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South Sudan opposition leaders initial final peace document

President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Khartoum on 26 June 2018 (Photo SUNA)
August 30, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) Thursday have initialled the final document of the revitalized peace agreement stressing they did it after a commitment by President Omer al-Bashir to raise their concern with IGAD leaders.

The draft final document was signed by Machar and Gabriel Changson Chang, SSOA leader, in presence of the Foreign Minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed, Director of the National Intelligence and Security Services Salah Gosh, Tut Kew Gatluak, South Sudan presidential adviser on security affairs, Lam Akol, head of the National Democratic Movement, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan Wais Ismail .

In a joint statement released on Thursday evening, the SPLM-IO and SSOA confirmed what Sudan Tribune published Wednesday that President al-Bashir held a meeting on Wednesday with Machar and pledged to discuss the matter in the upcoming meeting of the IGAD heads of state and government.

"After meetings with al-Bashir and the mediation " We have decided to initial the draft of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS)," said the two groups in a statement issued after the signing at the premises of the peace talks in Suba suburb outside Khartoum.

"However, we want to make it abundantly clear to the public that this initialling is conditional upon the assurance that the four concern raised on Tuesday 28/0820185 be tabled for discussion by President al-Bashir in the forthcoming 64th extraordinary summit of the IGAD heads of state and government, as promised in the meeting," they said.

Last Tuesday the SPLM-IO and SSOA enumerated in a statement issued the concerns that led to the refusal to initial the draft agreement.

On Thursday, they once again mentioned it and urged the mediation to resolve "these critical matters of contention for us to sign the final text of the R-ARCSS".

The opposition groups want the mediation to adjust the quorum of the cabinet and parliament meetings as it remained unchanged despite the increase of the members of government and legislative assembly.

They also pointed out the disagreement over the number of states and called to incorporate the Annex D, which includes a comprise providing that the referendum will ask the South Sudanese to choose between the 10 or the 32 states.

The third point was the permanent constitutional-making process should be people driven. Also, they proposed that Ethiopia and Kenya join Sudan and Uganda as guarantors and deploy their forces within the UNMISS.

The SPLM-FDs leader Pagan Amum rejected the signing of the draft agreement by Deng Alor the head of its negotiating team. Now it is not clear if the group will, however, take part in the final signing ceremony.