Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1186th meeting held on 16 November 2023 on Briefing on the Situation in South Sudan:

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling its previous decisions and pronouncements on the situation in South Sudan, particularly, Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1141 (2023)], adopted at its 1141st meeting held on 28 February 2023 through which the PSC adopted the Report of its field mission to South Sudan, which was conducted from 22 to 25 February 2023; and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.1092 (2022)] adopted at its 1092nd meeting held on 11 July 2022;

Mindful of the impending end of the transition at the end of December 2024 and reiterating the commitment of the AU as a guarantor of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS), signed on 12 September 2018; and determined to ensure its successful implementation;

Reaffirming the solidarity of the AU with the people and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan in their legitimate aspirations to restore durable peace, security, stability and development in their country, and by extension, Africa as a whole;

Acknowledging that the successful implementation of the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS), in its letter and spirit, is key to ending the current situation in South Sudan;

Noting the introductory remarks by H.E. Ambassador Abdi Mahamoud Eybe, the Permanent Rpresentative of the Republic of Djibouti to the African Union (AU) and Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) for November 2023, and the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan and Head of AU Liaison Office in Juba, H.E. Ambassador Professor Joram Mukama Biswaro; also noting the statements by the Acting Charge dÁffairs of the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in Addis Ababa, H.E. Ambassador David Dang Kong; by the representative of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD);  by the Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Major General (Rtd) Charles Gituai; and by H.E. Mr. Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for South Sudan and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Ambassador Edward Makaya, in the capacity of the Chairperson of the  of the AU Adhoc Committee for South Sudan (C-5); and the statements also made by the  other representatives of the C-5, including Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda; 

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Commends H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny for their dedication to peace and for the commitment to prevent their country from returning to war; and encourages them to continue to pursue dialogue and compromise in addressing any differences they may have;

2. Also commends the Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) for maintaining relative peace and stability in the country, and for recently passing the National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment Bill) 2023, in addition to other legislation  with a view to facilitating the successful implementation of remaining aspects of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS); further commends the R-TGoNU for the recent important milestones including the ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol),  the drafting of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH), the Compensation and Reparations Authority (CRA) Bills, the reconstitution of the Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as  the passing of the National Elections Act; and reiterates the need for the RTGoNU to continue working with the AU Commission, to initiate efforts towards the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan;

3. Welcomes the appointment of the leadership of the three institutions, namely: the National Elections Commission  (NEC); the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) and the Political Parties Council (PPC), which paves the way to begin the constitutional and electoral processes and underscores the importance of expeditiously operationalizing these bodies, including availing them with the required resources to ensure that they effectively discharge their respective mandates;

4. Underscores the need for the expedited deployment of the graduated necessary unified forces (NUF), as well as  the need to start the training of the second batch to ensure security and protection of civilians in the country, and in this regard reiterates the call for the lifting of sanctions and the arms embargoes, in order to enable the RTGoNU to successfully implement Chapter 2 of the RARCSS relating to transitional security arrangements;

5. Encourages RTGONU to redouble efforts and commitment to implement the outstanding transitional tasks within the remaining timelines of the Transitional Roadmap; mainstream active and more meangful participation of women and the youth, in this regard and, in the same context, to expedite the establishment of the Board for Special Reconstruction Fund (BSRF), so that the AU Chairperson, the UN Secretary-General and IGAD Chair, working in coordination with the RTGoNU, can successfully organize the South Sudan Pledging Conference as provided for in Chapter 3.2.8. of the Peace Agreement;

6. Emphasizes the urgent need for implementation of the transitional security arrangements, including the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) and Security Sector Reform programmes, among others, with a view to also addressing the scourge of proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, and, in thie context commends the AU Commission for deploying the DDR/SSR Expert to the AU Mission in South Sudan (AUMISS);

7. Stresses the need for redoubled efforts in mobilizing adequate resources to facilitate the work of the CTSAMVM in the effective monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and compliance with peace and security initiatives in the country;

8. While encouraging the RTGoNU to honour its pledges towards financial contribution for the implementation of the RARCSS, appeals for sustained international support to  the efforts of the RTGoNU including in addressing the dire humanitarian challenges, which has been exacerbated by the influx of refugees from the war in Sudan;

9. Appeals to the concerned members of the international community to urgently review the punitive measures imposed against South Sudan, including the economic sanctions and arms embargoes, with a view to creating a facilitating environment for the RTGoNU to fully implement the outstanding transitional tasks; 

10. Commends the RTGONU for its mediation efforts in the ongoing war in Sudan through the IGAD, AU and UN frameworks towards  the realization of a peaceful solution to the conflict;

11. Reiterates the call for the visit of the AUC Chairperson, to engage the government officials, partners and civil society actors to review progress, as well encourage the key stakeholders to ensure early preparations for peaceful conduct of elections;

12. Also commends the members of the African Union Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan for dsiplaying the pan-African spirit and commitment to continue accompanying South Sudan in the implementation of the RARCSS and looks forward to the successful organization of the Ministerial level meeting of the Committee and, subsequently, its planned  solidarity to South Sudan;

13. Strongly urges all hold-out movements, including the parties to the Rome peace talks to urgently resume negotiations, bearing in mind the limited time available before the end of the Transition and futher encouraged the Santa Gidio to sustain the negotiations in order to end conflict in South Sudan;

14. Commends IGAD for its unwavering oversight role in the implementation of the R-ARCSS and encourages IGAD to convene a Summit which should discussed, amongst others, modalities towards supporting the Parties to the RACRSS to overcome challenges in the implementation of the roadmap with an objective to identify areas requiring regional, continental, and international intervention;

15. Also commends the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) for its sterling efforts and commitment in assisting the parties to the agreement to fulfill their obligations within the context of the R-ARCSS and calls on the parties to the Agreement to fully cooperate with the RJMEC aim its noble pursuit to ensure a successful implementation of the agreement;

16. Notes with deep appreciation, the commitment and sacrifice of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on being a reliable partner for peace for the people of South Sudan, and further encourages the Trilateral Mechanism to sustain its support to the Joint task Force in order to ensure adequate support to the constitution making and electorol process; in this context, requests the Trilateral Mechanism to jointly report on its work to Council in February 2024;

17. Expresses appreciation to the “The Juba Quartet” - the heads of AUMISS, UNMISS, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, and the Interim Chairperson of RJMEC - for their Good Offices interventions in disputes among the Parties to the RARCSS; and encourages them to continue their work until the successful completion of the traisition process;

18. Also urges the political parties and independent candidates who intend to contest for different offices and positions for upcoming elections to negotiate a code of conduct and sign it with full authority to commit themselves to fairness, respect, accountability and acceptability to South Sudan regardless of appointments or results of the elections;

19. In view of the impending end of the Transition, underscores the need for regular briefings on the state of progress in the implementationof the outstanding transitional tasks and, in this regard, reiterates the decision to undertake a solidarity field mission to South Sudan during the first quarter of 2024;

20. Further commends the Special Represantative of the Chairperson of the Commission for South Sudan, H.E. Ambassador Professor Joram Mukama Biswaro for his unwavering personal commitment to continue to discharge his duties; and assures him  and the entire Team at the  AU Liaison Ofice in Juba, of the continued support of Council;  and

21. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter. 

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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Peace and Security council