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Machar urged to return to Juba to save peace deal

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

November 5th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar has been urged to return to the country’s capital Juba in order to save the current fragile peace process from collapse.

President Salva Kiir and Machar signed a revitalized version of a 2015 peace agreement in September last year and that agreement provided for the formation of a unity government after a eight-month transitional period.

That period ended on May 12th but the parties could not form the government at the time because conditions for its formation such as the establishment of a unified national army, police and national security were not in place.

The pre-transitional period was then extended and that deadline is next week yet the parties to the agreement have not resolved the outstanding issues which are the conditions set forth by the agreement for formation of what would be Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).

Despite the absence of these arrangements in place, Kiir said several times that he will form the government in November and threatened at one point to do that even if Machar – a main signatory to the agreement – was to be excluded.

Machar – just like other opposition leaders such as Dr. Lam Akol – for his part threatened to opt out of the unity government unless the security arrangements are settled and the number and boundaries of states are determined.

Abraham Awolich, a researcher at the local think-tank, Sudd Institute, said Machar should return to Juba to save the peace agreement from collapse because once the president form the government, war will definitely resume.

The SPLM-IO, particularly Dr. Riek Machar, should move to Juba to allow for sustained interactions with the President in order to speedily overcome the remaining issues,” the academic said.

The SPLM-IO might pull out of the Agreement completely, resume the war or ask for the renegotiation of the Agreement,” he added.

The researched further said pulling out of the agreement and allowing President Kiir to form a unilateral agreement would be a negative decision for Machar who has been under an “illegal” arrest from regional and international community since 2016.

Allowing Kiir to form a government without Machar would be the worst of these options, since it would shatter the peace accord and, likely, the active military truce,” he said.

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