Postponement of peace negotiations between the conflict parties in South Sudan
Juba ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Mediators of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have adjourned peace talks between the South Sudanese warring parties, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, according to latest reports. IGAD is yet to make a formal statement on the new development but some members at the talks confirmed the development to New Vision.
The chief negotiator of the armed opposition group SPLM-IO, Taban Deng, said the negotiations were suspended after the parties failed to agree on core issues such as the powers of the proposed Prime Minister position and federalism in South Sudan. He acknowledged they agreed on the duration of the transitional period during which the unity government will rule, which will be 30 months. For his part, the spokesman of the government delegation Michael Makuei confirmed that the talks will be halted until 16 October and the matter of the Prime Minister’s powers will be referred to a Summit of the IGAD Heads of State to discuss within the coming days.
Makuei said that they agreed on the duration of the period but not on the duration of the pre-transitional period – referring apparently to the time between the signing of an agreement and the date of its entry into force. He added that the government proposed three months whereas the SPLM-IO proposed one month.
According to Pagan Amum, the peace talks have made significant progress, with negotiators showing a more positive attitude than in previous rounds.
The regional bloc overseeing the talks, IGAD, had set 10 August deadline to agree on a transitional government and implement a ceasefire.
The last round of talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar stalled in June.
Conflict erupted in December after Mr Kiir accused Mr Machar – his sacked deputy – of plotting a coup.
Mr Machar denied the allegation, but then marshalled a military force to fight the government.
More than 1.5 million people have since been displaced and the UN has warned that the country is on the verge of famine.
South Sudan is the world’s newest state and became independent in 2011.
The US and the EU have slapped sanctions on military leaders on both sides of the conflict and Igad (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development) has threatened measures if both sides continue to violate previous peace deals.