Home | News    Friday 6 March 2015

S. Sudan’s rival leaders fail to strike peace deal as rebels insist on reforms

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March 5, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and leader of the rebel faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar failed to meet the deadline set by regional mediators for the two sides to strike a final and comprehensive peace deal on Thursday.

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South Sudan rebel chief and former vice-president Riek Machar (R) speaks with his delegation prior to a meeting on 3 March 2015 in Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

As a result, the mediation team for the East African regional bloc of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) decided to extend the 5 March deadline by an extra 24 hours to allow the two men bridge existing differences on the sticky issues pertaining reforms that the opposition groups demand.

The IGAD mediators urged Kiir and Machar to “use the limited time that remains to make progress on the outstanding issues". They further pointed out that power-sharing and security arrangements are the most important matters the parties have to settle.

“The security areas, the power sharing area, the scope of the levels ... These are the critical areas that has still kept the parties apart and they are tackling them," IGAD’s chief negotiator, Seyoum Mesfin told reporters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He added that IGAD will continue to be involved through the African Union and the United Nations to help resolve the crises in the world’s youngest nation.

Although IGAD extended the deadline, some observers still doubt the possibility of both parties reaching a final peace deal on Friday.

The UN security council on Tuesday adopted resolution which would allow to impose sanctions on the warring factions.

REBEL DEMANDS

Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune that the two principals remain at odds on many other contentious issues related to reforms that the rebels see more important than power sharing.

“The two principals have not agreed on almost everything else except reforms,” Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said when reached on Thursday evening.

He said the government was responsible for the deadlock, accusing Juba of refusing to agree on core issues without justifying their rejection.

“For instance, they agreed that federalism is a popular demand of the people of South Sudan but yet disagreed to adopt it in the peace agreement and implement it in the transitional period,” he said.

The government, he said, wanted the matter to be deferred to future permanent constitution making process for consideration.

A host of other contentious issues including governance, transitional security arrangements, wealth-sharing, power-sharing ratios and its scope, status of national legislature, elections, accountability and justice are among sticking points yet to be resolved.

On power-sharing, the rebel group demanded that it applies across the country from the national to state and local levels. However, the government rejected this, saying it would only share power at the national level in the capital, Juba, with states and counties untouched by the change.

The rebels also wanted the current bicameral national legislature dissolved and reconstituted per power-sharing ratios, arguing that the new membership would make a constituent assembly before next elections as the mandate of the current elected parliament is bound to expire soon.

In another burning point, the government also wanted new security arrangements to be confined to greater Upper Nile region where fighting is mainly taking place and that the arrangement should not include the other two regions of Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria.

Juba argued that the war was being fought in the rebel leader’s home region of Upper Nile while the other regions of Bhar el Ghazal where president Kiir comes from and Equatoria where his deputy James Wani Igga hails enjoyed peace, hence there was no reason to include them in the process.

But the SPLM-IO faction argued that the transitional security arrangement should affect all the security organs in the country without exempting particular regions.

Dak said majority of the regular army in the country had already defected to the opposition and that a comprehensive arrangement of gradual amalgamation into a new national army was needed and effect reforms.

“This is also about comprehensive security sector reform that should affect all the security organs in South Sudan,” he added.

He further explained that the government had recently accused the rebel forces of attacking locations in Western Bahr el Ghazal, saying Juba in their allegation had already acknowledged that the war was not confined to Upper Nile region and that rebel forces were everywhere in the country.

“We have forces in Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions. But they are directed to respect ceasefire and not initiate a fight,” he further asserted.

POWER-SHARING TALKS DELAYED

Dak also revealed that the rebel leader told IGAD not to negotiate on power-sharing arrangements before agreement with president Kiir on other outstanding issues.

He said Machar made it clear on Thursday to the IGAD mediators that the issue would be negotiated later on after resolving the contentious matters on governance, security arrangements, accountability and others.

IGAD approached both leaders with agenda items that carried leadership structure, power-sharing and institutional reforms for discussions on Thursday.

The two principals are expected to resume negotiations on Friday as the extended 24 hours deadline expires on 6 March.

IGAD special envoys for South Sudan announced on Thursday that president Kiir and opposition leader Machar would continue negotiations on Friday.

