South Sudanese rival leaders agree to 60 days ultimatum
June 10, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Leaders of the rival factions in the South Sudan conflict have agreed to a sixty-day deadline within which they will negotiate to reach a peace agreement that will end the six-month old violent conflict in the new country.
- South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 9 May 2014 aimed at resolving conflict in the country peacefully (Photo: Reuters)
President Salva Kiir and former vice-president, turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, made the reassurances on the sideline of the summit by the regional leaders of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which took place on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, issued a statement announcing that the two top leaders agreed to reach a political settlement to end the crisis within the next sixty days.
“They agreed to complete the dialogue process within the coming 60 days on what, how, when and who… (for) the formation of the transitional government,” he was quoted as saying.
The verbal event was the second face-to-face meeting between Kiir and Machar since 9 May when they signed a roadmap agreement that would guide further negotiations.
Opposition leader Riek Machar told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday after the meeting that they recommitted themselves to respect the previous roadmap agreement and further negotiate on a peace agreement.
‘We agreed to respect the roadmap agreement we signed on 9 May, recommitting ourselves to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. We also agreed on free and unhindered humanitarian access to the needy populations,” Machar told Sudan Tribune from the Ethiopian capital on Tuesday.
He said in the direct roundtable face-to-face talks with Salva Kiir in the presence of the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and a number of regional leaders, they also agreed to pull out from South Sudan the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) which is fighting alongside the government forces against the opposition forces.
“We agreed on withdrawal of Ugandan troops,” he added.
The former vice-president turned rebel leader explained that the meeting also recommitted the two leaders to inclusivity in the negotiations in which civil society organizations, political parties and faith-based groups will take part.
He further explained that the two parties and other South Sudanese stakeholders will negotiate future governance in South Sudan and reach a peace agreement in which a transitional government will be a product.
The rebels have been demanding restructuring of the state based on a peace agreement and a federal constitution, a call the government has resisted.
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