Bishop of Coventry asks about democratic process in South Sudan

180416 CoventryOn 6th August 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer from Government, in reply to a question about South Sudan:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: HL17388 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the upcoming deadline for forming South Sudan’s Transitional Government, what steps they are taking to encourage the parties and regional powers in that region to (1) unify security forces, and 2) clarify, with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Dr Riek Machar’s freedom to travel back to South Sudan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The British Government remains closely engaged at senior levels with all sides in South Sudan, the region and the wider international community to encourage full implementation of the peace agreement signed on 12 September 2018, including through the work of the UK Special Representative to Sudan and South Sudan. As part of these efforts, the UK recently convened a meeting with regional and international partners to discuss peace agreement implementation, and risks and challenges ahead for the formation of a transitional government in November. We discussed how to secure progress on issues including the reunification of armed forces and ensuring the conditions are in place for opposition leaders to participate in government.

On the reunification of armed forces, we work closely with security implementation bodies in Juba, and fund a security advisor to the ‘Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission’ to support oversight of such work. The return to South Sudan of opposition figures, including Dr Machar, is one part of the formation of a transitional government, and we urge this to happen by the November deadline. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, as guarantors of the peace agreement, declared that Dr Machar is free from travel restrictions in a statement on 7 May. We have urged the region to ensure this message is reinforced, the status of his ability to travel clearly communicated, and no impediments are in place to prevent Dr Machar and others participating in any transitional government in Juba.