Gov’t, opposition groups were forced to agree on peace deal – Amum
August 4th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government and opposition groups were coerced into signing the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018 by the previous Sudanese government of President Omar El-Bashir, former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum said.
President Salva Kiir’s government and several opposition groups including the SPLM-IO led by the country’s First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar signed a preliminary agreement on August 5th 2018 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum amid regional and international pressure.
The parties signed the final version of what was named “Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan” (R-ARCSS) on September 12th in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to end the war that has since continued to rage on in part of Equatoria despite reported decline in other parts of the country.
Just before the parties could sign the preliminary agreement on August 5th, several opposition groups pulled out of talks citing monopoly of the agreement by the mediators in favor of the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
The National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) led by Dr. Hakim Dario boycotted the agreement and demanded that mediators address the issue of federalism and the number of states first.
The federal system of governance was defined in the agreement as a “popular demand” for South Sudanese but went short of its application as the governance system during the transitional period.
In an exclusive interview with Nyamilepedia on Friday, former SPLM Secretary-General Pagan Amum Okiech said the parties including the government of President Salva Kiir were forced to sign the agreement by the Khartoum mediation and had no choice but to sign it.
“The Khartoum peace deal or what came to be known as the Revitalized – Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was actually a deal that was imposed on the parties by the then government of Omar El Bashir,” Amum told Nyamilepedia from the US.
“In fact Sudan was using their mediation role to pursue their own interests. All parties to conflicting South Sudan were coerced into that so called revitalized agreement in Khartoum, and subsequently signed in Addis on September 12, 2018,” he added.
Amum said Khartoum was threatening President Salva Kiir’s government that it will support opposition groups should it reject to sign the draft agreement that would set a new precedent for South Sudan to have five vice-president and will see the return – once again – of prominent opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar as First Vice-President.
“First the government of President Kiir was blackmailed by Khartoum, with Khartoum threatening to support the opposition to overthrow Kiir if he would not accept the demands of Bashir’s government. On June 5th Kiir was forced to make so many concessions to Sudan, that have violated South Sudan territorial integrity and gravely jeopardized its national interests,” Amum revealed.
Amum who resigned in June as the leader of the SPLM-FDs and from the historical SPLM party further brought to light that President Kiir was forced to make concessions such as agreeing to concede 19 miles to Sudan in Heglig and paying the Sudan $5 billions in compensation to damages done in Heglig during 2012 crisis.
He also revealed that the government was forced to agree to pay Sudan $3.4 billions of what is called “outstanding arrears of Transitional Financial Arrangements” as well as withdrawal of South Sudan forces from Mile 14 area in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal state and to be silence on the issue of Abyei.