IGAD Mediators Report Substantial Progress at S Sudan Peace Talks

President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development –IGAD boasts of substantial progress recorded in determining the arrangements necessary to implement a Transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan. 

The hype was shown after the adjournment of the ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia.

The IGAD-led multi-stakeholder peace negotiations adjourned last evening, 5 October 2014 to enable stakeholders to undertake further consultations on the relevant issues until October 16, when they are expected to resume. The consultation is mainly on the number of contentious issues that, according to IGAD will need consensus in the next 10 days.

“The negotiating parties have demonstrated a great deal of political will and seriousness to close gaps on critical issues under discussion,” A statement by IGAD reads in parts.  They have been able to discuss the System of Governance, Function/Mandate of the Government of National Unity, its Structures, Size of the Cabinet, Seat, Structure and Size of the Legislature among other issues.

The parties have also debated Pre-transitional and Transitional Period, Decision Making Mechanism and Dispute resolution mechanisms in relation to the agreement and Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive.

However, although a number of agreements have been achieved, the few remaining issues are critical that require the parties at the level of the Principals to make bold decisions to save the lives of the people and the nation without further delay.

Some issues of contention include disagreements over power-sharing and division of power between President Salva Kiir and the would-be Prime Minister to be nominated by the rebel group.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional group mediating the talks, had given both sides 45 days from last August to work out the details of a transitional government which recognizes President Salva Kiir as President of South Sudan and called on Machar’s rebels to nominate someone for the position of prime minister.

However, a spokesperson for Riek Machar’s negotiating team James Gatdet Dak confirmed on phone that there remained disagreements over issues of governance and structure.

He added that while the two parties agreed in principle to adopt federalism as governing system in the country, the two parties were yet to agree on which type of federalism and when the system should be implemented, among others. The government also argues that citizens’ opinion be sought over the question of when to implement the federalism system.

The negotiations began in January with the aim of finding an effective solution to the conflict which erupted between the supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.

The Mediation further urged the parties to facilitate the flow of humanitarian assistances to reach the people who are in dire need of them; and to cooperate with and support free movements of all personnel working for Humanitarian Organizations.

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