The government and the opposition groups have resolved to extend the Pre-Transition period for six more months before establishing the anticipated transitional government of national unity.
The period begins from 12th May 2019 and ends on November, 12th, 2019.
This puts to rest recent public disagreements between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar over the timely formation of a revitalized power-sharing government. President Kiir wanted it established as indicated in the September 2018 peace deal, but Dr. Machar insisted that the preparatory period be pushed for 6 more months.
The SPLM-IO argued that the extension will enable the parties to implement aspects of security arrangements that would guarantee the stability of the next government. However, the government said these issues would be addressed by a unity government once installed.
Last week, IGAD invited the principals for a meeting to iron out the differences, but they sent their delegations instead.
The representatives met in Addis Ababa from May 2 -3, 2019 to first; review the status of the implementation of the key pre-transitional tasks, identify progress made, challenges encountered; and deliberate on practical steps that can be taken to address identified challenges.
This according to IGAD, would help ensure a timely formation of the RTGoNU and the effective implementation of the agreement.
A report on the status of the implementation of the agreement was presented by the interim chairperson of the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission [RJMEC], Ambassador S.K Njoroge, the chairperson of the Ceasefire & Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring & Verification Mechanism [CTSAMVM], Major General Desta Abiche, and the Secretary of the National Pre-Transitional Committee [NPTC], Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro.
The parties noted that the pending tasks and those yet to be completed are the “most critical and consequential” for the smooth formation of the RTGoNU.
They said that the security arrangements, including cantonment of all forces, joint training, and unification of forces is crucial for the full implementation of the agreement.
They committed to avoiding a repeat of the 2015 peace deal scenario where there were reservations during the signing, and more than one commander-in-chief being in the country. They said there was a need for the unification and deployment of necessary forces prior to the formation of the RTGoNU.
President Salva Kiir has previously blamed the presence of two armies [SPLA and SPLA-IO] in Juba as the cause of war in 2016. The opposition, however, believed the government had no political will to implement the 2015 agreement.
“The unification of the necessary forces is the most critical determining factor for the formation of the RTGoNU, which was expected to have been completed within 8 months,” the signed statement reads.
The parties acknowledge that the agreement has been slow to implement due to financial constraints, slow dissemination, lack of trust among the leaders, capacity gaps within the various security mechanism, coordination gaps as well as inadequate support from the international partners.
However, they noted that some progress has been made -especially in regards to the establishment and reconstitution of critical institutions and mechanisms [RJMEC, CTSAMVM, NPTC, Joint Security Board], amendment of the Transitional Constitution to incorporate the agreement, review of relevant security laws, adherence to the permanent ceasefire and the ongoing dissemination and confidence building.
Within the next six months, the parties asked the office of IGAD Special Envoy and RJMEC to urgently convene a workshop for all the security mechanisms to develop a clear roadmap and implementation schedule for the pending tasks.
“Priority should be given to completing the cantonment and unification of forces to establish an effective security arrangement for the full implementation of the R-ARCSS.” The statement further reads.
The government pledged to avail $100 million, in addition to its earlier contribution of $10 million, to expedite the implementation of the pending tasks.
They directed the NPTC- and appealed to the international community -to mobilize resources for the implementation of the agreement.
The extension deal was signed by the head of delegations from the government, Michael Makuei, Henry Odwar for SPLM/A-IO, Gabriel Changson for South Sudan Opposition Alliance, Deng Alor for Former Detainees, and Dr.Lam Akol for the Other Political Parties.
The meeting was convened by IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Dr. Ismail Waise and Chaired by Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
It was attended by IGAD Council of Ministers from Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti, UNMISS Head, David Shearer, RJMEC interim chairperson, Ambassador S.K Njoroge, CTSAMVM chairperson, Major General Desta Abiche, and religious leaders from South Sudan.
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