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Parties converge in Addis Ababa to discuss security and number of states

Authors: Obaj Okuj | Juan Evalyn | Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Deng Alor for FDs, Michael Makuei for TGoNU, Henry Odwar for SPLM-IO, and Gabriel Changson for SSOA, during the signing ceremony on the extension of the pre-transitional period on May 3rd, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PHOTO: Koang Pal Chang/Eye Radio

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, has convened a consultation meeting in Addis Ababa for the peace parties in South Sudan to discuss the security arrangement and the number of states.

These are tasks that were meant to be completed within the pre-transitional period.

IGAD summoned representatives of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement to converge at the Ethiopian capital on August 20 – 21.

According to the program seen by Eye Radio, the consultation meeting will listen to reports from the National Pre-Transitional Committee, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, and the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.

The participants shall also go into closed-door meetings to discuss the “Security Arrangements Implementation, its challenges and the way forward.” This meeting is intended to review progress made during the pre-transitional period which is about to elapse.

In May, the parties extended the pre-transition period after falling to implement the security arrangement such as cantonment of forces, screening, reunification and deployment.

The parties are left with less than three months to complete these tasks.

IGAD also extended the invitation to local pressure groups to act as observers during the discussions.

This is after Edmond Yakani, the Executive Director of CEPO argued that the participation of the civil society in the consultative meeting is key because activists play an effective role in lobbying the parties for compromises.

The government’s delegation will be headed by its spokesperson, Michael Makuei.

“We are going for this meeting to go and thrash out some of the outstanding issues and we identified the challenges and see how best we will address them,” he told Eye Radio.

The parties shall also listen to a summary report of the Independent Boundaries Commission, a report which has already been submitted to the parties. The body recently completed its finding on the number of states needed in the next transitional period.

But Makuei said this report was submitted late, thus hindering the parties from properly scrutinizing the document.

“They only gave us…a copy to each party yesterday [Monday, Aug 19]. They have not yet reproduced the official copy to the members, so I doubt if we are going to discuss the report of the IBC,” he said.

“They should have given to the parties earlier so that they discuss and come out with their positions,” Makuei added.

For his part, a member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), says he expects the parties to agree not to extend the pre-transitional period beyond November 2019.

SSOA, SPLM-IO, FDs and the incumbent government are expected to share various portfolios in the next coalition government -at the national and state level.

Salva Kiir as President and Riek Machar as First Vice President are expected to lead a government of national unity with four other Vice Presidents represented by the Former Detainees and the Opposition Alliance.

The main task of the coalition government will be to restore permanent and sustainable peace, stability and security in South Sudan.

The SPLM-IO led by Dr. Riek Machar has continually led descending voices not to form the government without proper security measures as guaranteed in the security arrangements.

Machar wants a well trained and unified security sector that can “guarantee the stability” of the next coalition government.

But Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro said any further delay will not be in the interest of the ordinary person.

“I think the public is putting pressure that we need to implement this peace in latter and spirit, and the extension is non-renewable,” he said.

“We are going to table that and see what is the next move. Of course, we put the interest of the public first rather than the interest of the individual,” Bakosoro asserted.

This is the first evaluation meeting of the revitalized peace agreement since the extension of the timeline in May this year.

The one-day consultation meeting will be addressed by IGAD Executive Secretary, representatives of Troika [US, UK and Norway], China, EU, UN, AU, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, and the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers.

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