UK Urges S. Sudan Rivals to Establish Transitional Government Without Delay
The UK’s Minister for Africa James Duddridge has urged South Sudan’s warring parties to form a transitional government – in accordance a peace deal agreed in August – without delay.Progress was initially positive between South Sudan’s government and the country’s leading opposition group, but negotiations have since fallen apart. Rebel leader Riek Machar recently cited President Kiir’s 28 state decree as the only obstacle to establishing the nation’s transitional government – a move the majority of citizens are said to support.
After early progress, hopes were high that South Sudan’s government and rebel representatives would be able to reach an agreement over the weekend, but talks to agree terms for a transitional government have stalled.
The transitional government is a fundamental requirement of the peace deal agreed between President Kiir and rebel leader Machar in August last year. However, opposition members maintain that Kiir’s 28 states decree is not only unconstitutional, but also in direct violation of the agreement signed in August.
Rebel motives questioned
Both President Kiir’s government and Riek Machar’s rebel group have been accused of prolonging violence in South Sudan since war broke out in 2013. Both parties have been said to profit from ongoing tension in the oil-rich country, but it’s the 28 state decree that is now seen as the main obstacle to peace in South Sudan.
The question being asked is this: Is it President Kiir’s insistence on 28 states or the rebel’s opposition to the idea that is holding back progress towards peace? Both parties insist they are committed to bringing an end to violence in their country, but the government has raised questions over the motives of rebel party members.
“If the SPLM/IO become adamant that they wanted to only implement peace agreement on the basis of only 10 states, then that would be unthinkable,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny recently said.
“Because they themselves divided South Sudan into 21 states [from the initial 10], President Salva Kiir only added 7 states to become 28 states,” he added.
President Kiir maintains the 28 state decree is supported by the majority of voters in South Sudan and in the best interests of bringing better governance to remote areas of the country.