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JUBA - 15 Jan 2020

No breakthrough in Kiir-Machar talks but meeting to continue

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar ended a meeting Wednesday without breaking a deadlock over the contentious issue of the number of states and their boundaries.

Both leaders seek to end the deadlock over the number of states and security arrangements as part of the peace deal.

Pouk Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO's director for information, told Radio Tamazuj that the two principles met but failed to break the impasse over the contentious issue of the number of states and their boundaries.

Pouk said: "Not much headway made today. The two leaders agreed to meet again probably tomorrow".

Tut Gatluak, Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, said the meeting was "productive" and both sides reiterated their commitment to form a unity government by 22 February.

Tut further said progress is being made on negotiations on the contentious issue of the number of states. “There will be further consultations between all parties to the peace agreement. The South African deputy president is the facilitator of the talks on the issue of states, so we agreed to allow him to continue leading the talks,” Tut said.

“We have not agreed on the issue of states because the government still insists on maintaining the 32 states,” he said.

 The face-to-face meeting in Juba was attended by deputy head of Sudan’s sovereign council Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, better known as Hemeti.

The rival parties have twice failed to form the unity government, first in May 2019 and then in November the same year, when they agreed to give themselves100 days to resolve disputed issues and form a unity government by 22 February 2020.

Under the terms of the peace deal, the parties are to create a unified army to reduce the chances of fighting again and agree on the number of states and their boundaries.

Last month, the rival parties moved from their original five divergent positions towards consensus on two positions, which are 23+1 and 32+ states.