Cover Story

IN LIMBO – Peace talks faces up-hill task

President Salva kiir shakes hand with gov’t delegation on June 27 in Khartoum

By Opio Jackson and Agency

The signing of a preliminary power-sharing deal between South Sudan’s foes has been postponed to unspecified date after government submitted a new proposal letter to the mediators immediately after the initial talks had been postponed on Tuesday.

In the letter the Government consented to parts of the earlier proposals while disagreeing with some which they would like to be addressed before the next sitting. This has created uncertainty as to which date the next talks will take place.

The warring factions have yet to fully agree on the draft.

On Thursday the warring parties were set to sign a preliminary power-sharing deal after three weeks of negotiations in Khartoum.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, addressing reporters in Khartoum on Thursday, confirmed receiving a new power-sharing proposal from the government for improvement and redrafting of the agreement.

“We are here to announce the postponement of the signing of the peace deal. It is also to complete the consultation with all the parties on the new proposal we have received from the government,” Mr. Ahmed said.

He said the decision to postpone the signing ceremony was taken after Juba wrote to Khartoum about the draft.

“A new date for the preliminary signing of the deal will be announced later,” Ahmed said, while insisting a final pact would be signed on July 26.

Khartoum, as part of the regional efforts to end the conflict, has hosted rounds of peace talks since June between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar.

Mr. Ahmed said they received a written letter from the government of South Sudan, saying it was ready to sign but had some observations it wanted to be included in the document.

Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar’s group said it was also seeking changes.

“We will not sign unless they are included in the document,” Machar’s representative in the negotiations, Agouk Makour, told reporters.

The warring groups had agreed on a power-sharing deal during a round of talks in Kampala on July 7th that essentially saw Machar to be reinstated to his previous position of first vice president.

A similar deal was signed in 2015 but fell apart a year later in a deadly battle that saw Machar flee into exile.

The war in South Sudan erupted in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup.

The conflict has already left tens of thousands people dead and forced millions to flee from their homes.

 

 

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