Kiir, Machar sign deal on unified command, immediate ceasefire
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar Teny who also the chairman of the main armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA-IO) have this evening signed an agreement on the unified army command and a cessation of hostilities agreement effective immediately.
JUBA – President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar who doubles as the chairman and commander in chief of the main armed opposition SPLM/SPLA (IO) have this evening signed an agreement on the unified army command and a cessation of hostility agreement effective immediately.
The agreement was signed following several days of talks conducted by Vice-President of Sudanese Transitional Sovereign Council General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo who travelled to Juba two days ago to meet the parties separately to present a Sudanese proposal to resolve tensions which have escalated recently between the parties.
General Daglo’s visit to Juba comes a week after his boss General Abdelfattah al Burhan jetted into Juba to consult with President Kiir on the implementation of the agreement following an announcement by the SPLM-IO of its withdrawal from security mechanisms and peace monitoring bodies over ‘continued attacks’ by the forces loyal to President Kiir in Unity and Upper Nile states.
Ethiopia had also sent its defense minister to meet the parties over the escalation over the weekend which also led to deployment of heavily armed security forces comprising members of the South Sudan National Security Service (NSS) and South Sudan People’s Defense Forces.
In the agreement, President Kiir and First Vice President Machar agreed on the creation of a unified armed forces command with in one week’s time. The unification of rival armies’ command is one of several crucial unresolved issues holding up implementation of the 2018 deal to end the country’s bloody five-year civil war.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Martin Abucha, the minister of mining who signed on behalf of the SPLM-IO, said his group is willing to the implementation of the agreement for the sake of peace and security in the world’s youngest country.
“Peace is about security and today we have (achieved) a milestone,” he said.
For his part, presidential advisor on security affairs and head of the National Transitional Committee Tutkew Gatluak said his group and the government are committed to the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and urged citizens to rally behind the leaders in pursuing the peace implementation.
“This to inform everyone that we are for peace and let all of us works for peace,” Gatluak who signed on behalf of President Salva Kiir said.
Tensions between forces loyal to Kiir and former rebel leader Machar have spiraled recently, triggering fears in the international community of a return to full-blown conflict in the world’s youngest nation.
Both men were present at the ceremony in the capital Juba for the signing of the accord, which stipulates a 60-40 distribution of key leadership posts in the army, police and national security forces.
Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, currently the number two in Sudan’s post-coup ruling council, had arrived in Juba on Friday on a bid to break the deadlock over the security arrangements.
Sudan drew up the proposal after Kiir on March 25 issued a presidential decree on the formation of the command structure, a move that had been swiftly rejected by Machar as a “unilateral” action.
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