South Sudan rivals gave contradicting statements on unity gov’t formation

Photo: President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar speak to reporters after their meeting in Juba on December 17, 2019 | Credit: Eye Radio via Radio Tamazuj

December 18th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s two main rivals, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar, on Tuesday gave two contradicting statements on the formation of the long-awaited Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU).

The two men have been meeting for a week in the capital Juba to try to resolve outstanding issues ranging from the security arrangements to the thorny issue of the number and boundaries of the states.

Machar returned to Juba last week in hope to resolve the issues affecting the agreement with Kiir. However, following week-long meetings, it appears the two leaders failed to agree on the issues hampering efforts to try to form the unity government on time as agreed in November in Uganda.

In statements to the media following the last session of their meeting in J1 on Monday evening, Kiir and Machar gave contradicting versions of what would happen next as part of the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement they both signed last year in Ethiopia.

“I am of the view that the progress is continued within a transitional government if there are outstanding issues. We will ask the transitional government to take up that unfinished business,” Kiir said.

A statement by South Sudan’s presidency said Kiir and Machar “agreed to form the R-TGoNU by the end of the extended 100-days Pre-Transitional Period regardless of the outstanding issues.”

Meanwhile the SPLM-IO said in a statement that the unity government “depends on the progress of the implementation of the outstanding critical issues in the context of 100-days of the Pre-Transitional Period.”

The two men have extended, several times, the pre-transitional period triggering international community to question South Sudan leaders’ political will in implementing the 2018 peace agreement aimed at ending the ongoing civil war.

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