World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei on Wednesday accused the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) of violating last month's cessation of hostilities agreement between his government and rebels loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar.
He said IGAD, which brokered the agreement, should have formed a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) comprising both negotiating parties to tackle the modalities, including establishment of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.
"The IGAD advance team has already arrived in Juba without official communication to the government of South Sudan from the IGAD," Makuei told a meeting of different political party leaders in Juba.
"What we know is that the JTC should have been formed first before IGAD could send in the monitors," he insisted.
The 14-member IGAD team arrived in Juba on Sunday for meetings with state and non-state stakeholders, including local and international organizations in Juba and several locations across the country.
The team, led by Major General (rtd) Gebreeg Zabher Mebrahtu of Ethiopia and his deputy Major General Mohammed Amin Moustafa Eltinay of Sudan, includes military and civilian experts drawn from IGAD member states.
During its five-day trip, they are to survey areas for possible deployment of the monitoring and verification teams.
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when President Salva Kiir accused Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The violence has already claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people.
The UN estimates that more than 820,000 people had been displaced by the conflict.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has appealed for $1.27 billion to assist about 3.2 million people in the country.
Following weeks of talks, the warring rivals signed an agreement on January 23 to end nearly six weeks of fighting.
A second round of talks will be held in the Ethiopian capital next week.
FAO: S. Sudan faces major food crisis
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned of a major food crisis in South Sudan, which has been shaken by two months of violence between government forces and rebels.
"South Sudan was already the scene of one of the world’s largest humanitarian operations before the fighting began, and the situation is now deteriorating rapidly," Sue Lautze, FAO Head of Office in South Sudan, said in a statement published on FAO website.
The Rome-based agency said that some 3.7 million people are now facing acute or emergency levels of food insecurity in South Sudan.
"Markets have collapsed, infrastructure is damaged, foreign traders have fled, commodity supply corridors have been disrupted by violence, and rural populations are unable to bring their crops, livestock and fish to market for sale," Lautze said.
FAO said that violence has forced over 870 000 South Sudanese to flee their homes and that displacement has severely disrupted the agricultural cycle.
"Missing the main planting season will have serious knock-on effects on food production and availability in the country in 2014 and on into 2015,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, who recently visited South Sudan.
"At the moment supply corridors have been disrupted or completely shut down in many areas of the country, and farmers need urgent assistance to access vital agricultural inputs in time."Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2014, 09:48