October 12,2012 (JUBA) - A parliamentary caucus bringing together all members of parliament from the ten states of South Sudan who are members of the country’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), on Friday made observations on the agreements Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir and his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir signed on 27 September.
- Member of Parliament, Mel Wal Achien Wal, speaks at a community meeting in Juba, October 11, 2012 (ST)
The gathering was part of a consultative meeting aimed at reaching a consensus amongst members of parliament from different states who are members of the ruling party before the house convenes on 15 October.
Although no official statement has been released, top presidential aides and members of parliament say Kiir is scheduled to open the house and will brief members of the two houses about the agreement he signed in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, on 27 September before they ratify the deals.
Speaking at the opening of the parliamentary meeting, Atem Garang de Kuek, a government chief whip commended the members for turning out and asked them to examine the agreements so as to reach consensus before the house convenes its meeting on Monday.
Awut Deng Acuil, a member of parliament from Warrap state examined the agreement and recommended it to members, asking for them to reach a consensus to pass the agreement with two observations.
Acuil expressed the need to review four freedoms and article 3 of the Security Arrangement. Article 3 of the security arrangement demands the two parties to operationalise the Safe Demilitarized Buffer Zone (SDBZ) in accordance with the administrative and security map presented by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel in 2011 and maintains joint tribal mechanisms for resolution of any dispute in the area.
The inclusion of a 14 mile buffer zone in Northern Bahr el Ghazal has been greeted by widespread condemnation from the states politicians and civil society organisations.
According to the article, the special arrangement will be supported by Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission to ensure that no movement of armed military and armed civilians in the area.
Peter Bashir Gbandi, a former controller of the house and a Member of Parliament representing Maridi county in Western Equatoria state, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the four freedoms and recommended some changes be made by the house.
Simon Deng Duang, a member of parliament from Northern Bahr el Ghazal said a consensus has been reached on all the nine agreements but two reservations have been made.
“There are two sticking issues which have generated serious debate. There was an observation about article 3 of the security arrangement and four freedoms. They are the contentious of all the nine deals. There are those who are opposed to four freedoms and there are opposed to article 3 of the security arrangement but consensus has reached on the remaining agreement”, Duang told Sudan Tribune on Friday from theparliamentary hall at Nyakuron Cultural Center.
The legislator explained that members agreed to pass all the agreement but with observations on the two areas. “This means that the parliament will either delete the whole text or modify it,” he explained.