South Sudan’s peace deal ‘is deficient, but we will implement it:’ Dr. Marial Benjamin, S.S. Foreign minister

From The East African, SEPT/13/2015, SSN;

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation tells Fred Oluoch about the challenges of implementing the peace agreement.
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1-QUESTION: President Salva Kiir signed the agreement but still had reservations on 16 points. Was the government signalling that it will not implement the deal?

    The problems started when US President Barack Obama convened a regional leaders’ meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss South Sudan and yet President Kiir was not invited.

    How can regional allies talk about our country without our participation? We were very disappointed with what happened and we thought that if this is the way things are done at the regional and the African Union level, then we must reassert our independence and dignity, while appreciating the assistance we have been getting from our friendly countries.

    2-QUESTION: How then does South Sudan plan to reassert its independence?

The reservations we raised must be addressed or else implementation is going to be very difficult. Some of the things we pointed out had not been discussed and even areas that we had agreed on earlier were not included. There is no country in Africa that can accept an agreement in that form.

When the deal was signed on August 17 in Addis Ababa, we made it clear that the international community was pushing us to sign the deal. We said that we needed to take the document back to our people and consult with our constituents.

Igad and AU gave us 15 days to consult, but seven days later, the US and the UN Security Council started circulating a document for sanctions and arms embargo. So we were wondering who is in charge, is it Igad, AU or the Security Council?

3-QUESTION: Does South Sudan feel let down by Igad?

Yes, we feel let down because of the attitude of the mediators, who had gone beyond their mandate. The mediators were supposed to bring out issues to the two warring sides and then assist them in areas where they disagree.

But instead, they took over the whole process, drafted the agreement behind the backs of stakeholders and then brought the document saying, take it or leave it.

What type of mediation is this? Igad should have waited until the most important partner, which is the government, signs the document first and then witnesses sign later in order to make the document authentic. This is one area where mediators failed. They were not mediating but were just imposing an agreement.

4-QUESTION: After signing the document, how does the government want it corrected?

    Well, we have already signed the document and we are going to the stage of implementation but with reservations. That is why we raised concern over several difficulties that were not discussed by the two parties.

    Those who want to help South Sudan must know the reality on the ground and address our reservations as the chief implementer of the document.

    5-QUESTION: Will the reservations interfere with the time lines that were set in the document?

      Yes, in some cases. For example, President Kiir is named the commander-in-chief of the National Defence Forces of South Sudan, which does not exist in our Constitution, instead of the commander of SPLA.

      The rebel leader is also referred to as the commander of the SPLA in Opposition and sometimes as the commander of South Sudan Armed Opposition. Which exactly is his title? It is just confusing and makes people doubt the authenticity of the document.

      6-QUESTION: Some government officials have suggested that the African Union set up a Somali-type peacekeeping mission to help implement the document instead of leaving it in the hands of the Troika. Comment?

    You can now see how deficient the document is if there are people still suggesting ways of implementation. This is because there are loopholes in the document, which leaves it open to different interpretations. Those are the reservations we were talking about. It is important for the world to understand that South Sudan is a young state still trying to establish democratic institutions.

    In fact, we are more democratic than some of our partners in the region and yet the world keeps on putting pressure on us using threats of sanctions. Yes, we have a crisis we need help with from the international community but we were elected and we have the mandate of our people. We need help instead of being bullied.

    7-QUESTION: Given the issues that are now emerging, what is the way forward for the South Sudan peace process from the government’s perspective?

      Our position is that when we are implementing the document, which we have committed ourselves to by signing, our reservations should not be ignored.

      Even Dr Machar said that he has 20 reservations and yet he did not talk about them before signing. This shows that the document was not adequately discussed by the two parties. END

10 Comments

  1. Good Citizen says:

    I don’t know what kind of reasoning do you people use, why whine, and cry over 16 reservations, yet someone with more than 20 reservations of the same peace agreement keeps his cool, showed statesmanship, and compromised for the sake of his people and nation, what is wrong with you Marial Benjamin ? Why keep on throwing tantrums, convulsions, pig reasoning on peace agreement, and inconsiderate over the lives of your people ?

    There is no perfect agreement but this an opportunity for us South Sudanese to sit down and start soul searching for that which is right, true and moral for the humans of our country. By this time, I expect the government to be talking in apologetic terms to these people of South Sudan who are inflicted with all sorts of suffering. Don’t you have any bits of sympathy to your people.for how long do you want them to continue suffering?
    This agreement has been discussed for over twenty months, do you Marial wish that the discussion should have continued indefinitely ? Is International community foolish enough to put time limit ?
    Please stop throwing tantrums and convulsions like an idiot? We are a laughing stock of international community because of people like you who have no hearts of mercy to humanity. Implement, implement, implement the peace !

