UN commends South Sudan peace accord signing, US urges swift implementation

President Kiir of South Sudan (L) Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia (2nd from left), President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (2nd from right) and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda  (r) in Juba for the signing of the peace agreement

President Kiir of South Sudan (L) Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia (2nd from left), President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (2nd from right) and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (r) in Juba for the signing of the peace agreement

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has lauded the decision by the South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to sign the peace agreement Wednesday.

In a statement released by his spokesman late Wednesday, Ban Ki-moon said the agreement was “a critical and necessary step towards ending the 20 month-long conflict that has devastated [the country] and subjected its people to unspeakable suffering.”

Despite a number of reservations Kiir, in front of regional leaders, signed the long awaited peace deal that had been signed by rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar last week.

“Now is the time to ensure that this agreement translates into an end to the violence, hardship and horrific human rights violations witnessed throughout this conflict,” the Secretary General added.

Meanwhile, the United States has warned leaders in South Sudan to fully respect and implement the agreement or risk sanctions.

“To end the fighting we call on all parties to adhere to the permanent ceasefire within the next 72 hours and begin the process of implementing this agreement,” John Kirby, State Department Spokesman said in a statement adding “The United States stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement, to work with the men and women of South Sudan who are committed to peace, and to hold to account those who would undermine the agreement or violate the ceasefire.”

Last week US submitted an arms embargo draft resolution to the UN Security Council and urged members to vote on it soon to force Juba to sign the deal.

Kirby also made it clear the United States does not “recognize” any separate reservations that must addressed further or hold up the implementation of the agreement.

“While we support the signing of the agreement, we do not recognize any separate reservations made about the agreement and expect all parties to abide by all elements of the final peace agreement,” he said.

President Kiir said before appending his signature to the deal “if our reservations are ignored, it will not be in the interest of a just peace.”