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SPLM-IO signs peace declaration of principle as Juba declines

SPLM-IO Deputy leader signs the Declaration of Principles for the peace revitalization process in Addis Ababa on 9 February 2018 (Photo Mabior Garang)
February 09, 2018 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition led by the former FVP Riek Machar has announced it signed a Declaration of Principles for the peace revitalization process while the government refused the framework saying it calls for sanctions on the parties.

The SPLM / SPLA (IO) "Deputy Chairman of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), Comrade Henry Odwar has signed the Declaration of Principles (DoP), for the IGAD - High Level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan (HLRF)," said a statement released by Mabior Garang Mabior the head of the head of the SPLM-IO information committee.

"The leadership would like to assure our people, that your Movement, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) is fully committed to peace through a negotiated settlement," Mabior further added.

The rebel official, however, didn’t comment on the position of the government delegation on the DoP but stressed that their delegation is resolved to negotiate with the government in good faith and they shall not betray the hopes and aspirations of South Sudanese for peace.

The government spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth rejected the DoP saying it includes calls for punitive measures against the parties to the process and ignore what had been discussed and agreed in the forum.

He pointed they are ready to sign this facultative DoP if the mediation deletes the 28 article including a call for sanctions on the parties that do not commit themselves to the full implementation of the peace agreement and the outcome of the revitalization operation.

“This article (28) is misplaced, it incriminates the parties, and it is not a principle. It is a punitive provision and as such, it is misplaced and should not be there,” said the minister.

The second phase of the South Sudan peace revitalization forum started Monday, after the failure of the parties to implement a cessation of hostilities. It is also convened under regional and international threats to impose sanctions on the parties if they fail to honour the peace deal.

For his part, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu who is also the Chairman of the IGAD Council of Ministers on Friday issued a statement reassuring that the revitalization process continues to discuss substantive issues in the South Sudan peace agreement.

On Friday "Participants have commenced talks on Pre-Transitional Period and National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) stated under Article 13 of the ARCSS, while the signing of the Declaration of Principles was taking place," said Gebeyehu in a statement released by the Ethiopian foreign ministry.

As the second phase entered its fifth day, he further pointed to the progress achieved on issues ranging from the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States, the Judiciary to the Transitional Institutions and Mechanisms stipulated under Chapter I of Article 11, 12 and 14 of the Agreement.

"They have also reached consensus on Mandates of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) on Wednesday," he stressed.