  2. Eastern says:

    Oh my! Barnaba Benjamin, my old friend from Uror county is really struggling with steering the diplomatic wagon of Kiir!

    It was the reservations which created a state of stalemate in the peace negotiations where each party did not want to concede hence no progress made leading to the mediators with the help of the international community and UN (bearing the costs of catering for those affected by the conflict) to come up with a formula.

    Barnaba thought that the world will sit idly and watch as the war drags on with the humantarian community continuing to put in their money until the Kingdom comes!

    It’s incomben on Kiir to see to it that the reservations he held at the signing of the agreement not to scuttle the accord. The world will hold him responsible. Any attack on SPLA-Kiir by forces allied to Peter Gadet et al should not be blamed on Dr Riek, Gadet and cohorts have declared to the world that they have broken away from adr Macher’s SPLA-io. The world will hold them responsible for war crime in the nearest future.

    The immediate thing to is set up an independent and internationally supervised ceasefire monitoring mechanism for effective implementation of the signed accord. Demilitarisation of major civilian centres must be undertaken to safeguard lives.

  3. Elhag Paul says:

    In question 5, Marial complains about President Kiir being referred to as commander in chief of National Defence Force of South Sudan and argues this new title does not exist. Of it does, the fact that President Kiir signed the agreement its provisions have come to life and therefore the reality is that SPLA is dead and the army in South Sudan is officially named correctly as National Defence Force of South Sudan. The Jieng war machine has been smashed with a stroke of a pen of non other than the real Jieng himself.

    • Elhag Paul,
      Can you please tell me whether naming or changing the SPLA into SSNDF is the difficult thing to do that might requires foreigners to do it for us when we already know the importance and pride of being an independent country where over two million South Sudanese offers their dear lives to achieve the Sovereignty of this Nation in which some coward folks like you seems to play around with.
      You people need to understand one thing on this race, the indicators of implementing this fake agreement are so doom and risky even deafs and blinds are quite aware of their implications, so why don’t you first wait for the full implementation of US and IGAD pathetic & fake inked document then starts to brags or celebrate your traitorous plan.
      I don’t understand why majority of the refugees who ‘ve fled the very country for decades resorted into celebrations and ululations when they heard about the sell out compromise peace agreement yet the same issue that force you to fled the country to stays in abraod for decades is still within, the war, hunger, cowardness, unpatriotic spirit that has let you leave your ancestors’ land is still exist.
      I don’t think that the hard won country can be easily allowed to be sold in a broad daylight while the owners who ‘ve struggle for its viablity will sit with their hands folded and watch the strangers to intrudes in their sovereignty without smelling the rotten part of their unstudied project.

      • J. Chin Jacob,
        It is because our leaders showed no sense of leadership and care for citizens that is Y we are punished with CPA.
        They talk of senseless war but sponsor it. They talk of reservations instead of compromises. They talk of 1991, one nation one people, unity of the people, elected government, “attempted failed coup or failed attempted coup” (whatever they call it)”….but not economics, employment, justice, education, food security, protection…
        So Mr. J. Chin Jacob why not welcome outsiders compromise if we do not have one? Stop war unwillingly if our leaders do not care? Do n’t u think our failure to solve internal problems including political party disputes invites foreigners with the consequences? Sovereignty comes after life. I am against foreign interference; but S.Sudanese will always welcome foreigners who disguise as life savers. What can you say?

  4. Martin L. says:

    Branaba Benjamin, what is wrong with you people? When will you and president Kiir come to your senses? Don’t you think enough is enough? How many more months and years do you want our people to die? No more talk about those damn reservations!

  5. Lavina Lual says:

    BB-you are the man who deployed only your maternal uncles-Jieng to represent this ocuntry weiredly while on theb other hand calling back all Equatorians diplomats back home from all foreign missions except less than 1%.

    You have followed the foot steps of lam akol who also brought lot of shiluks when he was mof; is it arian jienge culture or because you are have learned bad lessons from dinka that is why you are doing the same…

  6. GatCharwearbol says:

    Did Marial Benjamin tell Museveni that this peace is not sufficient?

  7. My congratulation goes to Marial Dr. who is our Minister for diplomatic affairs. Indeed that is how diplomacy works, the international community must respect the internal and external sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan. Peace does not come in that way of force rather peaceful means. Keep on dear Dr. Marial speaking out sense as you are making it. For those who insult you, it is because of having falling short in diplomacy as a professional career that one can study it.

    • Eastern says:

      Wajaras,

      Now that name means a lot. It’s speaks a lot about your mother but not you!

      To put together the word Sabh Wajaras, would not not make anybody to come close to you! Whoever gave you that name!

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