SPLM-IO says latest extension averts “return” to war

SPLM-IO leader and First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

November 10th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, has welcomed the latest extension of the pre-transitional period saying it will avert a return to the civil war.

South Sudan government and a number of opposition groups signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement in September last year to end the ongoing civil war which begun in December 2013.

A unity government was supposed to be formed last May but the parties had to extend that action to November 12th which is just the day after tomorrow because critical tasks necessary in forming a unity government were not completed during that period.

President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar met in Entebbe, Uganda, last Thursday and agreed to extend the pre-transitional period for 100 days after concluding that no progress had been made during the last six months.

The parties also met in Addis Ababa yesterday and endorsed the outcome of the Kiir-Machar Entebbe meeting officiating the extension for three month.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the SPLM-IO director of information and public relations Puok Both Baluang said the main armed opposition group welcomes the extension saying the latest action by Kiir and Machar will avert the possible return to war.

“[The SPLM-IO] welcome[s] the extension of the pre-transitional period for 100 days, to give room for implementation of the critical and fundamental issues such as; the security arrangements and the boundaries and number of states, among other things,” the statement partly read.

The statement said the main armed opposition group also “support[s] the new extension because it will avert a return to war and create a conducive environment for implementing the critical outstanding issues of the R-ARCSS. It is in the interest of the people of South Sudan and it will assist in alleviating their suffering, which will only happen when the government in Juba develops genuine will and accepts to implement the provisions of the Agreement in letter and spirit.”

The statement further urged the regional bloc, IGAD, which mediated the 2018 peace agreement to develop measures that will ensure the full implementation of the critical tasks saying the same issues will otherwise affect the unity government formation which is supposed – based on the latest extension – to be in place by February 22nd 2020.

“[The SPLM-IO] urges the guarantors of the R-ARCSS to adapt drastic measures to ensure that the 100 days will not face the same fate as the pre-transitional period and the extended pre-traditional period of the revitalized agreement, which passed without much having been achieved,” the statement said.

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