South Sudan’s Kiir, opposition head hold talks in Juba

JUBA, Sudan

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar on Monday entered into talks in the capital Juba, with an aim to resolve the impasse in peace implementation.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs Tut Gatluak said President Kiir and Machar discussed issues related to the implementation of the peace agreement signed between them last year.

Based on the agreement, which was signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018 under the mediation of East Africa’s eight-nation trading and security bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the South Sudanese government and opposition should have formed a transitional government in May leading to elections in 30 months.

The pre-transitional period was extended by another six months through Nov. 12, but many issues remain pending, particularly concerning security arrangements, federal state formation, and military movement.

Gatluak said that the two leaders discuss issues on the security arrangement, adding the implementation of security arrangement is going well and the transitional government will be formed on Nov. 12.

“The two leaders agreed that all the remaining issues have to be implemented before the deadline ends,” Gatluak said.

South Sudan slid into crisis when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president in December 2013 on suspicion of plotting a coup, followed by a protracted civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands and forced 4 million people to flee their homes.

Before a 2018 peace deal, five years of fighting between the two leaders crippled the country, with millions displaced and almost 400,000 people dead from violence and disease.
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