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South Sudan leader says ready to sign deal on outstanding issues of governance

President Salva Kiir signs the Declaration of Agreement in Khartoum on 27 June 2018 (Photo Kamal Omer)
July 19, 2018 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir Thursday said ready to sign an agreement on the outstanding issues of governance, to pave the way for the implementation of a peace deal struck three years ago.

During the past days, the government and the opposition delegations voiced their rejection of a draft agreement on governance issues filed by the Sudanese mediators.

The government negotiating team said the proposals went far beyond the outstanding issues and amended matters already agreed by the parties and expressed strong reservations towards the draft agreement, adding they referred the matter to President Salva Kiir.

"People of South Sudan are looking for peace and if that arrangement can bring peace to the people of South Sudan, I’m ready to take it," Kiir said on Thursday in a speech he delivered at the swearing ceremony of the new foreign minister Nhial Deng Nhial.

The statements come as the Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth who is also the spokesperson of the government negotiating team announced in Khartoum that two negotiators Mrs Awut Deng Acuil and Dr Martin Elia Lomoro will travel to Juba on Friday for consultations with the President over the draft agreement.

On Wednesday Lueth had said they were expecting to get the response of the South Sudanese leader late in the evening.

President Kiir in his speech echoed some concerns about the draft agreement expressed by his information minister who Wednesday stated that the proposal of the Sudanese mediators "is likely to be even more problematic than the provisions of the revitalized bridging proposal in Ethiopia".

"South Sudan has become a field of experiments. Things that have never been done in any government and in any country are being tried in South Sudan whether they work or they will not work," said Kiir.

"People talk about inclusivity. Nobody is going to be left out of the government," he further stressed.

The proposed deal reduces the cabinet members to 35 from 45 ministers but creates a vice-president position for the SSOA increasing the number of vice presidents to four besides the first vice-president. Also, it keeps the number of the legislators at 550 members.

The Sudanese government said the chapter on power-sharing and governance would be initialled 17 July.

Also, it was said that the final signing day would be the 26th of July in a ceremony attended by the IGAD leader.

(ST)