Riek Machar shakes hands with President Salva Kiir Riek Machar shakes hands with President Salva Kiir 

Diplomat calls for regional pressure on South Sudan leaders

A senior United States diplomat has called on IGAD countries to put pressure on the two main peace partners in South Sudan if they are to move forward with the formation of a Government of National Unity. This is according to a report published by the 'Sudan Tribune,' online.

Africa Service – Vatican City

Both President Salva Kiir and his main rival, Riek Machar were supposed to have formed a unity government by 12 November 2019. They asked for 100 days extension, which was granted.

There are growing echoes for more pressure to be exerted on the two leaders to make progress on negotiations and enter into a power-sharing arrangement.

50th day of the 100 days extension elapses without progress

The Sudan Tribune quotes the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor P. Nagy, calling for more pressure to be exerted on the two leaders. His call comes as South Sudan crossed the 50th day of the 100-days extension without any substantial progress.

“IGAD secretariat should hold President Kiir and Dr Machar accountable and urge compromise,” Tibor said. He further expressed his disappointment that contentious issues remain unresolved referring to the security arrangements and the number of states and their boundaries.

Peace deal must not unravel

With less than 50 days remaining before the February extension deadline, there are concerns that if a Government of National Unity is not formed, the peace deal could start to unravel.

The fighting has generally stopped

So far, the September 2018 peace deal seems to be holding. At least in terms of the ceasefire, South Sudan has relatively remained quiet. The two warring parties have stopped fighting and people are slowly regaining their freedom of movement.

The worst-case scenario would be a unity government that is dysfunctional and then falls apart.

IGAD states need to save the peace deal

There are now calls that the heads of state of the regional group, IGAD, which has been helping mediate between South Sudan’s warring parties, takes a more hands-on approach. In the interests of peace, IGAD should shun any divisions within the bloc.

If the peace agreement is to be saved, President Museveni of Uganda; Kenyan President Uhuru; Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy and the new Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok -all need to work together to pressure both President Kiir and his rival Machar to commit to a realistic power sharing arrangement.

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06 January 2020, 16:44