STANDOFF Gov’t says yes, IO says no

By: Sheila Ponnie

With barely 15 days remaining to the formation of the unity government, stand-off is eminently looming with the government taking stand to act within the deadline while the main opposition, SPLM-IO is rejecting the move until the pending issues of the states and boundaries are resolved.

The consultation meeting between various parties to the agreement in Juba yesterday, yet again showed no sign of progress as the parties continued to differ over the unresolved issues.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government and the opposition led by Dr. Riek Machar have maintained their positions on the number of states. No positive signs were coming out of the meeting that an agreement could have been reached to resolve the main two issues of the States and boundaries within the stipulated deadline period.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition SPLM-IO) insisted that they would not be part of the new government of National Unity if the stalemate on the number of states and their boundaries is not resolved, while the government maintained that they would go ahead with the formation of the new government and the states issues would be resolved later.

SPLM-IO Deputy Chairman, Henry D. Odwar said after the consultation on Wednesday evening that the conditions necessary for the formation of the unity government like the number of states and the security arrangements have not been resolved.

“These are the minimum, without these issues being resolved, we will not come in to the government because we walked through this path in 2016,” he said.

“We want to make sure that the security agreements are in place and that the number of states are agreed upon and that will give the people of South Sudan a lasting peace where they will come in to reconciliation, they will heal and all freedoms and all civil liberties will be granted by security agreements that is agreed upon by all who have signed the agreement,” he added.

In another development, the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth maintained that the government would be formed on February 22nd as agreed and the states’ issue will be resolved after.

Makuei instead blamed the opposition for rejecting several government proposals that would have ended the deadlock on the states.

“In the first place when you talk of an arbitration, it is a court and if it is a court whose decision is final and binding and not subject to appeal so it is even stronger than the ordinary court,”

“We are saying no more extension because the people of South Sudan are fed up of extensions so we need to continue to establish the Transitional Government of National Unity and then continue with the consultation process as it is proposed.”

He said it was up to the chief mediator to sit with a group of special envoys to find a way forward.

“If they don’t come up with the way forward, I think the whole matter will be forwarded to African heads of states and Government to resolve before the end of the summit,” he said.

In yet another attempt president Salva Kiir and opposition leader are expected to meet in Addis Ababa on the sideline of the AU summited on February 8.

The South African Deputy President David Mabuza who was mediating to break the deadlock on the states said it would not be possible for an arbitration to take place in the remaining time.

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