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South Sudan’s opposition PDM to resume participation in peace talks

August 18, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudanese People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) said they would return to the negotiating table to take part in the final phase of the peace revitalization process in a bid to achieve their demand for the federal state.

Hakim Dario, PDM leaderThe PDM together with the National Salvation Front (NAS) refused to ink the governance agreement on 5 August despite the fact that their partners of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) accepted to sign it after a written pledge from the mediation to continue discussions on the article 4 related to the contested number of states in the final phase.

However recently the SSOA leadership persuaded NAS’s leader Thomas Cirillo to resume participation in the Khartoum process.

Also, the PDM leader confirmed to Sudan tribune their return saying they want to influence the mediation to incorporate their demand for a power-sharing between three regions (Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Upper Nile) on the basis of 33.33%, during the transitional period.

"We have written to Excellency Ambassador Ismail Wais, the Special Envoy since 14th August to provide three PDM members of delegation with tickets to resume participation as a party to the HLRF process in the Khartoum hosted peace negotiation to reach a realistic and sustainable peace," said PDM Chairman Hakim Dario in statements to Sudan Tribune.

He further said that refusing signing the 5 August agreement does not mean a refusal to participate in the Khartoum process to advocate their positions.

The Khartoum talks will resume on 25 August after a one-week break for Eid al-Adha holidays.

Also, the South Sudanese government spokesperson Michael Makuei said "almost the parties agreed on the outstanding issues and now the IGAD secretariat is preparing for the final draft but he didn’t say if they reached a compromise on the article 4 with the SSOA.

Before to sign the governance, SSOA and the SPLM-FDs issued a statement rejecting resorting to the popular vote to settle the disagreement over the 32 states if the parties fail to strike a deal during the transitional period. The opposition groups stressed that the default solution should be one of three options: restoring the 10 states territorial system, establishing 79 counties or arbitration as a last resort.

They also pointed to the "responsibility sharing in the States and Local Governments" but didn’t insist on the call for a deal based on power-sharing between three regions at the federal level.

However, Hakim said there is still some hope that the mediation will consider the PDM when the talks resume after the al-Eid break.

"(...) There is still some hope that the mediation will consider incorporation of PDM positions in any negotiated and sustainable peace agreement," the PDM leader said.