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NAS reiterates its commitment to unity of South Sudanese opposition

September 8, 2018 (JUBA) - The National Salvation Front (NAS) Saturday reiterated its commitment to the unity of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) but stressed that it will continue to work for a genuine federal during the transitional period.

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Thomas Cirillo Swaka (Photo Reuters)

"NAS is committed to the unity and integrity of SSOA, NAS leadership will continue to uphold and defend the common position of SSOA agreed to in article 3 of the Charter, which SSOA elaborated in the SSOA Position," said Thomas Cirillio Swaka in a letter addressed to the alliance leader Gabriel Chang Changson on Saturday.

By referring to the article 3 of the SSOA Charter, Swaka recalled the alliance objectives including peace, change the system of governance, and establishing, a strong federal system in the country.

The letter was a response to a letter Changson sent to NAS’s Swaka and People’s Democratic Movement (PD’s leader Dario Hakim about their commitment to the opposition alliance as they reject the recent positions of the umbrella especially on the disputed 32 states and the federal system.

The Swaka and Hakim rejected the SSOA endorsement of the final document of the revitalized peace agreement despite the rejection by the government negotiating delegation of a compromise proposed by the mediators providing that the referendum will ask voters to choose between the 32 and 10 states.

The SSOA and SPLM-IO which now backs this position, however, signed the final text on 30 August after a pledge by Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir to bring the IGAD leader to reconsider this point and re-establish the compromise after discussions with President Salva Kiir.

Swaka in his letter, seen by Sudan Tribune, further pointed out to alliance position during the Phase II of the IGAD consultations with the South Sudanese parties last April and the Summary consultations with SSOA on HLRF Outstanding issues of 12 May 2018.

In the two papers, the opposition alliance stressed on the need to establish a "federal system of governance during the Transitional period through effective division of powers and resources between the federal, state, and local government".

The opposition umbrella also asked to cancel the 32 states "and revert to the ten (10), "In addition to the two (2) administrative areas of Pibor and Abyei".

The IGAD Council of Ministers in a two-day meeting to be held next Tuesday is expected to make recommendations to the IGAD heads of state and government in this respect.

The signing ceremony will take place after the meeting of the IGAD leader.

The IGAD executive teams have prepared the agenda of the Council of Minister and Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Authority which will discuss the final document of the revitalized peace agreement.

"IGAD team just concluded Council and Summit preparatory meeting. Both policy organ meetings to take place in Addis Ababa on Wednesday next week," said Nuur Mohamud Sheekh, a Senior Political Officer, Office of IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan in a note posted on Saturday.

The ordinary meetings of the IGAD Council of Ministers and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Authority will discuss the South Sudan peace process and the return of Eritrea to the regional body after suspending its membership for longs years in protest at Ethiopian forces entering Somalia.