Home | News    Friday 26 June 2015

South Sudan peace talks to resume next July

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 26, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudan Peace talks will resume later in July in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, the regional bloc mediating the talks, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) disclosed.

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IGAD’s chief mediator for South Sudan peace talks, Seyoum Mesfin, speaks to the press following the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the South Sudanese government and rebels in Addis Ababa on 23 January 2014 (Photo: AFP)

At a press conference he gave on Thursday, IGAD lead mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, said negotiations between South Sudan’s government and opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by former vice president, Riek Machar, will resume next month shortly after the Ramadan fasting is over.

“We are hoping at the end of holly month of Ramadan to convene the IGAD Plus summit here in Addis Ababa with the parties participating,” said Mesfin.

Until talks resume he said mediators will continue consulting the two conflicting parties

The fresh round of talks will resume under a new IGAD plus initiative which will incorporate the African Union, the UN, EU, China, the Troika (UK, US, Norway) as well as five African countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Chad, and Rwanda).

The Government in Juba had reservations at the beginning with the inclusion of partners to the initial IGAD-led peace process and argued the regional bloc must only be the core and on the drivers’ seat of the mediation process while the included IGAD plus countries only take part as observers instead of directly participating in the mediation process.

Mesfin said the government was reluctant to accept the IGAD-Plus mechanism due “misconception” of the new mechanism.

“The mediation has clarified the government then they have understood it support it and accept it”.

The two SPLM factions have endorsed the IGAD-Plus initiative earlier this month after mediators engaged both sides in consultation meetings in Addis Ababa.

The IGAD-Plus mediation process on South Sudan was officially launched on Sunday by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and Chairperson of the IGAD.

In the newly launched IGAD-Plus mediation, the former three chief envoys now will be risen to unprecedented 19, Sudan Tribune understands.

COMPROMOSIED DOCUMENT

The mediation has now tabled synopsis of the draft agreement which is a summery of the parties’ reflection and consultations with their constituency.

“The mediation has prepared a compromised document which is believed the two sides could live with and continue to the establishment of a transitional government,” said the chief mediator.

He further said the mediation is generally encouraged by the reaction of the two sides towards the document.

The six-page synopsis touches all issues detailed in the bigger 100-page document.

Among others it mentions the issue of governance and power sharing on central institutions as well as power sharing on the troubled areas mainly on the greater upper Nile state.

It also calls for immense reforms on critical issues such as on governance of politics, system, and economy and oil revenue.

With regard to security arrangement the compromised document gives the parties 18 months period after signing agreement to integrate the Army.

According to Mesfin, the two sides must complete integrating the armies at the mid term of the transitional period.

The government has previously insisted integration of army to be completed within three months or maximum six months time.

“This 18 month is not simply a figure spelt out. But the mediation has consulted national regional and international competent experts whether it would be enough time to reintegrate the Army,” Mesfin said.

He said till the army is integrated there will be a third party proposal which calls for deployment of troops which could be from the IGAD countries, the Africa Union or the UN which will be sanctioned by the Africa Union Peace and Security council (AUPSC).

“It is left to choose for alternatives for the parties” He said.

The summary also calls for a radical transformation and restructuring of security forces including civilian security, also on economy issues and on making permanent constitution to the troubled youngest nation.

The compromised document calls on both sides to complete the new constitution 60 days prior to the end of the transitional period so as to allow for an election to take place.

The conflict in the youngest nation erupted in December 2013 after president Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup, an accusation he denies.

FORMER DETAINEES

The former detainees (G-10) are now reinstated to their former positions raising questions if their return to government would mean they are no longer stake holders to the peace process.

When asked to comment on the issue Mesfin said it would be difficult for him at this point to make statement.

However he defended them saying they are only trying to reunite the fractured SPLM party.

He said their effort to reconcile the party will have a positive impact on enhancing the peace process although it might not stop the war or address all the national crises.

At the mean time, however, Concerns on how the IGAD plus mediation would ensure the voice of the former detainees or would handle their case remains unanswered.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 26 June 2015 08:16, by Knight In Shining Armor

    Well, G 10 or whatever you call them can’t play it both ways. They are now with the government, let them join the negotiation from government side. What other issues do they have against the armed opposition that needs to be resolved separately from the government? Let them join the government negotiation team.

    repondre message

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