Feb 25,2015(Nyamilepedia)— The two delegates, representing the warring parties in South Sudan conflict in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are said to have made agreements that are yet to be finalized on withdrawing foreign forces from the young nation, South Sudan.
According to Emmanuel Paul, who is representing civil society groups on a committee discussing security issues at the Addis Ababa peace talks, the warring parties have concluded a preliminary understanding on withdrawal of foreign troops, which have been battling alongside Salva Kiir forces in the country since conflict broke out 15 Dec-2013.
“We agreed on the disengagement, separation and withdrawal of the forces, including the allied forces,” said Emmanuel Paul of civil society group.
Mr. Emmanuel did not point out a particular unit of foreign troops he was referring to but concluded that “we are accommodating them within south Sudan.”
President Yoweri K. Museveni sent his forces into South Sudan shortly after the young country plunged into violence in December 2013.
Museveni originally claimed that his forces were in South Sudan to protect and evacuate Ugandans, however, his military spokesman Col. Paddy Arkunda later said they were helping the South Sudan army to fight rebels in key towns, including the capital Juba and Bor.
UPDF are still in South Sudan, despite the SPLM-IO’s call for their withdrawal in line with a cessation of hostilities agreement signed on January 23, 2014.
The tentative agreement on withdrawing foreign forces came on the second day of peace talks for South Sudan, which the mediators believe would be one of the last chances for South Sudan leaders to restore peace.
“This round of negotiations is the last chance to restore peace to South Sudanese vulnerable” said Seyoum Mesfin, the lead mediator of IGAD Peace talks.
IGAD has been leading the South Sudan peace process for nearly 14 months, however, the regional bloc has little to be proud of so far, other than an off-violated cessation of hostilities agreement, signed in January last year.
Delegates in Addis Ababa also discussed issues of governance, the South Sudan economy, and how to reunify the SPLM party, which split into rival factions when the fighting broke out.
Last month, the SPLM factions agreed at talks in Arusha, Tanzania, to reunify the party but on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, the committee tasked with discussing the Arusha deal failed to agree on how to implement the broader power-sharing proposal, which is a key to restoring peace.
The committee discussing South Sudan’s economic and financial future also hit a snag when delegates failed to agree on wealth-sharing in young nation.
“In spite of the obstacles, I remained hopeful that the two factions will reach a final peace deal by IGAD’s March 5 deadline”. Michael Makuei Lueth government spokesman.
The latest round of talks has gotten under way without President Salva Kiir’s presence. The US, United Kingdom and Norway, which together make up the TROIKA for South Sudan, said in a statement released on Monday that they were “deeply concerned” by Kiir’s absence.