Extension of coalition government set at 24 months
South Sudan's parties to the peace agreement have agreed to set the extension of the transitional period at 24 months, multiple sources said.
Sudan's foreign affairs minister Ali al-Sadiq announced Wednesday that the parties to the peace agreement agreed to extend the transitional coalition government period.
President Salva Kiir and opposition groups signed a peace agreement in 2018 that ended five years of civil war. But the provisions of the deal remain largely unimplemented, and the parties placed February 2023 as the end of the transitional period.
The agreement encourages authorities to hold general elections before February 2023.
Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, sources with knowledge of the ongoing talks in Juba to extend the transitional period said the parties, which came to power in a revitalized peace agreement, agreed in principle on a 24-month period, to be counted after February 2023.
"In principle, the duration of the new transition has been set at 24 months, after February 2023. The parties agreed that there is a need to extend the transitional period,” one of the sources said.
The source further said a technical committee formed by the parties to the peace agreement is working to provide justifications to extend the transitional government’s lifespan.
"I can say that the parties have agreed in principle on a 24-months extension unless the principles want to make some changes to it. But the technical committee has agreed on 24 months,” the source said.
"The technical committee that was formed after the recent presidency meeting is working on the document. The committee is writing the document and when it is ready, it will be presented to the principles to sign it and then it will be made public,” the source added.
Another source said the parties to the peace agreement are worried about the reaction of the public to the extension of the coalition government after three years ended without major progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.
"Citizens believe that there is a lack of political will from the parties. However, we the parties will provide justifications to extend the transitional because there have been challenges that faced us in the implementation of the peace agreement, which include financial constraints and disagreements over some details,” the source said.
"Honestly, after we agreed on the 24 months extension, we are now looking for justifications to convince the public and the international community,” the source said. “During the discussions, President Kiir’s side presented three scenarios, which included holding the elections on time or drafting of the permanent constitution by foreign experts within a year, or discussing the appropriate timeframe for implementing the critical tasks after February 2023.”