News / Africa

    South Sudan FM Recalls Negotiating Team

    FILE - In this image made from video, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, center left, and rebel leader Riek Machar, center right, exchange the signed documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
    FILE - In this image made from video, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, center left, and rebel leader Riek Machar, center right, exchange the signed documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
    Peter Clottey

    South Sudan's unity government is in doubt after former vice president Riek Machar recalled the leadership of his team negotiating with South Sudan President Salva Kiir. Machar has accused Kiir of sabotaging the implementation of the agreement signed last August in Ethiopia by establishing 28 new states in South Sudan. 

    Machar, who is the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, has since petitioned heads of state in the region and also called on the international community to put pressure on and prevent the government in Juba from undermining the accord.

    Both groups are supposed to form a transitional unity government with a total of 30 ministries. The accord gives the South Sudan government 16 ministries, including finance and planning, defense, information, national security, and justice and constitutional affairs. 

    Machar’s side got 10 ministries, including petroleum, interior, labor, mining, and land, housing and urban development. Foreign affairs and transport were given to a group of former political detainees not aligned with either the South Sudan government or the rebels. Other political parties in South Sudan got two.

    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar, left, speaks to the media about the situation in South Sudan following last week's peace agreement with the government, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 31, 2015.
    FILE - South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar, left, speaks to the media about the situation in South Sudan following last week's peace agreement with the government, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Aug. 31, 2015.

    But Machar now refuses to allow his officials to be part of the government.

    His decision to withdraw the negotiating team came after the government refused to scrap President Kiir’s recently established 28 new states in South Sudan.Representatives of both sides are deadlocked on negotiations about the states established by the government.

    Officials say the outcome of negotiations that had been taking place would be incorporated in a new constitution for South Sudan.

    Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae is leading the joint monitoring and evaluation commission that is tasked with supervising the implementation of the agreement. Mogae recently said the formation of the 28 states complicates the implementation of the agreement.

    Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, the secretary of foreign affairs, says the government’s refusal to abide by the terms of the original agreement is creating unease and tension.  

    “Dr. Machar has written a letter to [former] president Mogae copied to the regional leaders, the AU, the European Union, the Troika and the U.N. secretary-general saying that we need to implement the agreement as it is. And the agreement is saying 10 states not 28 states,” said Gatkuoth.

    “We are telling the world and the international community to let us implement the agreement as it is. But, President Salva Kiir is saying let us work outside the agreement by accepting the 28 states, and that is actually creating the destabilization.”

    Gatkuoth says the decision to establish 28 new states violates stipulations of the agreement, which he says calls for only 10 new states to be formed. He contends that the transitional government can only be formed after a constitution has been adopted, which he says has yet to be done due to the deadlock in negotiations.

    But supporters of the South Sudan government say the refusal of former vice president Machar to name his ministers to form a transitional government is delaying the implementation of the agreement. They said the opposition is to blame for the delay in the formation of a unity government.

    “President Salva has decided not to implement the agreement.Dr. Machar has decided today that he would recall only the leadership of the advanced team. We will meet in Pagak, South Sudan to decide on the next course of action that we need to take,” said Secretary Gatkuoth.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: James
    January 18, 2016 10:49 AM
    28 states is not the priority,our priority as south sudanese is peace.People of south sudan did not demand for 28 states.Government should mark this clear,our people are suppering and they are struggling for power not thinking for their people.Leaders should not eat the blood of their own people

    by: Abraham Majak Makur
    January 17, 2016 1:55 PM
    The parties to the conflict must be mindful of the suffering people. They international community should drastically intervene as to save the people of South Sudan. The ARCISS must be implemented letter by letter because this country belongs to all of us. The parties must be committed to achieve peace and account for the crimes committed during the 21 months conflict. The South Sudanese must pressurize at all cost for full implementation of peace and bring a lasting stability for the people of South Sudan.

    by: Chatim Daniel
    January 17, 2016 11:52 AM
    Only peace we need in south sudan. because our politicians they don't want peace in south sudan and we suffering for war, disease and hunger. We will pray our he will bring peace because country without peace is like a desert without trees and desert without water. God bless our country south sudan.

    by: Bol Ring
    January 17, 2016 10:46 AM
    IGAD and Trioka are not doing what they promised to do, hold those who derail peace accountable. Kiir government is purposely derailing the peace to test the serious of IGAD and Trioka threats. And so far, they had been just empty threats. Instead, they are allowing the government to think it can renegotiate and changed things it doesn't like about the agreement, yet IGAD was saying the peace package was final and just need implementation. If this agreement fail, it will be partially due to IGAD inconsistency with its messages. How can it say the peace was final, yet it's now saying the parties can renegotiate 28 states?

    Furthermore, the government is not allowing the peace monitoring and verification to access some areas in Equatoria where fighting is displacing civilians. all these things and IGAD and Trioka are silent. What message is that sending to Kiir government?

    That it is okay to derail peace and there will not be consequences.
    In Response

    by: tamara likiya from: kaya
    January 19, 2016 4:25 PM
    God is giving Kiir and Machar time to put off their egos and allow the people of SS to rebuild themselves from the suffering Kiir and Machar aflicted on the people. Time is almost up for them or they will face the wrath of God the Almighty and their children and grand children will pay the price very dearly. May the Holy Spirit touch your hearts to obstain away from people's blood. I think you have shed enough and your hands are full of innocent blood

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