Roundup: South Sudan leaders vow commitment to peace

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-12 01:03:50|Editor: yan
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JUBA, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar on Wednesday lauded the progress made towards resolving critical challenges facing the implementation of the revitalized peace deal which was inked in September 2018.

After a meeting in Juba, the two leaders said they have chosen the path of peace and are confident that the signatories to the revitalized peace agreement could agree on most outstanding issues such as security arrangements and number of states before forming a unity government in November.

"Our meeting with opposition leader Riek Machar is progressing well and we could reach agreement on understanding issues and find a solution very soon. So be rest assured that things are going well," Kiir said in a joint news conference after the meeting.

Machar, leader of South Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO), who is also a designated first Vice President, said the second face-to-face meeting with Kiir achieved important progress.

"Juba has been home even though I go away today. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will determine my status to be free to come and discuss more with you here, but our discussion here has made important progress," said Machar.

Recently, the regional bloc hailed the ongoing meeting of the two leaders. Signatories to the fragile peace agreement on May 3 agreed to extend the formation of the transitional government by six months following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved issues.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and Broadcasting said the two leaders agreed to form the Transitional Government of National Unity by the Nov. 12 dateline from the signed 2018 peace deal to end more than five years of conflict.

"As for today these were minor issues that did not call for any disagreement, so the principals are fully satisfied that the (peace) agreement is progressing very well and as a result the government will be established in time," Makuei told journalists in Juba after the two leaders had met.

He disclosed that they have made progress in the security arrangements as forces are currently being screened, registered before entering the cantonment sites.

"All the forces at present are in their cantonment sites where they are being screened now and those who are screened will be moving soon or have already started moving to the training centers," added Makuei.

The warring parties earlier on agreed to speed up screening and registration of their forces that will form the unified 83,000 force to provide security in the country.

The two principals also agreed to set up an ad-hoc committee to look into the issues of determining the number of states and demarcation of tribal boundaries which is being overseen by the Technical Border Committee (TBC) and the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC).

Henry Odwar, deputy head of the main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in opposition (SPLM-IO) led by Machar disclosed that they also discussed on the draft constitutional amendment and opening up of more political space.

"We discussed issues of (draft) constitutional amendment that is going to be presented to parliament. We also discussed about the security laws. We also discussed the issue of non-signatory parties led by Thomas Cirilo, Paul Malong and the need to bring them on board, without them this peace may have difficulty," said Odwar.

He added that they also discussed the need for wide spread dissemination of peace messages across the country including in the Protection of Civilian sites (PoCs), diaspora and refugee camps.

"The two principals have agreed that we will have a committee and this committee will look more into the IBC report and if we reach a consensus, that will be great; if we don't reach consensus, the principles will have to come together again with a final position on the number of states." said Odwar.

He also revealed the peace implementation needs funding in order to speed up implementation before the November deadline.

The South Sudan government already released 33 million U.S. dollars out of the estimated 100 million dollars budget for peace implementation.