SOUTH SUDAN / MARIDI PEACEBUILDING FORUM

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12-Jun-2019 00:02:59
A peace-building forum was organized in the Western Equatorian town of Maridi by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Ceasefire Transitional Security Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSMVM) and local authorities. UNMISS

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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / MARIDI, PEACE BUILDING FORUM
TRT: 02:59
SOURCE: UNMISS
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / JUBA ARABIC / NATS

DATELINE: 12 JUNE 2019, MERIDI, SOUTH SUDAN

SHOTLIST:

1. Various shots, dignitaries arriving accompanied by military forces
2. Med shot, women sitting
3. SOUNDBITE (Juba Arabic) Meridi Resident:
“If the leaders can bring us peace I will be the happiest person just for the sake of my children because I am working right now but am earning only 600 south Sudanese pounds [3 USD] which cannot feed my children.”
4. Various shots, meeting room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Bakosoro, Leader, South Sudan National Movement for Change:
“I’m also very excited to see them after five years out of the country. I never left them with hatred. I’m coming back with love and with unity and let us continue to push the country forward. That is the only message. Never go back to war again. We need peace. If anybody has any intention to go to war, please take care of the vulnerable, the women, and children who are suffering. We don’t need war again. That is my message.”
6. Various shots, participants
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Africano Mande, Governor, Maridi:
“I think the creation of the states did not come in a vacuum. It has been a result of the systematic thought process by the leadership in this country and you can see the jubilation, you can see the passion, you can see the emotions that people are articulating with regards to them protecting what they already have. So, I believe the message is quite clear to everybody but what is so important is that, as much as we respect the mandate of the Independent Boundaries Commission, I think it is important for us to resist this word in inverted commas “appropriate” number of states. As I said, there is no magic number and there’s no mathematics that calculates with accuracy, the appropriate number of states so let it be left to the people of South Sudan.”
8. Various shots, participants
9. SOUNDBITE (English) David Shearer, Special Representative of The Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“We are committed to this peace process. There is no peace process anywhere in the world that has been perfect and this one is not perfect. But it’s what we’ve got in front of us. There is no Plan B and so we are totally committed to getting in behind it and making it work. It’s already had real advantages. There are people moving back to their homes. There are people who are not facing violence. There are people who are starting to grow their crops. That’s what a peace agreement brings and we have to get in behind it and make sure it’s sustainable.”
10. Arial shot, Meridi green view

STORYLINE:

A peace-building forum was organized in the Western Equatorian town of Maridi by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Ceasefire Transitional Security Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSMVM) and local authorities.

Political and military leaders joined with religious, women and youth representatives to share ideas for reconciliation and to discuss how their efforts can be replicated across South Sudan.

Progress towards reconciliation and peace appears to be moving faster at a local level compared to national efforts. In Maridi, the reduction in violence that has followed the new peace deal is a relief and an opportunity to rebuild their lives after six years of conflict.

SOUNDBITE (Juba Arabic) Meridi Resident:
“If the leaders can bring us peace I will be the happiest person just for the sake of my children because I am working right now but am earning only 600 south Sudanese pounds [3 USD] which cannot feed my children.”

Soldiers who have been fighting each other for years as opposing forces instead came together to talk about unity and peace.

For the leader of the South Sudan National Movement for Change party, it was an emotional return to his home territory after five years in exile. He has high hopes for peace and for his people who greeted him with enthusiasm.

SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Bakosoro, Leader, South Sudan National Movement for Change:
“I’m also very excited to see them after five years out of the country. I never left them with hatred. I’m coming back with love and with unity and let us continue to push the country forward. That is the only message. Never go back to war again. We need peace. If anybody has any intention to go to war, please take care of the vulnerable, the women, and children who are suffering. We don’t need war again. That is my message.”

The formation of a new transitional government has been delayed for six months to allow the parties time to agree on several outstanding issues that could derail the peace process if not resolved. One of those issues is a decision about future boundaries and states. Passions among those who want to preserve existing territories were running high at the forum.

SOUNDBITE (English) Africano Mande, Governor, Maridi:
“I think the creation of the states did not come in a vacuum. It has been a result of the systematic thought process by the leadership in this country and you can see the jubilation, you can see the passion, you can see the emotions that people are articulating with regards to them protecting what they already have. So, I believe the message is quite clear to everybody but what is so important is that, as much as we respect the mandate of the Independent Boundaries Commission, I think it is important for us to resist this word in inverted commas “appropriate” number of states. As I said, there is no magic number and there’s no mathematics that calculates with accuracy, the appropriate number of states so let it be left to the people of South Sudan.”

The Head of UNMISS is optimistic that most outstanding issues can be resolved by 12 November, but he accepts that some matters may need to be carried over until the new government is formed so it can make collective decisions and collectively be held accountable.

SOUNDBITE (English) David Shearer, Special Representative of The Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS):
“We are committed to this peace process. There is no peace process anywhere in the world that has been perfect and this one is not perfect. But it’s what we’ve got in front of us. There is no Plan B and so we are totally committed to getting in behind it and making it work. It’s already had real advantages. There are people moving back to their homes. There are people who are not facing violence. There are people who are starting to grow their crops. That’s what a peace agreement brings, and we have to get in behind it and make sure it’s sustainable.”

In Maridi, there are clear signs that peace is already paying dividends. The lush and fertile landscape is bursting with newly planted crops and people are determined to secure lasting peace, so they can restore their reputation as the once-prosperous breadbasket of South Sudan.
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