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Machar’s SPLM-IO will not join unity gov’t if states impasse not resolved

Photo: SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar speaks during a peace ceremony in Juba, South Sudan on October 31, 2018 | Credit: AKUOT CHOL/AFP via Getty Images

January 19th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, will not be a part of any unity government formed without the dispute on the number and boundaries of states not resettled, a senior opposition official allied to the group said on Sunday.

This comes two days after senior SPLM-IO officials said during a press conference held in Juba that the main armed opposition group will only participate in the unity government formation if a condition – deployment a regional protection force in Juba agreed upon by the parties in 2016 – is accepted by President Kiir’s government.

The parties are approaching a February deadline in which they are required – by the 2018 peace agreement – to form what would be the Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).

Key provisions of the revitalized peace agreement are not in place. These includes the security arrangements (establishment of a unified national army, police and national security) and the resolution of the dispute on the number and boundaries of states.

While Kiir wants the government be formed in February 2020 as agreed by the parties in November last year, opposition groups – notably the SPLM-IO and the NDM – wants the pre-transitional provisions be resolved first so that – in their own words – another conflict is avoided.

Speaking to Nyamilepedia in an exclusive interview this afternoon, SPLM-IO governor of Imatong state, Nathaniel Pierino, said his group will not be a party to any government if the number of states is to remain unresolved.

He said the parties had to extend the pre-transitional period for 100 days in November last year because these arrangements were not in place and that extending it would give them time to resolves all these issues.

“The purpose for extension of the pre-transitional period by 100 days was to allow the parties to implement the pending tasks. If the number of states is not determined, how can the revitalized government be formed?” the senior opposition official asked.

The official said as the agreement provides for the restructuring of the country’s legislature – which is made up of two chambers (the Council of states and the National Legislative Assembly – the resolution of the number and boundaries of states was vital for the transitional government formation.

“Revitalized Government shall be composed of executive, legislature and the judiciary, the number of states is critical for the restructuring of the Council of States which is one of the chambers of the legislature,” he said.

“Determination of the number of states and their boundaries facilitate the resolutions of conflict created by the 32 states in the country,” he further added.

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