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'Tough sanctions await perpetrators of trouble in South Sudan'

Security - The African Union (AU) has declared its determination to hold accountable those responsible for the reported skirmishes in South Sudan after the parties signed an agreement to cease hostilities.

In statement, the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) expressed concern at the new developments in the country and urged the parties to “faithfully and fully abide by their commitments” to effectively end hostilities and hostile propaganda.

PSC also demanded that the parties ensure protection of civilians and humanitarian access, and tasked the AU Inquiry Commission that any violation of commitments be fully documented to ensure accountability and the fight against impunity.

The parties were further told to fully cooperate with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) towards the early launch of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) provided for in the Addis Ababa Agreement of 23 January, 2014, on the Cessation of Hostilities.

The Council reaffirms AU’s principled position on the total rejection of unconstitutional changes of Government, in line with the AU Constitutive Act, as well as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

It strongly condemned the attacks on civilians, including the targeting of ethnic groups and specific communities, and the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

It underlined the importance of the commitment made by the parties to an all-inclusive dialogue and reconciliation process to resolve the issues connected with the current crisis and lay the foundation for lasting peace, security and stability in their country.

The PSC also stressed the need for such a dialogue, building on the relevant provisions of the Agreement on the Status of Detainees and AU’s earlier pronouncements on the principles of inclusivity, comprehensiveness, a strong sense of patriotism and the overall interest of South Sudan and its people.

The objective is to build a viable state and a new sense of South Sudanese nationhood, the Council said, while requesting the AU Commission to fully support this process, especially  through the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

Pana 02/02/2014