IT IS DONE Machar, SSOA sign the deal
By Jale Richard
Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar yesterday signed the preliminary Revitalized Peace Agreement two days after initially refusing to sign it due to what he called unresolved issues.
Machar signed the agreement with “reservations” after meeting the Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir yesterday who reportedly advised the opposition groups to initial the final document and pledged to bring their demands to the IGAD leaders.
Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, the deputy spokesman of the SPLM-IO group was quoted by media outlets that his group was concerned about some points in the draft of the final agreement.
“We want to list our reservations before we sign the final peace document. We are going to sign the document with reservations around 6:00 pm, so we are now writing our reservations,” he said.
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) also signed the deal.
However, Rajab Mohandis, a Civil Society delegate to the High Level Revitalization Forum said the SPLM-IO signed the preliminary agreement but some issues will be referred to IGAD.
“We applaud the parties on this achievement and call on them to adhere to the commitments they have made to the people of South Sudan in this Revitalized Agreement,” Mohandis said. “They should not let the people down,” he added.
“They should move with speed, honesty and energy to implement this agreement and end the suffering of our citizens. We commit to work with them in the implementation of this agreement,” the civil society delegate said.
The opposition groups (SPLM/A-IO and SSOA) had rejected to ink the initial Revitalized Peace Agreement that the Transitional Government of National Unity, Former Detainees and Other Political Parties signed on Tuesday.
Dr. Riek Machar’s SPLM/A-IO and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance headed by Gabriel Changson refused to sign the deal due to the disagreement over the number of States and the proposed procedures for the permanent Constitution making process.
They said in the latest draft of the revitalized agreement, the changes made in sharing and a new constitution making process had been ignored in the draft.
However the Sudanese Mediation team confirmed late Tuesday that Dr. Machar had agreed to sign the initial agreement after failing to sign on Tuesday.
“After intense negotiations with Sudanese Mediators, Riek Machar agreed to sign the document on Thursday, August 30,” Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al Dirdiri Mohamed told reporters in Khartoum.
Government spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth told Juba Monitor on Wednesday that after initialing the agreement, the parties would start working on the implementation matrix to mark the end of the peace process.
“After the signing, we will start with the implementation matrix. The implementation matrix will mark the end of our work. Up to that extent, the agreement will be taken to the IGAD Council of Ministers for approval,” Makuei said.
According to Makuei, once the agreement was approved by the IGAD Council of Ministers, the people of South Sudan shall have a final peace agreement at hand.