United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the return of Riek Machar to Juba and his swearing in as the First Vice-President of South Sudan, calling it a “new phase” in the implementation of the peace agreement.
In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Mr. Ban also called for the immediate formation of the transitional government of national unity.
“He commends the efforts of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) Chairperson, former President Festus Mogae, and the African Union (AU) High Representative, former President Alpha Oumar Konaré,” the statement said.
The Secretary-General also called on the Security Council to work closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the AU Peace and Security Council to mobilize the required support for the peace process.
Mr. Machar’s return to the capital marks a significant step towards bringing stability to the country, which only gained independence in 2009 after breaking away from Sudan, its northern neighbour. A political dispute erupted into conflict in December 2013, killing thousands, displacing over 2.4 million people, 650,000 of whom fled abroad, and impacting the food security of 4.6 million.