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South Sudanese parties await final draft agreement on security issues: Lueth

July 4, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudanese parties Wednesday have discussed with the Sudanese mediators the draft agreement on the outstanding security arrangements as they expect to receive the final draft agreement by Thursday.

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South Sudan information minister Michael Makuei Lueth shakes hands with Lam Akol during the revitalization forum on 19 December 2017 (ST Photo)

The IGAD-led face-to-face round of talks in Khartoum have started in Khartoum on 25 June. Two days after, the South Sudanese parties signed a framework agreement, providing to implement the permanent ceasefire even before to settle the outstanding issues in the security arrangements.

The Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth told the official SSBC TV they met on Wednesday with the Sudanese mediation team headed by the Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf to discuss a draft agreement on the security arrangements

"After lengthy discussions, it was agreed that by tomorrow we will be getting the final draft and hopefully this final draft will be the document that we will sign," the minister said.

Lueth further said if things as it was agreed then they sign the final draft agreement the mediators will submit on Thursday.

"If things remain the same then definitely we will be signing the final document on the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangement," he said.

Khartoum talks on the security arrangements deal with four outstanding issues including the determination of demilitarized areas; modalities of the cantonment, a timeframe for the unification of forces and the number of representatives of every party in the Joint Transitional Security Committee.

The SPLA-IO made a major concession during the previous phases of the peace revitalization process as it accepted to amend the peace agreement and integrate the armies before the end of the transitional period.

Minister Makuei said once this agreement on the security arrangements is signed the will move immediately to discuss the outstanding issues in the power-sharing or governance chapter.

On the governance, the parties have to settle their differences on the number of states in South Sudan, the size and composition of the Legislature and the responsibility sharing ratio in the executive and the states.

Once all these issues have been settled, the IGAD leaders have to persuade President Salva Kiir to accept the participation of SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar in the transitional government.

The Khartoum round of peace talks will be concluded on 8 July as the parties have to move to Nairobi to resume discussions there.

The signatories of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement pledged to settle all the pending issues in the security arrangements and governance in Khartoum.

(ST)