On Thursday 6 February the three Troika Envoys for South Sudan met in London. The UK Special Representative for the Sudans, Bob Fairweather and the Norwegian Special Envoy Endre Stiansen were joined by the newly-appointed US Special Envoy for South Sudan Stuart Symington.
They discussed the status of the South Sudan peace process, two weeks from the scheduled formation of the transitional government. This critical deadline has now been delayed twice. In their discussions the Envoys emphasised the importance of beginning the transitional period on time and called on the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.
The Envoys welcomed the role the region has played in supporting the process, including recent efforts by South Africa. They were concerned that despite these efforts, the parties have been unable to make sufficient progress on the outstanding issues.
This lack of political will could derail the peace process and undermine the ceasefire, risking a return to violence at a time when the South Sudanese already face a devastating humanitarian crisis.
The Troika agreed that the imminent IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and African Union meetings in Addis Ababa may be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline. The parties to the agreement, including the incumbent Government, must be prepared to make compromises and agree a way forward on outstanding issues, to enable the formation of an inclusive transitional government.
Their people are watching, impatient to see the peace that their leaders have publicly committed to, but so far have been unwilling to deliver.
The Envoys shared their assessment of the remaining challenges, and discussed possible responses to the scenarios around the 22 February deadline. The Troika remain engaged, and will continue to work with the region for the sake of South Sudan, whose short history has been blighted by conflict, corruption and terrible violence.