11 May 2014

Sudan: Kiir, Machar to Meet Again in Addis Ababa Early Next Month

Khartoum — South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir and his political rival Riek Machar, the former vice president turned rebel leader, will meet early next month in Addis Ababa to assess implementation of the peace deal signed between the two sides last Friday. The Southern leading figure and university professor, Luka Biong, predicted that a system of governance similar to that of Kenya will be adopted in South Sudan, saying a prime minister position with broad powers will be introduced besides the president and vice president posts.

The peace deal which was signed between the two rivals in Addis Ababa went into effect on Saturday to end the nearly five-month-old conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year in the newborn state.

Biong told Sudan Tribune that transferring the issue of the interim government to the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) would facilitate agreement on its details given that it is a partisan and political issue, pointing to the need for the SPLM politburo to hold a meeting to settle internal differences and discuss the issue of the interim government.

He mentioned there are two options regarding formation of the interim government including establishing a government of technocrats or adopting the Kenyan system of governance by introducing a prime minister position, saying the latter option is the most effective one.

Biong underscored that the choice of forming a technocratic government is surrounded by fears of reproducing the crisis, noting it would be better that Kiir and Machar lead the coming period particularly as they "understood the lesson".

"In my view, they are best placed to run the country in the coming period", he added. He also warned against beneficiaries of war, saying they will try to nip the peace deal in the bud.

Biong further pointed to the need for exerting major efforts by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) monitors and the two parties in order to raise awareness on the implementation of the cessation of hostilities' agreement.

Friday's deal aims to speed up national reconciliation and to bring an immediate end to the conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced more than 1.3 million people.

Government and rebel negotiators signed a shaky ceasefire agreement on January 23rd but the deal was never implemented, with both sides trading accusations on violating its terms.

The Ethiopian foreign minister Tedros Adhanom wrote on Twitter today that he was disappointed on the ceasefire violation.

"Very disappointed that fighting broke out hours after the signing of the ceasefire by President Salva & Dr. Riek. Not surprising considering the absence of verification mechanism. ?#?UN? should endorse the resolution for the deployment Deterrence & Protection Force ( PDF) in ??South Sudan? soon to monitor the ceasefire agreement signed," Adhanom said.

The fighting has divided the country's army along ethnic lines, pitting Kiir's Dinka tribe against Machar's Nuer group.

The UN has accused both rival groups of committing crimes against humanity, including mass killings and gang rapes.

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