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Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the conclusion of the Working Visit to Juba, South Sudan, delivered by Hon. Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

I am immensely grateful to my dear brother, President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival here in Juba two days ago. 

We are visiting South Sudan to reaffirm the historic and fraternal bonds of friendship and solidarity between our peoples which were forged during our common struggle for independence and freedom. Since South Sudan became independent in 2011, our two countries have established strong bilateral cooperation on various sectoral issues for our mutual benefit. Our discussions over the last two days afforded us an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our partnership.

We are here to express our support to the leadership and people of South Sudan on the ongoing efforts to consolidate peace, democracy and development, at this critical moment of the country’s history.

Let me once more commend the people of South Sudan for the historic agreement signed in 2018 which brought an end to a conflict which almost derailed the prospects of building a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. 

It has been five years since this peace agreement was signed. We are encouraged by the progress achieved thus far. The ceasefire agreement is holding and threats to the country’s peace and stability have been reduced. We believe that with the ongoing work in the establishment of the unified security forces for the country, the security situation will further improve. 

We welcome the reconstitution of the key institutions such as the National Elections Commission, Political Parties Council, and the National Constitution Review Commission. 

I sincerely thank President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, and other signatories to the Revitalised Agreement for their frank and comprehensive briefing on the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement.  We are encouraged that the parties remain committed to the Revitalised Agreement as the most viable vehicle to address the root causes of the conflict and building sustainable peace in South Sudan. 

I also thank regional organisations and the international community for their support for South Sudan. In this regard, I also had engagements with the representatives of Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), IGAD, and the African Union Mission.  We appreciate their insightful assessments on the situation in the country.  

The people of South Sudan are eagerly waiting for the general elections which will bring the end of the transitional period.  These elections will be a watershed moment in the country’s transition to democracy. I understand that Parties are engaged in a dialogue in order to agree on the necessary conditions for the holding of credible elections. This will require addressing the outstanding provisions of the Revitalised Agreement such as the adoption of the permanent constitution and the security arrangements.

Lasting peace, stability and development will depend on how the collective leadership navigate the challenging times ahead. The Revitalised Agreement is a very comprehensive commitment on how to take the country forward and the Parties to it must be applauded. Progress in the implementation of the provisions of the R-ARCSS is laudable. However, more work is still outstanding.

South Africa is deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan, which is also affecting other countries in the region, including South Sudan. We support  the role of IGAD and AU in the resolution of the conflict in Sudan and we would like to see their efforts intensified in this regard. 

South Africa will in May this year hold  general elections to afford our people their democratic right to choose their leaders. We are pleased that the National Elections Commission of South Sudan will observe our elections as part of the African Union Elections Observation Mission. 

In conclusion, as we return to South Africa, we are hopeful that the parties will continue to dialogue and find consensus on outstanding issues of the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement so that the people of South Sudan can look forward to a peaceful and democratic end to the transitional period. On behalf of my government and people of South Africa, we reiterate our commitment to support the South Sudanese as they go through the transitional period. We will provide every support possible within our means to ensure a democratic and peaceful end to the transitional period.

I thank you.

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