IGAD, Kiir to meet Machar in Juba

By Paul Jimbo

President Salva Kiir has agreed to meet opposition Chief Dr Riek Machar in Juba anytime, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) special envoy to South Sudan has confirmed.

Without giving any tentative dates for the proposed face-to-face meeting, Dr Ismail Wais said the President assured him of his commitment to ensure a lasting peace in the country through the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Last Thursday, Dr Wais met with President Salva Kiir to discuss the status of the September 2018 peace deal.

In a statement, IGAD said the discussion between the two focused on three critical tasks necessary for the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in November.

“The areas of concerns included; security arrangements, reconstitution of the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) Commission and the number of states and their boundaries”.

Dr Wais further called on President Kiir to disburse the balance of the pledged $100 million to speed up the implementation of the peace agreement.

On the reconstitution of the DDR Commission, Kiir promised to nominate its candidates “without further delay”.

On hold-out groups, Dr Wais said that IGAD was commitment to continue engaging non-signatories to join the peace process.

Last month, IGAD—which brokered the peace agreement—called on the rival leaders, Kiir and Dr Machar, to set a face-to face meeting to resolve outstanding issues.

South Sudan will mark the first anniversary of the peace agreement on September 12 but the implementation process remains a challenge.

The proposed regular face-to-face meeting between the main protagonists—President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr Riek Machar—has not been happening, while the number of states and security arrangements remains the two biggest challenges.

Sudan Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok has offered to supervise a face-to-face meeting between President Kiir and Dr Machar in Juba in the near future.

President Kiir has been insisting that face-to-face meetings have to be held in Juba because the peace agreement has been signed and the opposition leaders should not fear for their lives.

James Oryema, the SPLM-IO representative in Kenya said that Dr Machar is ready for a meeting that would bring total peace to South Sudan.

The cantonment remains slow and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development had in August directed that at least 50 percent of the 83,000 unified forces be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September.

Since the agreement was signed on September 12, 2018, government forces clashed with those of the National Salvation Front, led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo, who refused to sign the deal because it did not address the root causes of the conflict and federalism.

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