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Transitional Government 'Within Reach' for South Sudan

  • Margaret Besheer

FILE - South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar talks to reporters at his private residence in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Feb. 13, 2016.

FILE - South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar talks to reporters at his private residence in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Feb. 13, 2016.

Formation of South Sudan's transitional government of national unity could happen in the next two weeks, the head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) said Thursday.

Festus G. Mogae, the chairperson of JMEC and a former president of Botswana, told the U.N. Security Council that despite violations to the cease-fire, there has been progress recently that puts forming the Transitional Government of National Unity "within reach."

Since March 24, about 230 senior Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Opposition officers and troops have returned to the capital, Juba.

"Flights are planned to continue over the coming week, until the full complement of 1,370 has been transported," Mogae told the council.

He said that the SPLM in Opposition has confirmed that they have no further conditions to the return of their leader, Riek Machar, who is to be the first vice president in the transitional government. Mogae said this has made him "cautiously optimistic" that the transitional government could be in place by mid-April.

"The act of formation of the new government will not automatically relieve the humanitarian, developmental, political, military and economic crisis that the country continues to face," he warned.

South Sudan plunged into a multi-faceted crisis in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir and Machar, his vice president, became political rivals. Tens of thousands are believed to have been killed, and millions displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance.

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