Sudan: Cautious Optimism As S. Sudan Leaders Agree On Issue of Security

There was cautious optimism by South Sudanese, observers and the international community last week as the main protagonists in the South Sudan conflict made considerable progress in security arrangements.

Only the issue of the number of states the country should have remains unresolved.

Opposition leader Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Tuesday and held two face-to-face meetings with President Salva Kiir in Juba.

Among the six-point arrangements is that; all 40 cantonments for the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) forces are to start operating immediately.

Second, all VIP protection forces must be put under cantonment where they will undergo registration, screening, selection, and unification before training.

The Tiger Division, which acts as President Kiir's elite security will be treated like any other armed forces and will be screened and registered.

The two leaders decided to create a special unit called Republican Guards, which will be responsible for protecting opposition leaders, in which half of them will come from SPLM-IO. The next phase of security arrangement is that two leaders will soon constitute the Disarmament, Demobilisation and the Rehabilitation (DDR) Commission.

They also agreed to embark on the draft constitutional amendment, enact new security laws, spread the peace message and engage non-signatories to the revitalised peace accord to come on board.

Both agreed to iron-out and accelerate the deal prior to the formation of the transitional government of national unity on November 12.

LACK OF FUNDS

But there are still concerns that the country lacks the money to implement the security arrangements since President Kiir who had pledged $100 million has only released $30 million.

D. Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy to Juba called on all the Parties to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan to compromise and resolve all issues through dialogue.

He also urged the international community and allies of South Sudan to continue supporting the implementation of the peace agreement to meet the critical milestones set for the formation of the Revitalized Government of National Unity on November 12.

Both President Kiir and Dr Machar agreed in the Tuesday meeting to form the new transitional government on November 12.

But more significant is that the SPLM-IO has decided to relocate its headquarters to Juba from Pow State in the former larger Upper Nile, which means the party's secretary-general will operate from the capital Juba.

James Oryema said the move to move the headquarters is a symbolic gesture that signifies the end of the war.

However, the number of states and the funding for the implementation are still outstanding, which analysts say are core to the September 2018 peace agreement.

A former assistant minister for foreign affairs, Cirino Hiteng, who is also a member of the Former Detainees (FDs) remains sceptical that the parties will keep their word and also doubts whether President Kiir's government will release the funds.

"The fact that Dr Machar was escorted to Juba by Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo of Sudan says a lot. President Kiir has no money to even run the government for six months," said Dr Hiteng.

Notably, the two leaders did not discuss the issue of a Hybrid Court, a key pillar of the agreement that is supposed to hold accountable those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity since 2013.

The remaining contentious issues are the number of states the country should have and formation of the Independent Boundaries Commission.

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