JUBA – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit is saying that the United Nations arms embargo imposed by the world mission in July 2018, is delaying the graduation of the unified forces, according to a senior Sudanese government official.
Kiir and his first deputy, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement in September 2018, ending six years of protracted conflict that has mostly been fought along ethnic affiliations.
The peace agreement provided for the reunification of the rival forces, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO), in hope to build the country’s first professional national army.
That process is to be preceded by training of those forces in cantonment and training centres.
Since the beginning of 2019, rival forces have been reporting to training centres for training.
However, no graduation has been made, owing to lack of political will from the parties to fully implement the security arrangements as provided for in the agreement, and due to lack of food, medicine and other essentials, peace monitors have reported that soldiers were leaving those training centres.
Speaking following a meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday in Juba, the deputy chairperson of Sudan’s Sovereign Council General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo who is better known as Hemeti, said he discussed with the president the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
“We discussed the South Sudan peace process because we are guarantors of the agreement. We spoke to the president and we discussed about how the agreement is going to be implemented given the delay in the graduation of forces,” Daglo said.
He said they have understood from teh president that the current arms embargo imposed by the United Nations in 2018 is affecting the country, and that the forces could not be graduated because of the arms embargo.
“The president explained to us why the graduation of forces is delayed. The president told us that one of the first things delaying the graduation of forces is of course the [lack of] weapons. The forces do not have weapons and of course the state of South Sudan is banned from importing weapons,” Daglo said.
“So this is the main problem that is facing us in the graduation of forces. These forces cannot be graduated because there is no weapons, guns and the country is banned from importing weapons,” he added.
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