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ADDIS ABABA - 16 Feb 2018

Power-sharing talks break down over Kiir exclusion

File photo: President Salva Kiir
File photo: President Salva Kiir

Talks between South Sudan’s parties on power sharing at the ongoing peace talks have broken down after the opposition coalition demanded that the country’s president Salva Kiir should not lead the transitional government, accusing him of violating the 2015 peace accord.

In a document seen by Radio Tamazuj this afternoon, the opposition groups also demanded that the warring parties should agree on main principles before negotiations and discussions on the best way of instituting the transitional government.

The groups said that the country should adopt a federal system of governance during the transitional period through effective division of powers and resources between the federal state and local government.

The groups also demanded equitable distribution of resources among the three levels of the government on the basis of well-defined transfers and accountability criteria.

They also demanded annulment of 32 states and revert to the 10 states as stipulated in the 2015 peace deal in addition to the two administrative areas of Pibor and Abyei.

“During the traditional period, parties to the agreement shall commit themselves to adhere to lean government at all levels so as to save the limited resources for rebuilding the livelihoods of the people and the reconstruction of the country that has been devastated,” the document reads in part.

They also said there is need for women’s participation and inclusion in all political institution of governance and that it should be guaranteed at not less than 35%.

The coalition also demanded that special attention should be given to youth and persons with disabilities and the participation and inclusion should be guaranteed at all levels of governance. The groups also called for dissolution of institutions of government, while demanding that the state of emergency should be lifted upon the signing of the agreement

Emanuel Aban, spokesman of the opposition coalition at the peace talks, confirmed that talks on governance and power sharing collapsed after the government delegation objected to their principles.

“We said we cannot negotiate on power sharing without any agreement on the key issues. The government continued with the talks and the opposition refused to participate,” he said.

The opposition official pointed out that the deliberations on security arrangements are still continuing. “I think no peace agreement will be signed today,” he said.

Edmund Yakani, a leading civil society activist, confirmed that there was no breakthrough on power sharing today.

“We tried to lobby the parties through religious leaders. Right now the religious leaders are consulting the principles of the parties separately,” he said.

“The government and the opposition groups have divergent views,” he added.

The South Sudanese activist said he was less hopeful a final peace deal could be struck in Addis Ababa today.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) ,  a human rights entity in South Sudan, called on the East African regional bloc IGAD not to allow the South Sudanese warring parties to leave Addis Ababa without signing a peace agreement today.

CPJ's Executive Director Tito Anthony said IGAD should take action against South Sudan leaders.