JUBA/KHARTOUM – A US diplomat has told South Sudan rivals parties to put aside the dispute on the number and boundaries of states and form the unity government provided for in the 2018 peace agreement.
President Salva Kiir and several opposition groups signed a peace deal in 2018 to end the civil war. That peace require them to form a unity government but a number of pending issues is pending that action from being taken.
These includes the dispute on the number and boundaries of states and their boundaries. The other thing – which is very important to the opposition – is the formation of the unified army drawn from the rival forces.
As a deadline approaches in February, those pre-transitional activities have not been implemented and the government is insisting that they are implemented first before the government is formed.
Kiir’s government wants the government formed and then takeover the issues which are still pending.
Speaking during a press briefing from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Tibor Nagy called on the South Sudan parties to put aside the states disputed and form the unity government.
“There are a number of sticky issues still outstanding between the two principals in South Sudan, we know about those. You mentioned one of them, which is the number of states. And here’s the deal: if they try to, as we say, cross every “t” and dot every “i,” who knows when they can get around to announcing a unity government?” Nagy said.
“Here in Sudan, they had even more complicated issues to deal with during last year, when they formed the transitional government, and instead of trying to find solutions to all of these very difficult problems, they decided and agreed to just put those to the side, form the transitional government, and then deal with the issues during the transition period,” he added.
“I made the same pitch to both of the protagonists in the South Sudan scenario, because there is no reason why they cannot go ahead, form the unity government, and then agree to deal with those issues.
“I mean, take the number of states. It’s really not going to be a technical decision, because you can get a committee of experts to come up with very, very precise lines on, you know, exactly where the state should be, but at the end of the day it’s going to be a political decision.
“You know, just like congressional districts in the United States. They’re political decisions. That’s what they’re going to have to agree on. It’s going to be a lot of give and take, you know, 10, 23, 24, 32, whatever; they have to agree to it.
“So why not go ahead, form the unity government, and then deal with these very, very difficult issues, because each party has their own constituents, to resolve. Otherwise, we’ll be having the same conversation in a year or – who knows – five years. Over.”