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Addis Ababa, 16 February 2024. The African Union (AU) High-Level Ad hoc Committee for South Sudan (C5), chaired by H.E. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, and comprising  Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda and South Africa, convened a Ministerial level consultative meeting on the margins of the 37th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Governments to consider progress and challenges in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), signed in 2018. The ministers exchanged views on ways and means of supporting implementation of outstanding tasks of the Revitalized Agreement in order to create conducive conditions for the successful organization of transparent and credible elections in December 2024 in accordance with the Roadmap of the extended transitional period reached in August 2022.

The meeting was attended by H.E. Ahmed Attaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, People`s Democratic Republic of Algeria, H.E. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chadians Abroad, and International Cooperation of the Republic of Chad, as well as the Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Rwanda.

During its deliberations, the Ad-Hoc High-Level Committee:

1. TOOK NOTE of the briefing by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security on the general situation in South Sudan, progress made on the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, the remaining transitional tasks to be implemented, the challenges and required support; and COMMENDED the Commission for the efforts being deployed in supporting South Sudan;

2. REITERATED that the R-ARCSS remains a pivotal coordination framework for the successful transition in South Sudan and restoration of durable peace, security and stability in the country;

3. ACKNOWLEDGED the steady progress in the implementation of the R-ARCSS; COMMENDED the leadership of the R-TGoNU for their personal commitment and leadership in the implementation of the R-ARCSS and ENCOURAGED them to continue to prioritize dialogue as the only viable means of sustainably addressing their differences and EXPRESSED THE READINESS of the Ad Hoc High-Level Committee to facilitate, where necessary;

4. REAFFIRMED the unwavering commitment of the Ad Hoc High-Level Committee to scale up its support to South Sudan, in order to facilitate the successful implementation of the outstanding provisions of the R-ARCSS and the completion of the transition;

5. UNDERSCORED THE IMPORTANCE of redoubling efforts to mobilize the required resources to enable the National Elections Commission, Political Party Council and the National Constitutional Review Committee to effectively discharge their respective mandates in support of the electoral process, including to support preparation for the development of the election roadmap; and in this regard, REQUESTED AU Commission, to provide technical and logistical support, including through the provision of equipment from the Continental Logistic Base in Douala, Cameroon, to the relevant institutions of the Revitalized Transition Government of South Sudan (R-TGoNU);

6. STRESSED THE URGENT NEED to provide material, logistical, including transport and communication support for the National Elections Commission to facilitate the holding of free, fair, and credible elections;

7. ALSO COMMITTED to exploring possible options for mobilizing support towards the implementation of the transitional security arrangements, including expediting the training and deployment of the Necessary United Forces (NUFs), police and security forces, in order to enable them to effectively carry out their responsibilities of maintaining law and order, as well as safeguarding the country’s national security;

8. TOOK NOTE of the 50,000 of the NUFs, trained, graduated and being deployed, and UNDERSCORED THE IMPORTANCE of mobilizing the required support for the training of the remaining 33,000 soldiers, including the police, in order to ensure that the elections are organized in a safe and security environment;

9. UNDERLINED THE IMPORTANCE of coordinated support for the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), as well as Security Sector reform (SSR) processes, including through the deployment of technical experts to the relevant institutions in South Sudan in pursuit of durable peace, security, and stability of the country;

10. NOTED WITH CONCERN the decreased financial support to the RTGoNU from partners, and UNDERTOOK to engage partners for financial and material support towards successful completion of the transitional period thereby laying the foundation conducive conditions for the organization of elections;

11. EXPRESSED DEEP CONCERN over the dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, which is partly exacerbated by inter-communal violence in parts of the country and the influx of returnees and refugees from the ongoing conflict in Sudan and REQUESTED the AU Commission to explore practical ways and means of mobilizing humanitarian assistance in support of the efforts of the R-TGoNU;

12. REQUESTED the AU Commission to facilitate the airlifting of equipment from the AU Continental Logistics Base in Douala, Cameroun, to Juba in support of the election security management plan;

13. COMMITTED to work closely with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and East African Community (EAC); and

14. DECIDED to undertake a Ministerial visit to South Sudan to express solidarity with the RTGoNU and the people of South Sudan at this critical stage of the transition period.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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