Wed Feb 3, 2016 9:34AM
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges AU states to address the issue of South Sudan. (File photo by AFP)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges AU states to address the issue of South Sudan. (File photo by AFP)

The UN is calling on African Union states to help pull South Sudan’s warring sides out of a deadlock in the country’s peace process by addressing the country’s failure to establish a transitional government.

The warring sides reached an internationally-mediated peace deal on August 26, 2015 in neighboring Ethiopia but this deal rests on the government’s power-sharing with the rebels based on divisions in the original states. Rebel leader Riek Machar has hinted at a new phase in relations saying he wants to ‘start a new chapter of peace and friendship’ after a meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and a 15-strong delegation in Kampala.

There are some hopeful signs that external progress could bring the opposing factions closer. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the reopening of the border between the two countries – the first time since South Sudan seceded in 2011.

This could reduce tension in the region, which has seen tens of thousands of deaths and many more displacements. The people of South Sudan have been here before, on the cusp of a new political dawn, before sliding back into chaos. Will this time be any different?