The United States warned on Monday it will not accept any transitional unity government in Juba which excludes Riek Machar, leader of the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army-in opposition (SPLM/A-IO).
Thomas Hushek, U.S ambassador to South Sudan, said the warring parties must get their act together and implement some of the significant outstanding issues before the Nov.12 dateline for forming the unity government.
“When we talk about the unity government in terms of the peace agreement, this peace agreement is where the mandate for the government will come from and if you don’t have that unity government coming together, where will the mandate of the unity government come from?” Hushek told journalists in Juba.
President of South Sudan Salva Kiir late September threatened to form the transitional unity government without Machar citing intransigence on part of the rebel leader as both leaders are left with only a few days before November.
The two leaders recently met in Juba for face-to-face talks where they agreed to speed up screening and registration of their forces as they enter the over 30 cantonment sites across the country.
The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018, recently invited the warring parties for further talks in Ethiopia to help speed up implementation of outstanding issues that include transitional security arrangements, determination of number of states and boundaries but it flopped as they never turned up.
“They need to be talking about settling this outstanding political issue of determining the number of states. Despite the promises and announcements by President Kiir and Machar, that they had asked their members to be negotiating this matter those negotiations are still-born,” said Hushek.
The envoy also disclosed that he already reached out to Thomas Cirilo who leads the National Salvation Front to join the peace process and pursue his political objectives through non-violent means.
South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after Kiir sacked his deputy Machar leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to respective leaders. Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government. The warring parties failed to form the unified force by the Sept. 30 deadline. Enditem