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SSudan Peace Signatories Urge Troop Deployments

FILE - Military trainees parade during the visit of the defense minister to a military training center in Owiny Ki-Bul, Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan on June 27, 2020.

The chairperson of the South Sudanese body monitoring the country's implementation of the 2018 peace deal on Thursday urged the Joint Defense Board (JDB) to deploy troops who graduated in August.

Speaking at a meeting of the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), Lieutenant General Asrat Denero Amad said more than 50,000 unified forces have graduated from various cantonment site across South Sudan.

“CTSAMVM urged the JDB to provide the deployment plan of the graduated forces and further urges the JTSC [Joint Transitional Security Committee] to provide a plan for phase two training as well as the future plan for cantonment sites,” Amad said.

Per the 2018 revitalized peace agreement that saw President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar form a unity government, South Sudan is to train and graduate 83,000 police, army, intelligence services and prison services from the parties to take charge of security in major towns during the ongoing transitional period.

Representatives of the parties that signed the agreement in the body monitoring South Sudan’s permanent ceasefire are calling on political leaders to speed up the deployment of the unified forces to prevent intercommunal clashes and deadly cattle raids.

Major General Chuol Ruey, who represents the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition, at the meeting said the timely deployment of the unified forces could build confidence among the former warring parties.

"We hope the preparations for the deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces that graduated will be done accordingly. This will also give us hope to have a better settlement where we would be able to think of the developmental agenda instead of pursuing resolving conflict here in South Sudan" he said.

Major General Bior Leek Kuareng, who represents a group known as Former Detainees, says the unified forces should be deployed in Upper Nile, Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area to end the ongoing deadly tribal violence.

"We cannot wait for the second batch to be graduated. We do not know how long it is going to take, maybe six months or one year because the intercommunal fighting or cattle raiding in these three states is very alarming," Kuareng said.

Amad says he is concerned about reports of recent clashes between government forces and National Salvation Front rebels.

He appealed to the government and holdout groups to resume the Rome peace talks aimed at resolving their differences.

Early this month, Kiir suspended talks with holdout rebel groups saying the groups have continued to destabilize the country and his government will only resume the talks when the rebel groups agree to engage in "genuine peace" negotiations.

The rebel National Salvation Front and South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance denied Kiir’s accusation, arguing that government has no interest in peaceful resolution.