South Sudan rival parties draw redline ahead of peace talks

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April 25, 2018 (JUBA)- Rival parties in South Sudan peace talks have drawn up lines and toughen positions over key issues requiring compromise from both sides to end the more than four-year civil war.

The South Sudanese presidential adviser on decentralization and intergovernmental linkage, Tor Deng Mawien told Sudan Tribune he is optimistic the next round of peace talks would result in a peace deal unless opposition groups insist President Salva Kiir steps down and demand the dissolution of key institutions.

“The position of the transitional government of national unity has been clear from the revitalization talks started. The IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] was also clear. The objective of the revitalization was to examine the peace and see areas where there is a need to expedite implementation. It was not new negotiations. But in Addis now, the opposition has taken revitalization to mean renegotiations and that is why they came up with demands which have nothing to do with the peace agreement,” Mawien said on Wednesday.

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“The IGAD was not calling for a renegotiation of the agreement,” he added.

The presidential aide, instead, proposed what he called as a “comprehensive plan” that included an “expanded government”.

There are, however, no indications that the Juba government would accept that the president step downs as the first stage of a political transition, a demand earlier proposed by all the opposition groups.

The official, during the interview, repeatedly referred to “plots” against his country and the role of the opposition, long portrayed as an element in what started as a political wrangle for power in 2013.

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Mawien said the young nation was not facing a revolution, but simply a “bunch of power hungry politicians” and “western puppets.

“We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word and actions”, stressed the presidential aide.

The spokesman for the group of the country’s former detainees described president Kiir as “a clear obstacle to peace and stability”.

“When the president regrets saying he saved lives of some people, what does it mean? It means it he has no intention to stop the war and this implies that he is a clear obstacle to peace and return of stability to the country. With such thinking, even if he is forced to sign the peace, he will not honour it,” Kosti Manibe said Wednesday.

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He added, “That is why our proposal advocates stepping down because he [Kiir] will not implement the agreement. The agreement requires a genuine partner but Salva Kiir can never be a genuine partner”.

The South Sudanese leader on Tuesday rejected calls from sections of opposition groups that he resigns as part of a peace deal to end the country’s ongoing civil war.

Addressing mourners of the late army chief, Gen. James Ajongo Mawut in the capital, Juba, Kiir accused the opposition of working to ensure he relinquishes power.

(ST)

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