AU COMMISSION COMMENDS SOUTH SUDAN’S DECISION ON DEPLOYMENT OF RPF

ADDIS ABABA, -- The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zumam has welcomed the decision by the government of South Sudan to agree to the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) in that conflict-torn country, without insisting on conditions it previously attached.

The agreement was reached between the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) of South Sudan and the United Nations on all outstanding issues concerning the deployment of the RPF after months of hesitation over whether to allow extra foreign troops on its soil or not.

South Sudan's Deputy Information Minister, Akol Paul Kordit, said last Friday that the Cabinet had resolved unanimously to allow the deployment of the Regional Protection Force "any time from now, according to state media reports in South Sudan.

South Sudan had been under international pressure to accept the force, which will help the existing UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) stabilise the five-year-old nation, where civil conflict erupted in December 2013 and a peace deal in 2015 failed to stick.

Dlamini-Zuma underscored the fact that the RPF will create a conducive political environment for the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) of August 2015.

In this regard, she urged all South Sudanese stakeholders to fully co-operate with the RPF and desist from engaging in activities that may set back the progress made.

The UNMISS has a 16,000-strong force in the country. In the wake of the July clashes which broke out between rebel army factions in the capital as the African nation marked its fifth independence anniversary forcing former first vice-president Riek Machar to flee Juba, the UN Security Council authorised the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops.

The violence was reminiscent of the skirmishes between the factions of South Sudanese soldiers in 2013 which plunged the newly independent country into a civil war. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million forced out from their homes since the conflict broke out in December 2013 pushing the nation to the brink of famine.

Dlamini-Zuma also requested the (TGoNU), working with the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), chaired by former Botswana president Festus Mogae, to ensure scrupulous adherence to the transitional security arrangements.

Source: Nam News Network

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