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S. Sudan parties resume talks as IGAD makes revised bridging proposal

A general view of the closing session of the IGAD brokered second phase of the HLRF on 23 May 2018 - (Photo Ethiopian FM)
June 16, 2018 (JUBA) - The South Sudanese parties Saturday started three-day Intensive Interlink Consultations meeting to discuss a revised Bridging Proposal dealing with the outstanding issue in the peace revitalization forum.

The IGAD mediators submitted to the participants a new proposal described as "a middle ground on their various negotiating positions" on the power-sharing or governance and security arrangements. The parties during the three-day consultations are supposed to sign it paving the way for a face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar.

Different sources told Sudan Tribune that regional and international pressure is high on the parties to sign the document which is conceived after 11 months of negotiations to revitalize the peace agreement of 2015.

The intensive consultations were decided by the IGAD after the failure of the Second Phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to reach a deal on the implementation of the governance and security arrangements on 23 May.

At the time, the SPLM-IO rejected the proposal saying it "is an endorsement of the status quo which emerged in Juba after the collapse of the (peace agreement)".

"The IGAD Proposal further rewards the regime in Juba for their intransigence throughout the peace process and for their well-documented role in precipitating the collapse of (peace) in July 2016," stressed the main opposition group.

Seen by Sudan Tribune, the revised Bridging Proposal introduces a 35% quota for women in all instances of responsibilities "whether or not any reference has been made to this ratio in the text".

It also increases the share of the other political entities (i.e. FDs, OPP and SSOA) in the State Governments to be allocated as a bloc, 20%. In the first version, they had only 10%.

The revised proposal also bring more details on the Independent Boundary Commission which will review the establishment of new states and their boundaries and to make recommendations for addressing the consequences of these changes.

So, the commission will consist of 15 members including three from the IGAD countries. Also, it provides that the IBC has to terminate its mandate within 180 days.

It shall make binding "recommendations on adjustments to be made to the number and boundary of States during the Transitional Period," reads the revised bridging proposal.

The new text reduces members of the National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) from 440 to 400 legislators. The incumbent government will take 55% of its seats, the SPLM-Io 25% and the others political groups will take 20%.