South Sudan’s rival parties to sign minutes on security arrangements

igad_talks-8da8cOctober 25, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rival parties have reached a breakthrough and are set to sign minutes of the security arrangement produced from the five-day military workshop in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in implementation of the peace agreement signed in August.

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Face to face talks between the South Sudanese government and rebels in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, resumed on 13 January 2014, with a secured a ceasefire agreement signed later that month (Photo: AFP/Carl De Souza)
The workshop attended by top military commanders from president Salva Kiir’s government and armed opposition faction led by former vice president, Riek Machar, aimed to reach an understanding on deployment of joint forces in the capital, Juba, and other major towns.

Earlier on Friday, the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), issued a position statement calling on both parties to share forces which will be deployed in Juba under a unified command.

“On the basis of Chapter II Article 5 (5.1) of the Agreement, the forces that will be deployed in Juba should be shared, unified, integrated and deployed by the shared command within 90 days of the Pre-Transition period and continue into the other agreed areas,” partly reads the IGAD statement.

The statement called on the opposition faction of the SPLM-IO, under the leadership of Machar, to sign the previous minutes which the government initialed in September. IGAD argued in a statement that the minutes were for procedural purposes, and urged the parties to address their differences in the ongoing negotiations.

An official of the opposition faction close to the venue in Addis Ababa told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that a ceremony for signing of the minutes for the security arrangements will be witnessed tomorrow at around 10am.

“There is a breakthrough. We are told that the parties will sign the minutes on the security arrangements tomorrow morning at 10am. I am not however sure about the details of the agreement,” said the source .

The two sides have been discussing sizes and compositions of joint forces, as well as assembling points.

While the government signed the previous minutes in September, SPLM-IO refused to sign, pointing to the need to demilitarize the capital, Juba, by deploying in it only a small size of joint forces with equal composition from the two parties.

It remained unclear whether the two parties have agreed in the latest negotiations to equally share the joint forces and the sizes of such forces.

(ST)

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