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Hamdok, South Sudan leaders discuss stalled security arrangements

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President Kiir (R) and Hamdok heading to a joint meeting at the presidency in Juba on 19 August 2021 (ST photo)August 19, 2021 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok met in Juba on Thursday with South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar to discuss the stalled implementation of the security arrangements.

In a statement released in Khartoum, the official Sudan News Agency said that Hamdok who is also the IGAD Chair held a closed-door meeting with President Kiir to discuss the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement before another meeting with his accompanying delegation on bilateral ties.

In addition, he discussed the implementation of the IGAD brokered peace pact with First Vice-President Machar.

In accordance with the revitalized peace agreement of September 2018, the government and the opposition agreed in a workshop on the transitional security arrangements held in Khartoum that the unified national army would be formed in equal numbers: 50% by the government and 50% by the other signatory groups.

But the ongoing talks in Juba are deadlocked because the delegation representing President Kiir proposed to form the new army with 60% of its forces and the rest for the former opposition groups, pointing to the many defections in the ranks of other signatory groups.

The recent split of an SPLA-IO faction led by Gen Simon Gatwech Dual followed by fighting with the main SPLA-IO headed by Machar near the Sudanese border has been a source of concern for the Sudanese government.

This development also raised tensions between the two main peace partners in Juba. The SPLM-Io accused the Kiir faction of encouraging splits to renegotiate the quotas of the unified national army, while the main SPLM accused the SPLA-IO factions of violating the ceasefire agreement.

The media office of the South Sudanese President said Kiir called on the IGAD to press "the SPLM-IO to resolve their differences peacefully, stressing that South Sudan cannot afford another confrontation".

Furthermore, he requested Hamdok to "urge the holdout groups to respect the cessation of hostilities as a matter of urgency," said the presidency in Juba.

On August 17, President Kiir accused the South Sudan Movements Opposition Alliance (SSOMA) of killing civilians on the Juba-Nimule road. The non-signatory groups strongly denied the "fallacious claims" and accused the government army, SSPDF, of the armed robberies.

The visiting prime minister and his interlocutors discussed bilateral relations.

"South Sudan is the second home of the Sudanese," Hamdok told President Salva Kiir and his first deputy according to SUNA.

Hamdok delegation included his defence, foreign affairs, trade and transport as well as his political adviser who travelled to Juba before him to prepare the visit.

(ST)

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