South Sudan:Leaders in last minute efforts for a peace deal

kiir  and machar
President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar


South Sudan’s warring factions face an IGAD-imposed deadline to sign a peace agreement to end 19-month war before international sanctions are due to be imposed.

The civil war started in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused Riek Machar, who had been sacked as vice president, of attempting a coup.

President Salva Kiir arrived in Ethiopia Sunday for the peace talks aimed at brokering an end to civil war.

However Kiir, who said he had been “compelled” to join the talks alongside rebel leaders and regional presidents, warned it would not be possible to sign a lasting or full peace deal until all opposition factions could join the agreement.

Kiir’s arch-rival, rebel chief Riek Machar, has not appeared publicly in Addis Ababa but multiple sources said he had been in the Ethiopian capital for several days.

Thousands of people have have been killed in the 20-month civil war in South Sudan; a country which only gained independence from neighbouring Sudan four years ago.

On Tuesday, rebel generals said they had split from Machar. “Riek Machar has already been ousted and disowned by his own army and politicians,” Lomuro added. “If we are to sign peace then we have to sign a peace with all the factions and all the groups that are fighting.”

‘IGAD PLUS’ mediators have been pushing Kiir and Machar to sign a deal on 17 August, saying that a failure to meet this deadline could result in the imposition of sanctions.

However, other high level government sources indicated that Kiir resolved during recent meetings with other officials in Juba not to sign the IGAD ‘Compromise Proposal’, owing to objections to the demilitarization of Juba, the time frame for reintegration of rebel forces and the power-sharing provisions at the state level.

Sources indicated that the president would be more favorably disposed toward a version of the peace proposal discussed at a more recent Kampala summit. However, in a recent press statement, Riek Machar criticized the revisions reportedly made in Kampala.

The latest round of talks opened on August 6, mediated by the regional eight-nation bloc IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, as well as the United Nations, African Union, China and the “troika” of Britain, Norway and the United States.


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