South Sudan opposition military spokesman Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng [Photo by Sudans Post]
KHARTOUM – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLA-IO, has said regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which mediated the 2018 peace agreement, will have no grounds to reject a request by the SPLA-IO military to allow their leader, Dr. Riek Machar, to visit them for consultation on the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
This comes a day after the SPLA-IO Chief of General Staff, General Simon Gatwech Dual, wrote a letter to the regional bloc asking it to allow Machar to visit him so that he could be briefed and consulted on the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
In an exclusive interview with Sudans Post on Saturday, the SPLA-IO official military spokesman Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng said security arrangements provision in the peace agreement is at a cross road because the other side to the deal has not ordered its troops to report to training centers across the country.
“According to the peace agreement, 41,000 soldiers from the SPLA-IO should be deployed together with their counterparts from the SSPDF in the first phase of the implementation of the security arrangements,” Gatjiath said from Magenis.
“But as of now, the security arrangements is not event being talked of according to what we see and our observation on peace process,” he added.
Asked what would be the next step if IGAD refuse to allow Machar to visit his forces, Gatjiath said the regional body would have no grounds to reject the request by the opposition military chief, saying the implementation of the security arrangements which would have been concluded by now, according to implementation matrix, has not yet been implemented.
“South Sudan peace guarantors will have no ground to reject our request to allow Dr. Riek Machar to visit the headquarters. If they are serious in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, they have to allow Dr. Riek Machar, the chairman of the movement, to come and brief the movement in the headquarters,” said the opposition spokesman.
“I don’t see any reason for South Sudan peace guarantors to disregard the deployment of the unified forces because it is agreed upon in the revitalized peace agreement and security arrangements .” he further said.
Machar signed the revitalized peace agreement with Kiir in September 2018 in Addis Ababa. The agreement provided for the reunification of the rival forces to establish the country’s first professional national army, police and national security service.
Regional and international observers have said that the reunification of forces was in jeopardy as government forces have not reported to joint training centers across the world’s youngest county.