The United States is concerned over growing tensions in South Sudan, including recent clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defense Force’s and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement-In Opposition, or SPLM-IO, in Upper Nile state. Former rivals President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Riek Machar have struggled to enforce a peace agreement signed in 2018 to end a five-year civil war.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price called on “both sides to observe fully their obligations under the existing peace agreement.” The SPLM-IO announced its withdrawal from a body overseeing the peace process over "unprovoked" attacks on its bases by its "peace partner.” Spokesperson Price called on the SPLM-IO to immediately reverse this decision. At the same time, he said, “ceasefire monitoring bodies must investigate the recent violence and hold perpetrators responsible.”
The United States calls on President Kiir and First Vice President Machar to de-escalate tensions, resume implementation of key, long-delayed provisions of the revitalized peace agreement, including taking the necessary steps to establish an inclusive process to draft a new constitution, to establish necessary electoral legislation and mechanisms, and to respect the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Regional states and institutions, namely the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, need to take swift action to lower tensions and put the peace process back on track.
“All sides bear responsibility for the deteriorating situation,” declared spokesperson Price. “Neither President Kiir nor First Vice President Machar have made good faith efforts to implement the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement, and both have resisted serious attempts to move South Sudan towards the peace, security, and prosperity the South Sudanese people continue to desire.”
The United States calls on all members of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to take the actions necessary to be seen as credible in the eyes of the South Sudanese people, starting with full adherence to and implementation of the 2018 peace agreement.