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Machar to come back for last try to break stalemate

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Monday, January 27, 2020

Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir address the press at J1 on Dec 17, 2019. Credit. Emmanuel J Akile/Eye Radio.

The main opposition group, SPLM-IO, says its leader will return to Juba next week for a final attempt at breaking the deadlock over the number of states.

Dr. Riek Machar left Juba for Khartoum on Sunday after spending two weeks of fruitless negotiations with President Salva Kiir in Juba.

The two principals were expected to agree on whether to maintain, increase or reduce the current number of states.

The determination of the number and boundaries of the states is among the task expected to be completed within the pre-transitional period.

They were to also confirm their interest to form a government of national unity, considering the reported slow progress in the training and unification of the forces.

During the two weeks Dr. Machar spent in Juba, the parties were unable to reach a conclusive solution.

The mediators then proposed the formation of an arbitration body to legally resolve the contention on the number of states.

Last week, the SPLM-IO issued a statement, calling for an evaluation of the progress made in the implementation of the agreement.

It also called for deployment of a UN protection force in the absence of unified army during the transitional period.

But there has not been an official statement on the way forward.

President Kiir and Dr. Machar will meet again next week, just less than 20 days to the formation of a coalition government.

Dr. Machar departed Juba in the company of the Deputy Chairperson of the Sudan Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo Hemeti.

“Our position is very clear; if we agree on the number of the states and the boundaries and then progress on the security arrangement, we should form the government,” Manawa Peter, SPLM-IO deputy spokesperson told Eye Radio on Monday.

However, Peter said Machar will return for a final push to resolve the stalemate.

He said the SPLM-IO will find it difficult to accept to participate in a transitional government without the determination of the number and boundaries of states.

“If we don’t agree, then how do we form the government without the number of states?” The senior official argued.

The peace parties have twice failed to form the unity government in May 2019 and then in November last year.

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