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Executive Summary for July 2nd

We review the latest peace and security issues, including the collapse of South Sudan’s cease-fire, the UAE pausing attacks on Yemen’s main port city to give negotiations a chance, and the U.N. launching a support plan to promote peace in Africa’s Sahel region.

Published on July 2, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

South Sudan Cease-Fire Collapses Only Hours After Going Into Effect

A cease-fire agreement brokered by the leaders of South Sudan’s warring parties last week collapsed on Saturday, only hours after going into effect, Al Jazeera reported.

South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and rival leader Riek Machar agreed to the so-called “permanent cease-fire” during talks in the Sudanese capital on Wednesday.

The cessation of hostilities went into effect in the early hours of Saturday. But rebel spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said government forces and Sudanese rebels launched a “heavy joint attack” in Mboro, Wau County, around 7 a.m.

The warring parties traded blame for the offensive.

Gabriel accused the government of violating the cease-fire first. “There is the possibility Salva Kiir is not in control of his forces or he doesn’t want peace to come,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny accused the opposition of instigating the attack. “They have a loose leadership; they’re not being controlled by anyone. The people of South Sudan should be given a chance to lead a peaceful life, and the army is observing the order of the president. It’s very sad,” he said.

UAE Pauses Hodeidah Offensive to Make Room for U.N. Talks

The United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday that it will pause its offensive against rebels based in Yemen’s main port city to support efforts by the United Nations to broker a political solution, Reuters reported.

The UAE first launched an attack on Houthi rebels in the Hodeidah port on June 12 as part of joint effort carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. Reuters described the offensive as “the largest battle of the war.”

U.N. special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been engaging with warring parties in an attempt to prevent an all-out offensive on Hodeidah, which is a key lifeline for Yemen’s population of 8.4 million.

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter on Sunday that his country welcomes Griffith’s efforts to achieve an unconditional Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah city and port. “We have paused our campaign to allow enough time for this option to be fully explored. We hope he will succeed,” he said.

While the Houthis have offered to hand over control of the port to the U.N. as part of a larger cease-fire arrangement, they have said they will not withdraw from Hodeidah city.

Gargash said that military operations will continue if the U.N. fails to secure a full withdrawal of Houthi forces. “Failing these patient efforts, we believe that continued military pressure will ultimately bring the liberation of Hodeidah and force the Houthis to engage seriously in negotiations,” he said.

U.N. Launches Support Plan to Promote Peace in Africa’s Sahel Region

The United Nations launched a new support plan to promote “sustainable peace” in Africa’s resource-rich Sahel region, U.N. News said on Saturday.

The plan, titled “Sahel, Land of Opportunities,” seeks to address environmental, political and security challenges in 10 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.

The plan, which was developed in cooperation with respective governments and the African Union, focuses on “cross-border cooperation; prevention and sustaining peace; inclusive growth; climate action; renewable energy; and women and youth empowerment.”

“The overarching goal of the U.N. Support Plan for the Sahel is to scale up efforts to accelerate shared prosperity and lasting peace in the Sahel countries and the region at large,” the report said.

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