Kiir, Machar to meet over number of states

Kiir, Machar after meeting in J1 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

November 11th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and main armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny are meeting in late November over the number and boundaries of states, a senior Ethiopian diplomat said.

The two rivals in September last year signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement to end the ongoing civil war which started in December 2013 after a dispute within the ruling SPLM party sparked fighting in the country’s then SPLA army.

The agreement called for a political action between the parties to the agreement over the states dispute. Kiir wants to maintain the 32 states he initially created as 28 while Machar who initially called for the division of the country into 21 “federal states” wants the country returned to its initial 10 states.

Kiir and Machar were required by the agreement to form a 36-month unity government by May 2019 with the former maintaining his current position as president and the later as first vice-president.

Following a meeting in Addis Ababa on May 3, the parties to the agreement decided to adjourn the government formation to November 12th which is just tomorrow.

With the pre-transitional tasks not in place to enable a government formation again this time, Kiir and Machar met last week in Uganda to adjourned  again for February next year.

Speaking to Nyamilepedia this evening, a senior Ethiopian diplomat in Addis Ababa said the regional bloc, IGAD, which mediated the 2018 peace agreement was preparing for a meeting between Kiir and Machar to settle the issue of states.

“We are preparing for a meeting between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to decide on the issue of the number and boundaries of states,” the Ethiopian diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.

“We believe that the one army will be established by February 2020 but the number of states is an issue that need the intervention of the two leaders,” he added.

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