10th December 2019
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Move to Juba, save peace deal, Machar told

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: 1 month ago

Dr. Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir in a recent meeting in Juba in October, 2019. Credit/South Sudan Presidential Press Unit

The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition should move to Juba in an attempt to save the revitalized peace agreement from collapsing, a local think-tank has said.

The parties in May agreed to set up a coalition government on 12 November after implementation of key provisions was delayed.

These include registration, cantonment, training, and unification of 83,000-strong force.

Now the parties have disagreed over the formation of the unity government as some of the aforementioned security arrangements remain unimplemented.

But President Salva insists that he will go ahead and set up the government with or without Dr. Riek Machar.

“The SPLM-IO might pull out of the Agreement completely, resume the war or ask for the renegotiation of the Agreement,” says Researcher Abraham Awolich of the Sudd Institute in a policy brief.

Dr. Machar fled Juba in 2016 after fighting resumed between his guards and government forces in Juba.

He was subsequently exiled to South Africa, where the IGAD placed him under house arrest.

However, with the signing of the revitalized peace agreement last year, he was relocated to Khartoum where he is presently staying.

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He has been asking for lifting of the house arrest to help him participate fully in the peace process, especially in meetings.

“The SPLM-IO, particularly Dr. Riek Machar, should move to Juba to allow for sustained interactions with the President in order to speedily overcome the remaining issues,” he states.

But implementing the security arrangements is a condition that must must be met before he returns to Juba, citing attempt on his life in Juba in 2016.

On Monday, Crisis Group International urged regional and Western leaders to talk President Salva Kiir out of establishing a coalition government.

“Allowing Kiir to form a government without Machar would be the worst of these options, since it would shatter the peace accord and, likely, the active military truce,” it wrote.

However, the African Union and the UN Security Council recently rejected Dr Machar’s demand for second extension of the pre-transitional period, describing it as a “disappointment.”

On the other hand, the regional body – IGAD – whivh brokered the deal is said be less concerned about the problems facing the pre-transitional period as it’s (Kenya and Ethiopia) busy fighting over its leadership.

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