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JUBA - 20 Jun 2018

Government rejects two armies as Kiir, Machar set to meet

South Sudan’s government has rejected any views which advocate retention of the two armies system as Kiir and Machar prepare to hold talks, citing the July 2016 events at the presidential palace.

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar will meet today in Addis Ababa to discuss all outstanding issues.

“The discussion will be on governance and security issues. We had been discussing the security, and we have differences on the timeframe. The opposition is talking about 12-18 months, while the government is talking about 120 days for integration of the forces. If we take the position that has been suggested by the opposition, it is just the same like what happened last time,” Awut Deng Achuil, minister of gender and social welfare told reporters in Juba.

“We cannot afford the two armies in South Sudan any more that’s why the time has to be shortened so that when we start the transitional period, we start the transitional period with one army,” she added.

The top government official explained that the two leaders will discuss contentious issues on governance.” We have the issue of parliament that is being suggested to be dissolved. So, it is very difficult to dissolve an elected parliament, so this is a key area to be discussed,” she said.

Awut underscored that her government wants a bloated government to ensure inclusivity during the transitional period.

“The structures of the office of the president are going to be discussed with the opposition leader Riek Machar. I think if there are issues that will arise I cannot predict, but these are the key issues that we know in the governance issue and the security arrangement,” she concluded.

Minister Awut Deng was accompanying President Kiir to Addis Ababa this afternoon.