South Sudan peace partners to punish officers denying access to ceasefire monitors

(JUBA) - The ceasefire monitoring and verification body, CTSAMVM, decided to sanction military officers who refuse to cooperate with the monitoring teams, as several cases have been reported recently.

During its 9th meeting of the technical committee on 20-21 March, the CTSAMVM reported that there were 10 incidents of denial by the SSPDF/NSS and 2 by the SPLM/A-IO.

Already during its 8th meeting, the ceasefire body underscored the denial of access for verification by some government army commanders and pointed to the lack of SSPDF policy on this respect because some Divisions facilitate access and some do not.

In its latest meeting, the CTSAMVM Technical Committee meeting decided that the "Parties take action against those commanders who continue to deny access for force verification," reads the 35-page report of the meeting seen by Sudan Tribune.

The parties further agreed to enforce forces compliance and cooperation with monitoring teams.

In his speech on 26 March before the 5th CTSAMVM Board Meeting, Desta Abiche Ageno, Chairperson of CTSAMVM stressed on the need to cooperate with the monitors saying without this cooperation they cannot fulfil their mission.

"Our ability to monitor, verify and investigate allegations of violations depends on our ability to move and access areas throughout South Sudan," said Ageno.

"Also, the main impediment to conducting verification of forces as required by our mandate has been the consistent denial of access to MVTs," he added.

The chairperson said the ceasefire continues to hold in the country but he pointed out that the Yei River area continues to be of great concern due to the attacks by the National Salvation Front and the government forces.

"It is clear NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo committed a number of attacks and clearly violated the ACOH. The SSPDF in reaction also violated the ACOH by failing to give CTSAMVM prior notification of its movement," he said.

"It is becoming increasingly important to resolve the issue of the NAS forces of Thomas Cirillo and other armed groups operating in Greater Equatoria," he further said.

The Ethiopian general vowed to keep the board members informed about the situation in Yei and "other issues such as growing tensions in Pibor and Wau".

Source: Sudan Tribune

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