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KUAJOK - 16 Feb 2018

Gogrial governor rejects two army system during interim period

The governor of South Sudan’s Gogrial state says a proposal at the peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to have two separate armies in the country should be rejected, saying it will only serve to create tension.

Governor Victor Atem  Atem told Radio Tamazuj on Friday that as citizens of South Sudan they are disappointed at what is going on in Addis as they follow the events closely.

Atem’s remarks follow a lack of agreement over power sharing in the on-going talks today. It remains unclear if they parties that are still discussing security arrangements will eventually sign an agreement today in Addis Ababa.

“Our people are following the on-going peace talks in Addis Ababa but what they hear is not encouraging. The talk of two separate army systems and the deployment of foreign troops to major towns in the country is not encouraging. The presence of the two armies creates tension. People saw what happened in Juba in July 2016, such arrangement should not be encouraged again,” he said.

The top state official said the mediation and negotiators at the talks should focus on how to end the conflict first and then discuss governance while in the country.

“What they should do in Addis is for them to agree to stop war and come back home to participate in discussions about how the country should be governed. And discussions about governance should not be decided by a few representatives. It needs participation of the people and the people to participate in these discussions are not in Addis Ababa, they are in South Sudan,” Atem advised.