The United States, Britain and Norway have jointly expressed concern over the implementation of the South Sudan peace process and declined to attend a stakeholders meeting called by President Salva Kiir.
The countries, which are the key donors, questioned why there had been no inclusivity of all stakeholders in the talks. They also cautioned about a possible extension of the transitional government.
President Kiir had set the meeting for August 4 in Juba.
“We are writing to you personally to express our profound concerns that fully inclusive consultations must take place with civil society, faith-based groups, business, women’s groups, youth representatives, eminent persons and international partners before the peace agreement is amended,” the three countries said in a joint letter addressed to Mr Kiir.
The South Sudan peace deal was reached with rival Riek Machar in 2018.
Some of the truce provisions have been honoured, including forming a coalition government in February 2020.
There are reports now that President Kiir and First Vice-President Machar propose to extend the transitional period by 32 months since key benchmarks requisites for elections have not been implemented.
But the Troika — US, UK and Norway — say any amendments to the peace agreement provisions require all signatories’ participation.
“The roadmap must demonstrate how another extension would differ from the previous ones, including steps to clear progress in setting up the institutions and mechanisms necessary to hold elections,” they said Wednesday.
According to the September 2018 peace agreement, South Sudan was to hold elections six months —that is, October 2022— before the expiry of the transition period in March 2023.
President Kiir, in an invite dated August 3, called for a meeting on Thursday for the presentation of the roadmap for the implementation of the pending talks in the September 2018 agreement at Juba’s Freedom Hall.
A note verbale by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sent to all embassies, consular missions, and international and regional organisations accredited to South Sudan.
The function was to be presided over by Mr Kiir and attended by Dr Machar, the other four vice-presidents and the political parties signatory to the agreement.