South Sudanese warring parties still vague on IGAD's proposed peace deal

GMT 03:06 2015 Tuesday ,04 August

Arab Today, arab today South Sudanese warring parties still vague on IGAD's proposed peace deal

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir
Khartoum - XINHUA

Stances are still vague in the new-born state, two days ahead of the date set by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development in Africa (IGAD) for the two South Sudanese rivals to respond to a peace deal proposed by the mediators.

Last week, the IGAD announced a reviewed proposed draft peace agreement for consideration by South Sudan's warring parties, affording them until August 5 to respond.

South Sudan has not yet provided an official stance towards the document, but expressed reservation on a few items of the deal, namely power sharing in the Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States.

The peace proposal grants the current government a legislation majority, the presidency and 53 percent of ministerial portfolios.

It gives the rebels the position of first vice president and 33 percent of ministerial portfolios, while the remaining 14 percent was allotted for other opposition groups, excluding the Greater Upper Nile region (Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States) where 53 percent were proposed to go to the rebels and 33 for the current government.

Earlier, the South Sudanese government held a consultative meeting discussing the IGAD draft peace document, however it failed to reach a clear stance and announced it has formed three committees to study the document.

South Sudan's Information Minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei was reported to have said that "we await the committee's reports presentation before forming a clear opinion."

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit allegedly also rejected IGAD's proposal, deeming it unbalanced and incapable of achieving peace in the country.

He said that granting the rebels, led by Machar, 53 percent representation in the oil-rich States of Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei would provide rebels with the opportunity to control the country's wealth.

Apart from the government's position, several South Sudanese civil society organizations and state governments clearly expressed their rejection of the IGAD's draft deal, while others demand amendments.

South Sudanese local media reported the Unity State government spokesman to have said that "the Council of Ministers of the Unity State met and decided to submit a memo rejecting the document to the federal government."

The rebels, led by former vice president Riek Machar, also hinted that they would not digress from earlier conditions rejected by the Juba government, including maintaining its armed forces during the transitional period.

South Sudan nosedived into violence in December 2013, with fighting erupting between troops loyal to President Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Machar.

The conflict soon turned into a full-fledged war, as violence espoused an ethnic element pitting president Dinka's tribe against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.

The clashes left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced 1.9 million individuals to flee their homes.

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