Kiir-Machar talks on states see no 'breakthrough'
President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar ended days of meetings Tuesday without breaking a deadlock over the number of states and their boundaries.
Machar is in Juba for a visit to hold talks with Kiir as both leaders seek to end the impasse over the number of states and security arrangements.
Today’s meeting was held in the presence of the deputy head of Sudan’s sovereign council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti.
Sudan and Uganda are guarantors to the peace deal that seeks to more than five years of civil war in South Sudan.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Machar said that his negotiations with Kiir over the number of states and their boundaries have not led to any "breakthrough."
Machar however expressed hope that the South African deputy president can play a big role in bridging the divergent viewpoints of the parties.
“We haven’t made any breakthrough but we decided to wait for the South African deputy president because he was working together with our committees,” Machar said. “We will wait for his report perhaps he will be able to break the deadlock over the number states.”
Machar said they agreed to set up a special fund to help support the implementation of the peace deal, which is behind schedule due to lack of money.
“We agreed to lobby for support from some donor countries, and we also have to put money in the fund to support the activities of the peace agreement during the transitional period,” he explained.
Machar pointed out that they agreed to speed up screening, registration and training of their forces that will form the necessary unified force in the country.
“We want to make sure that the forces start their training next week so that we speed up the process within the framework of 100 days,” he stressed.
Machar said they agreed with Kiir to allow freedoms to disseminate the signed peace agreement to help the people on the ground understand the peace process.
”We agreed to allow freedom of the media so that we can disseminate the peace agreement, we want the situation to change because there is peace,” he said.
He further said they emphasized the need to allow free movement of people across the country.
For his part, Kiir said a transitional unity government should be formed by February 2020 as planned, stressing that there should be no more extensions.
“I am of the view that the progress is continued within a transitional government if there are outstanding issues. We will ask the transitional government to take up that unfinished business,” Kiir said.
The South Sudanese leader confirmed that he agreed with Machar to establish a fund to back the implementation of the peace deal, saying they will ensure transparency in the spending of the peace funds.
Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s sovereign council, said the two leaders have chosen the path of peace and stability in South Sudan. “We had a good meeting in which we discussed everything in a transparent way, so we did not hide anything during the meeting,” he said.
The Sudanese official says the peace process in South Sudan is progressing well.
Government and opposition leaders have extended the deadline to form a unity government twice, most recently on November 7, 2019, and have twice failed to make any progress towards a unity government or adequate implementation of the peace agreement.
On November 12, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar were given 100 days to resolve outstanding issues and form a transitional government in February 2020.The parties have failed to create a unified army and determine the number of states since the revitalized peace deal was signed in September 2018.