JUBA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's peace monitors are hopeful that a new transitional unity government would be set up next month despite growing skepticism over delays in the implementation of the September 2018 peace deal.
Augostino Njoroge, interim chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), said the peace deal is battling too many challenges, but he stressed that the new government can be formed if the signatories take bold steps before the May deadline.
"With more efforts, it is possible to achieve the critical ones, I'm optimistic that this government can be formed," Njoroge told state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC) on Tuesday after a meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.
As the May 12 deadline for the formation of a new power-sharing government approaches, parties to the peace pact are already behind schedule and there are concerns that the new government may not take effect as the parties have failed to implement key provisions of the accord.
Signatories to the peace deal warned last week that the deadline may be missed due to lack of resources to establish cantonment sites, and to train and integrate rival forces.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.
Under the new peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar, along with four others will once again be reinstated as Kiir's deputy.
Kiir, Machar and other signatories to the peace deal will meet in the Vatican on Friday to discuss implementation of the fragile peace agreement.