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South Sudan peace talks to be suspended for Eid holidays

64th Extraordinary meeting of the IGAD Council of Minister in Khartoum on 9 August 2018 (Photo Ethiopia FM)
August 17, 2018 (JUBA) - The final phase of South Sudan peace process in Khartoum will be suspended on Saturday during a week for Eid al-Adha holidays after finalizing the draft text of the revitalized peace agreement.

Since four days ago the South Sudanese parties have engaged in talks on the pending issues and the modalities of implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. The IGAD Council of Minister which supervise the process gave them one week to finalize their discussions before the 19 of August.

Speaking to the South Sudanese TV on Friday, the minister of information who is also the spokesperson of the government negotiating delegation said the talks will be concluded on Saturday as the parties are getting ready to review the remaining chapters of the peace deal.

"Almost all the committees agreed on the outstanding issues and now the IGAD Secretariat is on the process of preparing the final draft, but before they are actually working on the implementation matrix that we are expected to be brought out today (Friday)," said Minister Mickael Makuei.

Makuei further said on Friday they will examine and amend the remaining six chapters to make in conformity with chapters one and two. So on Saturday, they will "come out with the final draft text of the agreement".

Regarding the outstanding issues, the parties discussed the disputed number of states, the creation of five new ministries and their clustering, judicial reforms, composition of National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), roles and responsibilities of the presidency as well as any other business.

On the implementation matrix, the most important issue was the competences and powers at the level of the presidency as a disagreement emerged the powers of the First Vice-President. The SPLM-IO said his powers should remain intact as defined in the peace agreement and rejected any modification pointing to the particularity of the job.

The minister said after the break of Eid al-Adha discussion will resume on the final text of the agreement.

Eid al-Adha is due to begin on 21 August and end on 25 August.

Once the parties agree on the text, the IGAD Council of Ministers will meet to approve it and then the summit of IGAD heads of state and government will be called to approve it before the signing ceremony.

"So we are optimistic in the first week of September the final process and the signing ceremony will be conducted as scheduled," he stressed.

(ST)