JUBA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The head of the internationally-backed body tasked with monitoring South Sudan's peace process said Monday he will step down next month, after more than two years in the role.
Festus Mogae said he will step down as the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) at the end of September, the monitoring body said in a statement released in Juba.
Established after the signing of the shattered 2015 peace agreement, JMEC is entrusted with monitoring and overseeing all aspects of the implementation of the pact.
"His Excellency Festus G. Mogae, also Former President of the Republic of Botswana, informs the general public that he has written to the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State and Government, His Excellency Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, informing of his intention to step down as Chairperson at the end of September 2018," JMEC said..
South Sudan has been embroiled in more than four years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under UN pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.
The former Botswana president has been at the helm of the peace monitoring body since November 2015.
Mogae's critics however have accused him of being soft on South Sudan's warring factions after the pact was shattered in July 2016 even after he proposed revitalization of the failed peace deal last year.