You gather once again to discuss a great human tragedy at the heart of your beautiful region. As you discuss the challenging high-level political, economic and security issues on the table today, it is crucial to keep the ordinary men, women and children of South Sudan at the forefront of your minds. It is to them that we are all accountable and for them that you must make progress.
The Troika expresses its sincere appreciation to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development for its leadership and activism in making a Revitalisation Process possible. We firmly believe that the initiative you have taken to revitalise the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan is the best chance of advancing the difficult steps towards peace. We commend the Council of Ministers for your personal activism and engagement and for creating an inclusive process. We would also like to pay particular tribute to the tireless work of IGAD Special Envoy Ambassador Ismail Wais and his team.
We have been clear in recent public statements and in the UN Security Council that the success of this Forum depends on IGAD’s unity of purpose. If you stand united and strong, you can deliver a historic step forward for South Sudan and its people.
As well as unity, IGAD’s neutrality in this effort must be unquestionable. As a trusted broker of dialogue, IGAD must represent the interests and concerns of all stakeholders. No one party can have veto power over the process, and all parties must participate in good faith and without preconditions. The rules must be no different for the Government of South Sudan, whose primary role in the HLRF process is as a party to the conflict.
Delivering a long-term path to peace for South Sudan is a challenging and generational task. The challenge for you as leaders of the Revitalization Forum is to prioritise and focus your attention on what must happen first. The Troika has been clear in our view that the absolute priorities must be, first, a negotiated, sustainable, and monitored halt to violence and unimpeded access for humanitarian actors; a plan to broaden inclusion; and the amendment of key elements of the ARCSS to reflect the current political and security challenges facing the country.
The Revitalization Forum must produce a clear outline of costs and consequences for those who would violate the agreement or work against peace. Council of Ministers, the longstanding political, financial, and social links between your countries provide you with many of the levers required to deliver this enforcement effectively. The international community looks to you for leadership, but has also begun to use its own tools to identify and sanction those who oppose peace or profit from war or corruption in South Sudan. Be assured that the Troika stands ready work with you to use all the levers at our disposal to support your efforts.
To the Government of South Sudan, we expect you to fulfil your commitment to participate constructively in this vital opportunity to deliver the peace and prosperity that you owe to your people. The Troika and the wider international community stand firmly behind statements by your IGAD counterparts, the African Union, and the Security Council that this is the last chance for the implementation of the peace agreement. We want to see peace in South Sudan and to continue to support its progress in becoming a strong and prosperous independent nation.