HUNDRED, Days extension for unity Gov’t
By Nema Juma and Team
The Kampala meeting on South Sudan’s outstanding issues yesterday agreed to extend yet the formation of the unity government with 100 more days.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni hosted President Salva Kiir, Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar, Sudan’s leader Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan and goodwill ambassador, Kalonzo Musyoka for the possible solution to South Sudan’s outstanding issues contained in the peace agreement.
The meeting which took better part of the day was held under closed door and up-to minutes past 6.00pm when the host and guest came out to announce the agreement of the extension.
Sources in the meeting confirmed the extension and that other issues discussed included “confidence building”. Earlier the sources confirmed the arrival of all the dignitaries.
Museveni and Abdel Fattah are both co-guarantors of a 2018 peace deal signed by Kiir and Machar to resolve political differences that resulted in a civil war that has ravaged the country.
The meeting discussed outstanding issues in the extended pre-transitional period which expires next Tuesday. Kiir and Machar are required to have agreed on a unity government by that time.
Thursday’s meeting will be the third face-to-face meeting between the two principals since they signed a new peace agreement in September 2018.
The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) confirmed that its leader Machar will travel to Kampala for the meeting.
The two principals, under pressure from international and regional powers, have until November 12 to form a unity government, in line with the latest peace accord.
A key provision of the peace deal was the integration of former rebels in the army, which has not yet occurred. South Sudan government recently said it did not have enough money to fund disarmament and the integration of all the armed factions.
Subsequently, Machar voiced his call for an extension of the deadline, a move that international observers have opposed.
Top US government officials last month said they would not accept more delays and might impose sanctions if deadlines are not met.
A UN Security Council delegation visited Juba last month in an attempt to persuade the two parties to solve the disputes over the pact.
Ahead of Machar and Kiir’s meeting in Kampala, President Museveni received a delegation of six people last week, led by Salva Kiir’s special envoy, Michael Makuei Lueth.
Past attempts to reconcile Kiir and Machar had previously yielded little benefit as ceasefire pacts were repeatedly violated by forces of the two principals.
Museveni implored the warring factions to spend more time exploring ways to rebuild South Sudan instead of resolving political differences.
The President has been involved in talks to bring the warring parties the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to talk since they parted ways acrimoniously five years ago.
Fighting broke out in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar and sparked a chain of unrest.
Uganda deployed troops in the country saying it was intended to protect Uganda’s interests, safely repatriate citizens and secure vital installations at the invitation of Juba government.
The fighting in South Sudan has also cost hundreds of Ugandan traders billions in losses as the once-lucrative neighbouring market started to falter.
Uganda is home to more than one million refugees from South Sudan who have crossed into the country since violence broke out in the world’s youngest nation five years ago.
South Sudan refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda are accommodated at multiple resettlements set up in the West Nile and Northern Uganda sub-regions.
One of the facilities, Bidibidi refugee settlement, is home to over 224,000 refugees from South Sudan, making it one of the world’s largest refugee settlements.