US diplomat urges S. Sudan parties to resolve pending issues and form unity government
January 28th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – A senior United States diplomat has urged the parties in South Sudan to resolve the outstanding issues and get on to form the long-awaited transitional government of national unity.
The government and opposition groups signed a revitalized peace deal in September 2018 to end the ongoing civil war.
The agreement provided for the formation of a 36-month unity government in which Salva Kiir Mayardit would remain as President and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny would be reinstated to the first vice president position which he held prior to collapse of a 2015 peace agreement three years ago.
However, the parties could not form the government after several deadlines passed because the opposition wants pending issues be resolved first before they could form a unity government.
This, according to them, is to ensure a peaceful transition.
Speaking to journalist through phone from Khartoum on Monday, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs – Tibor Nagy – urged the South Sudan parties to implement the outstanding issues and form the unity government.
“There are a number of sticky issues still outstanding between the two principals in South Sudan,” Tibor said. “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?”
“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.
“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.”