South Sudan peace monitors urge Kiir to stop pursuing Machar

 (1 Aug.)

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), a body tasked with overseeing implementation of the signed peace accord in South Sudan, urged the two warring parties to stop military operations urgently and return to negotiations.

This came during a meeting of the oversight body in Khartoum on Sunday, during which Chinese, US, Norwegian and the European Union envoys were present.

Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that the meeting called on President Salva Kiir to stop chasing opposition leader Riek Machar and his forces and stop fighting.

The Sudanese minister further said the meeting also called for aid deliveries to the conflict-affected people and put the peace deal back to its normal course. Ghandour noted that they also discussed security arrangements and all issues related to power and wealth.

Meanwhile, Zhong Jianhua, Chinese envoy to Africa, expressed his concern about the going political unrest in South Sudan. He called for international cooperation to stop fighting and exert joint efforts to halt the bloodshed and push both sides to end the fighting and begin negotiations.

Fighting broke out on 8 July between the South Sudanese army and troops of the opposition leader Riek Machar in Juba.

Last week, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit appointed former opposition chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai to replace Machar who disappeared following the bloody events in the capital.

The opposition described the President’s move as a “conspiracy” to remove Machar, vowing to escalate the war against Kiir.

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