The United States Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth will travel to South Sudan from May 9 to May 13, 2021, to support peace and stability there, the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.
Special Envoy Booth will hold meetings with government officials, political stakeholders, and civil society and international partners, as the United States worries about the slow implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), ongoing violence, and deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions.
“The Special Envoy’s travel underscores the United States’ commitment to work with IGAD and other regional and international partners to support peace and stability in South Sudan,” the State Department said.
IGAD or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development is a body comprising seven countries in the Horn of Africa. Based in Djibouti, IGAD supports its member states in their development efforts, especially in the areas of peace processes and food security.
Achieving peace and stability has been challenging in South Sudan. Two power-sharing agreements have been signed since civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013. The first agreement crumbled after one year when renewed fighting broke out in 2016, while the second agreement signed in 2018 has faced many challenges and ceasefire violations. Some parties originally declined to sign it, and those that signed it have been moving at a very slow pace.
Booth’s trip will try to change the status quo in the world’s youngest nation.
While Booth’s South Sudan and Sudan, nearby, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman is currently traveling to Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan through May 13. The recently appointed ambassador is meeting with officials from those governments, as well as the United Nations and the African Union, in addition to political stakeholders and humanitarian groups.
The Special Envoy’s travel to the Horn of Africa is to help de-escalate tensions and address humanitarian crises in order to promote stability across the region.
One of the most pertinent topics of discussion will be addressing the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which has been going on for six months now and has left at least 4.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
The United States has been vocal in pressing both Ethiopian and Eritrean leaderships to de-escalate the situation and work toward resolution. However, Eritrea has failed to honor the promise it made in March to end hostilities and withdraw troops from the region.