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S. Sudan opposition declines discussions on constitution-making implementation matrix

Opposition delegations discuss the outstanding issues during a meeting held on Saturday 25 August 2018 (Photo Nuur M Sheekh IGAD)
September 4, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Two opposition groups, SPLM-IO and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), said they refused to take part in the discussions on the implementation matrix of Chapter VI related to the permanent constitution-making process.

The two opposition groups signed the final document of the peace agreement with four reservations including their objection to the constitution-making process saying the permanent constitution have to elaborate through the National Constitutional Conference and not by the government-controlled National Constitutional Review Commission as provided in the draft agreement.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, The SPLM-IO and the SSOA disclosed their refusal to discuss the modalities of implementation of Chapter VI on the "Parameters of Permanent Constitution" saying they prefer that IGAD leaders resolve their reservation first.

The opposition groups said they were "shocked" by the decision of the mediators to open the discussion on this chapter follow the government position despite their initial promise to forward their this chapter to the IGAD leaders.

"Such a ruling is problematic in two ways. First, it ignores our reservations which they promised to forward to the IGAD Summit, thus throwing doubt into their commitment to that promise they made. By insisting that the Parties discuss the initialled text implies that it will not change. Second, a Matrix developed by some of the Parties without the rest has no chance of being implemented," reads the joint statement.

The opposition stressed they refuse to discuss the implementation matrix of chapter six only because the three other reservations are not "amenable to a time frame, therefore do not require time frames which is the reason why" they didn’t have problem to agree with the Matrix related to the chapters of the revitalized peace deal, the statement says.

The SPLM-IO and the SSOA signed the final document after a meeting with President Omer al-Bashir who pledged to resolve their concerns with the IGAD leaders.

For his part, the government spokesperson and information minister Michael Makuei announced the conclusion of the discussions on the implementation matrix.

"The subcommittees that were working on the Matrix have accomplished their tasks and today the matrix is complete and ready for assembling in one implementation matrix in accordance with the chapters," he told reporters in Khartoum on Tuesday.

He further said the peace process will be concluded after a three-day workshop on Permanent Ceasefire Transitional Arrangement (PCTA) for the members of the security subcommittee.

The IGAD foreign ministers are expected to hold a meeting soon after their return from Beijing China to discuss the steps achieved by the parties and submit their conclusions for the IGAD leaders to decide on it.

(ST)