S. Sudan optimistic of resolving outstanding issues amid delay fears

South Sudan on Wednesday said it’s on course to resolve all the outstanding issues within the remaining three months of the extended pre-transitional period agreed upon by the warring parties amid regional and international concern over delays in peace implementation.

Mawien Makol Ariik, foreign affairs ministry spokesman, said they are aiming at completing the crucial part of cantonment of forces by October and then will conclude the remaining issues like determination of the number of states and demarcation of tribal boundaries which are being undertaken by the Technical Border Committee (TBC) and Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC).

“We are still working on outstanding issues that are not done yet and we hope by October we will have accomplished some of these things like cantonment of forces and form the transitional unity government by November,” Ariik told Xinhua in Juba.

This follows the recent statement by the troika countries that include Britain, U.S. and Norway urging the warring parties to meet regularly to help speed up peace implementation process before the deadline of November 12 when the government and the opposition are expected to form the transitional unity government.

In July 2016, the transitional unity government collapsed under the 2015 peace agreement following the outbreak of renewed fighting in the capital Juba which forced Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), to flee Juba. The government also said that it was open to the idea of President Salva Kiir meeting Machar regularly in Juba to speed up peace implementation process.

“The position of the government has been quite clear on this that any other meeting that will take place between the two leaders can only be in Juba. So the possibility of the President (Kiir) meeting with Machar in Addis Ababa is not agreed on up to now,” said Ariik.

According to experts, the regular interface between the two leaders is aimed at providing the required leadership and cohesion in the peace implementation process.

Oil production in South Sudan has of late peaked to 175,000 barrels a day from less than 130,000 barrels a day due to prevailing peace after the government and opposition groups signed the revitalized peace deal in September 2018 in Ethiopia.  –Xinhua

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