Home | News    Thursday 25 September 2014

South Sudan peace talks make little progress

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 24, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The sixth round of the peace talks between the South Sudanese warring parties under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has made a little progress, a reliable source from the venue of the talks in the Ethiopian northern town of Bahir Dar told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

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Various representatives at the South Sudan symposium held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 8 June 2014 (Photo courtesy of IGAD)

Following the fresh round of peace negotiations, the source said a technical committee was formed representing all the stakeholders to identify points of agreement and disagreement on the stakeholder’s positions.

“ IGAD has allowed the two warring parties plus some other stakeholders to negotiate a power-sharing formula between president and prime minister,” a rebel source who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to issue a statement said on Wednesday.

“On our part we want the prime minister who should be our nominee to become the head of government and security organs. He should not also seek approval from president Salva Kiir and will be eligible to run for public office in elections,” he added.

This suggests that IGAD mediation has relaxed its previous position on the protocol which its summit produced in which they endorsed president Kiir as head of state and government during a two and a half years of transitional government. All the stakeholders with the exception of the government rejected the document described it as “bias” and “unjust.”

The ongoing leadership meeting comprising of the two warring parties as well as the G-10 are discussing the leadership of the Transitional Government on National Unity (TGONU).

Other political parties were not represented as IGAD rejected their new leadership which the government appointed following the sacking of Lam Akol who used to lead the non-armed political parties.

Akol as leader of the main opposition party in South Sudan became the sole representative of the other political parties to the peace talks since January but was removed last week in unclear circumstances. The government accused him of agreeing to the demands by the rebels.

While the negotiations in Bahr Dar have seen little progress however there remains contention on the prime minister and president power sharing formula. Sudan Tribune has learnt that the government delegation prefers the contents of IGAD protocol as the basis for power-sharing.

The IGAD mediated peace talks which aims at finding a lasting political settlement to the over 9-month-long conflict resumed on Monday amid a renewed fighting in Upper Nile state.

The latest violence which reportedly led to deaths of some 180 troops from both sides raised fears that it would hamper the new round of peace talks. Both sides trade accusations over who started the fresh fighting which threatens to disrupt the oil production in Paloich main oil fields.

In his opening remarks on Monday, IGAD’s chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, urged both rivals not to any more impede progress by rhetorical or procedural issues.

“If you are looking for fish, do not climb a tree. If you are committed to peace, you will not find it through the barrel of the gun, but around this table” he said.

“If you are looking for peace, you will not get it from others as a donation but I can assure you that we can find it together” Mesfin said further urging them to be practical enough to work towards achieving real resolution to the political crises in South Sudan.

Sudan Tribune understands that the latest round of peace negotiations between South Sudan’s government and rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar will continue till 13 October.

Delegations of both sides have once again reiterated commitment to the new round of peace talks.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 25 September 2014 07:17, by Mi diit

    So the useless so-called IGAD protocol is now trash and thrown into dust bin. The parties have to negotiate the terms of power sharing by themselves. Shame on IGAD. Shame on Kiir and his accomplices. IGAD is a waste of time because they don’t know how to mediate.

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