S. Sudan’s disputing factions urged to intensify efforts amid imminent deadline

ADDIS ABABA: September 6 (EI) — The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Friday urged South Sudan’s government and opposition factions to exert efforts to fulfill the critical tasks that are necessary for the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity as the November 12, 2019 deadline approached.

The urgent call was made by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, during his meeting with South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, to discuss on the status of implementation of the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), IGAD said in a statement issued on Friday.

“The discussion focused on three outstanding critical tasks that are necessary for the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) on November 12, 2019,” an IGAD statement issued on Friday read.

The eight-member East African bloc also noted that issues related with the transitional security arrangements, reconstitution of the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) and the number of states and their boundaries were the primary focus areas during the IGAD’s special envoy and South Sudan’s President.

“The Special Envoy underscored the need to disburse the balance of 100 million U.S. dollars pledged by South Sudan’s government in May 2019, to expedite the implementation of pending tasks, in particular, those relating to cantonment and training of forces,” the statement read.

Kiir, during discussions with IGAD’s Special Envoy on the reconstitution of the DDR Commission, also “promised to nominate candidates to the Commission without further delay,” according to IGAD.

Wais further emphasized that a face-to-face meeting between Kiir and the opposition leader Riek Machar is “key to unlocking some of the challenges surrounding the outstanding issues.”

“President Kiir expressed his willingness and readiness to meet with Machar in Juba,” the statement read. Kiir also “reaffirmed his unwavering support and commitment to the peace process.”

Issues concerning on non-signatories of South Sudan’s revitalized peace deal is also said to be another major area of discussion among Wais and Kiir, in which the IGAD Special Envoy also expressed his “commitment to continue engaging the non-signatories.”

Wais also urged the Kiir “to continue doing whatever is possible, within his powers and resources available to ensure full implementation of the R-ARCSS.”

The IGAD Special Envoy on Friday completed a weeklong mission to Juba, capital of South Sudan, where he held various discussions on issues related to the implementation of the peace agreement with South Sudan government officials, party leaders, peace agreement institutions and mechanisms, diplomatic communities based in the country as well as stakeholders, it was noted.

South Sudan’s conflict began in late 2013 after forces loyal to Machar against troops loyal to President Kiir. The conflict has since then created one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.

In September 2018, South Sudan’s conflicting parties signed a peace deal in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa after negotiations brokered by the Sudanese government and mandated by IGAD, which among other things will once again reinstates Machar as Kiir’s deputy.

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