The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the European Union.
LONDON, United Kingdom, July 21, 2017 – The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Union condemn the continuing violence in South Sudan, especially the Government of South Sudan’s current offensive against SPLM-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) forces near Pagak, as well as ongoing road ambushes and attacks by the SPLM-IO. The Pagak offensive is a clear violation of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir on May 22, and calls into question the government’s commitment to reach peace through the National Dialogue, notwithstanding the sincere efforts undertaken by the leaders of the Steering Committee.
The Troika and EU repeat and endorse the June 12 call by the leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for President Kiir to ensure that his forces respect the unilateral ceasefire, for the armed opposition groups to reciprocate the ceasefire, and for all groups to allow the unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need. We also welcome IGAD’s announcement of a High-Level Revitalization Forum for the South Sudan peace process. We call upon IGAD to expeditiously convene the Forum, and to include the current principal parties to the conflict. Likewise, we urge all parties to fully participate in the Forum. The Troika and EU agree with IGAD that the Forum should focus on achieving a ceasefire and resuming political dialogue that focuses on updating the agreement’s timelines and other provisions that are now obsolete in light of the expansion of conflict since 2015.
The proliferation of violence, displacement, and food insecurity renders any discussion of elections in the foreseeable future as an unnecessary diversion from the primary goals of achieving peace and reconciliation. South Sudan’s leaders, neighbors, and regional and international partners must first focus on achieving peace in order to create the conditions needed to hold credible elections. To achieve these urgent goals, we look forward to the prompt revitalization of an inclusive and credible peace process by IGAD; such progress would be required in order for the Troika and EU to commit further resources to institutions designed to implement the agreement.
Today Radio Tumazuj, Upper Nile Times, Nyamilepedia and Sudan Tribune has been blocked by Internet Service Providers in South Sudan. This has been done with provisions done by the South Sudan National Communication Authority. Also the director of South Sudan Broadcasting Company (SSBC) Adil Faris Mayat have been arrested for not properly broadcasting his speech earlier in the month. Clearly, the civil war between rebels and government has gone to a level where the reporting are taken as hostages and under threat. If they don’t comply with the government orders and message.
Certainly, the government cannot handle the reporting of the battles in the different provinces, the different comments and statements made by former SPLM/A personnel, who has fled to opposition forces. Secondly, the current famine and fleeing citizens show’s the lacking governance. Where even reported that villages flee when they hear the government army are coming. Instead, of fleeing when the rebels are coming and they are giving food to rebels. This show’s the concerning state of fights in different parts of South Sudan.
That President Salva Kiir Mayardiit and First Vice-President Gen. Taban Deng-Gai feels more alone, most been seen with the attempt to silence media reporting from the battle-lines. Foreign reports has also been banished and been taken out of service in the recent months for their expression of the current conflict. Clearly, the President and the regime cannot manage reporting on the situation. The lack of control from the Central Government and the problems of their conduct. Must be the reason for doing this. Since they want the message that are made correctly for the vision of the President.
All of the media has now to be gagged and silenced, this is worrying. That they can suspend the Internet Service Providers to see certain media houses and newspapers. Also, can arrest journalists and editors. Like it has done in the past. The SPLM/A has to man-up for their crimes and the violence that has been created, they have done lots of it and the same has the rebels. That is why the National Dialogue is currently useless as SPLM/A-IO under Dr. Riek Machar is not participating, which is run by Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. He is the weapon brother of the South Sudanese President. So surely, that must be reason why SPLM/A-IO and Machar doesn’t trust it.
The same shows the media, who the is there to report on injustice and on the violence, who is not allowed or trusted to do so. Are now gagged and silenced by many. The ISP are directed by the SSBC to not show their content in South Sudan, because of their reverse propaganda against the state. This shows that the state cannot handle reporting or articles critical to their agenda. The civil war is taking a toll on their moral and the need for freedom of expression in South Sudan. Peace.