S’Sudan’s warring leaders sign final peace deal. Doubts persist
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a much-anticipated peace deal on Wednesday, the latest attempt to end five years of a vicious civil war that’s torn the world’s youngest nation apart.
Seated before a roomful of regional leaders, diplomats and officials convened in the Ethiopian capital, the two men signed a document meant to end a conflict that began in 2013 and quickly spiralled into a regional crisis.
Hopes were high that the agreement, the details of which were not announced, will end the war which has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, pushed millions to the brink of starvation and scattered refugees across East Africa.
“The eyes of the world are upon us as the South Sudan leaders commit today to press for reconciliation and lasting peace in their country,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the start of a brief but delayed closed-door meeting after which Kiir and Machar emerged to sign the document.
The last peace pact collapsed in July 2016 during days of fighting in the capital Juba that forced Machar to flee for his life.
Speaking prior to the agreement’s signing, David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, sounded a note of caution.
“With the signing of this revitalised agreement, we should publicly acknowledge it is but one step on the road to peace, but one which lays the foundation for all that follows,” he said.
Read also: World’s highest! 2.4 million children out of school in South Sudan
His fears were echoed by Britain’s Chris Trott, who spoke for the Troika bloc that also includes Norway and the United States and provides key funding to the peace process.
“We remain concerned about the parties’ level of commitment to this agreement,” he said, citing recent fighting in the northwestern city of Wau and the deaths of 13 aid workers in South Sudan this year alone.
Algeria, Sierra Leone get non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
Algeria and Sierra Leone, have been elected as non-permanent members of the the United Nations’ Security Council for 2024-2025.
The two countries are part of the ten countries elected for two years in the Council outside the five power bloc countries— the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.
The countries replace Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates and will join Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland who were elected last year.
For Sierra Leone, it’s a return to the council after 53 years. Its Foreign Minister, David Francis said it was “a great day for this small, progressive and confident country…which has successfully transitioned from war to peace.”
Guyana and South Korea were also elected unchallenged while Slovenia handily beat Belarus for the only contested seat.
An official of rights agency, Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau remarked that “the vote in the General Assembly shows why a competition for UN elections is essential” after Slovenia edged Belarus for the seat going to Eastern Europe and obtained 153 votes, against 38 in Belarus.
“UN member states have undoubtedly decided that Belarus’ grave human rights violations at home and attempts to cover up Russian atrocities in Ukraine disqualify it from serving on the Security Council, a crucial body for ensuring human rights. humans,” he added.
Algeria got 184 votes, South Korea 180 votes, Sierra Leone 188 votes and Guyana 191 in a single candidate votes for four seat reserved for Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean.
There has been a long debate about the place of Africa in international relations. At the inception of the United Nations, only four independent African countries represented the continent when 50 representatives of different countries met in San Francisco, California, in 1945 to complete the Charter of the United Nations.
South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.
The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.
Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.
Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.
“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.
“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.
“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.
“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.
In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”
The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.
“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.
“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”
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