February 9, 2020, The government of South Sudan has threatened to opt out of the IGAD mediation of the states impasse after the regional body proposed the reduction of the country’s 32 states.
The IGAD Council of Ministers approved, during a meeting in Addis Ababa on Saturday, 23 states, one of the outstanding critical tasks, which has hindered the formation of the unity government.
A peace agreement signed in 2018 provided for the determination of the number of states and their boundaries before a unity government could be formed.
The parties are now on loggerhead as they say they won’t be part to the unity government unless the number of states us determined.
On Saturday, the IGAD council of ministers meeting in Addis Ababa decided to endorse 23 states for South Sudan. President Kiir who was at the meeting rejected the endorsement.
Speaking to reporters in Addis Ababa this morning, information minister Michael Makuei said South Sudan may seek another mediator on the issue and said IGAD seemed to be overwhelmed by the situation in the country.
“It is clear that the IGAD is overwhelmed by the situation in our country. They should tell us that they can’t do the mediation so that we can look for another person to mediate for us,” Makuei said.
Yesterday, Makuei said the government of South Sudan will on on with the formation of the revitalized transitional government even if “IGAD like it or not.
Meanwhile US, UK Norway “Rejected” Govt Formation Before Solving Number Of States And Boundaries
The Troika countries (United States, United Kingdom and Norway) said on Thursday that they won’t accept unity government formation before the resolution of the pre-transitional period activities.
But because of disagreement over pending issues, there is confusion whether the parties to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement will form the government as government defies calls to reduce the number of states
In a statement on Friday, the Troika issued a statement following a meeting in London a day early calling on the parties to the revitalized peace agreement to compromise on the outstanding issues.
“On Thursday 6 February the three Troika Envoys for South Sudan met in London. The UK Special Representative for the Sudans, Bob Fairweather and the Norwegian Special Envoy Endre Stiansen were joined by the newly-appointed US Special Envoy for South Sudan Stuart Symington.
“They discussed the status of the South Sudan peace process, two weeks from the scheduled formation of the transitional government. This critical deadline has now been delayed twice. In their discussions the Envoys emphasised the importance of beginning the transitional period on time and called on the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.
“The Envoys welcomed the role the region has played in supporting the process, including recent efforts by South Africa.
“They were concerned that despite these efforts, the parties have been unable to make sufficient progress on the outstanding issues.
“This lack of political will could derail the peace process and undermine the ceasefire, risking a return to violence at a time when the South Sudanese already face a devastating humanitarian crisis.
“The Troika agreed that the imminent IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and African Union meetings in Addis Ababa may be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline.
“The parties to the agreement, including the incumbent Government, must be prepared to make compromises and agree a way forward on outstanding issues, to enable the formation of an inclusive transitional government.
“Their people are watching, impatient to see the peace that their leaders have publicly committed to, but so far have been unwilling to deliver.
“The Envoys shared their assessment of the remaining challenges, and discussed possible responses to the scenarios around the 22 February deadline.
“The Troika remain engaged, and will continue to work with the region for the sake of South Sudan, whose short history has been blighted by conflict, corruption and terrible violence