The Special Envoys urged the principals to use the limited time remaining to make progress on the outstanding issues of the mediation agenda.

IGAD’s chief mediator, told reporters on Thursday evening that the special envoys who were consulting with the two top leaders from Thursday morning might change the approach on Friday by again bringing them back to face-to-face negotiations.

"Today, it was separate consultation; with the envoys; that is what we have been doing today. After this consultation, then we will bring them tomorrow," he said.

Observers still doubt whether the new added time-frame will result in to an agreement.

The UN on Tuesday announced preparation for sanctions and warned the two principals of measures that would include travel ban and assets freeze if they fail to strike a deal by the set deadline.

(ST)

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  • 6 March 2015 08:02, by Son of Ngundeng

    Dear All:
    How are the failure mediators like this which I never seen in my life, when those thugs and gangs will be given the extra time they will never be able to follow the process and they will never agree, because they thought they would be given another extra time.

    God will Help South Sudan !!

    Son of Ngundeng currently in front
    line Pathay Jonglei State.

    repondre message

    • 6 March 2015 08:17, by Mayom County Boy

      it is very hard indeed to join hands for peace to come
      what will be the best solution next if our two leaders fail to unite for peace ?

      repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 10:01, by bianaathling

    that is unfornate.

    repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 11:23, by hamil

    Useless country, useless leaders, useless people, useless everything. Every morning when I wake up I hate the fact that I was born a South Sudanese. If only God could strike everyone dead in this country the better. A normal citizen wants to live a peaceful life but a power hungry fool wants to take this country as a personal property these are not peace talks anymore these are peace Jokes.

    repondre message

    • 6 March 2015 12:56, by Stephen kuach

      Hamil.
      you wish God to strike the entire population of S.Sudan because your weak woman-heart cannot endured the hardship that’s happening in our Country then exile yourself or seek asylum somewhere sir.

      repondre message

      • 6 March 2015 15:13, by hamil

        @Stephen Kuach

        You don’t know pain because you have not suffered it you are one of those born in the 90s but this struggle that resulted to the birth of south sudan consumed my whole family and wounded my brother. You don’t know anything let me tell you. What you see now is not like the way it happened in 1980s.

        repondre message

        • 6 March 2015 23:13, by Stephen kuach

          Hamil.
          I’m not denying the decade that our country had been facing difficulties,however what i’m trying to tell you is true,hardship will always face us in a direct way or indirect,but we cannot give up hope and wish the entire population to perish as you said earlier,now let us all speak up for change,and for you my friend,you can change our country with some good idea you might have.

          repondre message

    • 6 March 2015 13:43, by Emporio

      @hamil
      The problem of most southerners suffer of (self hatred) Don’t get frustrated we don’t have angle on the earth to govern people of south sudan where are equatorian whom self Claimed they are ones that encourage individuals to make use of their freedom to be self-legislating)

      repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 13:52, by American Missile.

    Youth Must not follow the Leaders who don’t understand the lives of other.
    Let us stop War and take cares of our families and our own lives.

    repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 14:52, by hamil

    @Stephen kuach

    For how long should people endure? These are modern days peole want to focus on development to remove the scars of the war out of people’s hearts. I was born in 1971 I grew up in this war and felt the pinch of what it caused my family. My Father died in frontline, My Grandfather died in frontline my elder brother lost his left leg fighting the Arabs. So tell me how should I endure?

    repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 15:38, by Koang

    Peace and Truth are difficult to find, Our country is really failed state led by wrong doers.

    repondre message

  • 6 March 2015 18:47, by Kim Deng

    It doesn’t a matter if Dr. Riek is going to be reisntated back to the position he held before, or no position at all as long as he commands his own separate army during the interim period (30 months).

    repondre message

  • 8 March 2015 18:57, by Eyez

    My fellow countryman, Hamil!
    Even though you seemed dissatisfied and fed up, I hope you find it in your heart to reconsider the fact that, God will never abundant his children, yes we have suffered and yes our loved ones have sacrificed their blood for the nation, even if things turned out not to be what they should be, but, we must not lose hope or belief of a better future for S. Sudan!
    X

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