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Kiir wants to keep controlling South Sudan’s army at the expense of peace: SPLM-IO

Kiir poses with the army leadership in Juba on 24 January 2019 (ST photo)August 22, 2021 (JUBA) - South Sudan President refuses to implement the agreed arrangements for the reunification of armed forces because he wants to keep controlling the security sector, said an SPLM-IO official on Sunday.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok failed to bring President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar to agree on the stalled implementation of the security arrangement, particularly the establishment of a single army.

A joint statement released at the end of Hamdok visit to Juba said the visiting IAGD’s chair agreed with the two parties to "continue on their engagements until final positive results are reached".

Irrigation Minister Manawa P. Gatkuoth who is also the acting SPLM-IO Spokesman confirmed to the Sudan Tribune the failure of Hamdok’s efforts to narrow the gaps between the two sides on the security arrangements and some other issues.

"To overcome the deadlock, the Movement expressed its readiness to accept the IGAD- proposed compromise - 55% for the SPLM-IG/45% for the other signatory groups - at the level of the command of the security services. In return, the rule of equal shares - 50%/50 - must be applied at the level of forces in order to establish an inclusive national army to protect the country, respect the constitution, and stand at the same distance from all political forces," said Gathuoth.

"However, President Salva Kiir wants to impose plans of his group to control the security sector in South Sudan by demanding 60% of the new national army be issued from his army," he stressed.

In a series of meetings held in Khartoum sponsored by the IGAG after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, the signatory groups agreed that the government of President Kiir provides 50% of the troops while the other half will be from the other groups.

Hamdok held two meetings with Machar on 19 and 20 August to discuss the outstanding matters.

Besides the stalled enforcement of the security arrangements, the SPLM-IO complained of the delay in the appointment of the SPLM/A (IO) nominees to the state governments and to the position of Deputy Minister of Interior whose nomination was submitted the President Salva Kiir Mayardit on February 1st, 2021.

The SPLM-IO official regretted the "lack of political will" to fully implement the revitalized peace agreement and accused the SPLM-IG of seeking to obstruct the implementation process and eventually return to war.

"The war at least will enable them to remain in power and protect them from accountability for crimes committed against South Sudanese people, corruption and looting of national wealth and resources," he said.

(ST)