South Sudan said the recent move by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to suspend the formation of a transitional government of national unity by more than three months will not affect implementation of the peace deal.
Mawien Makol Ariik, foreign affairs ministry spokesman said the country is seeking regional and international support to help the parties complete the critical pending pre-transitional tasks.
“We will still express our desire to our allies and friends that what we are doing here is on a track to implement the peace. We have not diverted completely from the deal so 100 days is not a violation. So we are telling America and others that we still need your support,” Ariik told Xinhua in Juba.
His remarks came after U.S. government through the State Department said on Wednesday it was “gravely disappointed” with South Sudan over the failure to form a unity government by a Nov. 12 deadline, saying it will “reevaluate” its relationship with the world’s newest country’s government.
The U.S. said it would also seek “to establish a new paradigm to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan” with others in the region.
“We are still urging the United States government that we are very committed to our mutual cooperation, we will continue to demand U.S. support in our efforts to bring lasting peace in South Sudan,” said Ariik.
“We have to work very hard to make sure that these 100 days can’t also go by without achieving any tangible results on our outstanding issues that are pending implementation because we can’t keep extending,” Ariik added.
Kiir and Machar last week agreed to postpone the formation of a transitional government of national unity by 100 days in a bid to iron out contentious issues like security arrangements, number and boundaries of states alongside constitutional amendment.
On Sunday, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers backed the 100-day extension to allow the parties to use the opportunity to make extra progress on critical targets before forming an inclusive unity government by February 20, 2020.
In May, the warring parties failed to form the transitional unity government and agreed to a six-month extension before the formation of the much-awaited transitional unity government on Nov. 12.
South Sudan has been suffering from a civil war since December 2013 that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead and an estimated 4 million others displaced.
A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after the outbreak of renewed violence in July 2016, forcing Machar to flee the capital.
Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government. Enditem