former President Festus Mogae, and the African Union (AU) High Representative, former President Alpha Oumar Konaré,” the statement from UN News Centre said.
The UN chief also called on the Security Council to work closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the AU Peace and Security Council to mobilise the required support for the peace process.
Meanwhile, US has called on the parties to form the long-awaited unity government soon.
In a press briefing in Washington DC on Tuesday, US State Department deputy spokesperson, Mark Toner, said the US also welcomed the statements from President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Machar during the occasion.
“The return of Riek Machar to Juba and his swearing-in as first vice president [Tuesday] represents an important step towards formation of a transitional government of national unity and a second chance to reclaim the promise that this young nation deserves. We welcome the statements by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar calling for cooperation, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence,” Toner said
“South Sudan’s leaders now need to complete formation of the transitional government, fully respect the permanent ceasefire agreement, facilitate humanitarian access to all areas of the country, and begin implementing the reform agenda of the peace agreement according to the timeline established by the parties,” he added.
US expressed appreciation to the chairperson of the JMEC president Mogae, the African Union (AU), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and the member-states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for their efforts to support the implementation of the August peace agreement.
Toner said the U.S. government had already provided $1.5 billion in emergency assistance since the conflict began in December 2013, adding that as soon as the transitional unity government is formed by the parties, the US is likely to provide more assistance towards humanitarian intervention.
He however said forming a transitional government will not make the situation easy unless there is commitment by the parties.
“Forming the transitional government is not going to be easy, but it is the best hope for the people of South Sudan achieving peace. We’ll – we’re going to work closely with them on the reforms.”
He affirmed that the US government will assist in laying the groundwork for Truth and Reconciliation Commission and establish the parameters for a hybrid court in collaboration with the African Union as well as increase accountability in terms of South Sudan’s economic governance.