South Sudan Rebels Sustain Power-Sharing Deal After Setback

  • Group will discuss concerns with government during transition
  • More than 10,000 people have died in war that began in 2013

South Sudan’s main rebel movement said it will push ahead with a delayed power-sharing deal to end a two-year civil war even as it opposes the government raising the number of regional states to 28 from 10.

The group led by former Vice President Riek Machar has instructed peace-deal monitors to assist with implementing security arrangements for the capital, Juba, during the transition, according to deputy spokesman Nyarji Roman.

“We reached an agreement that we had to move forward with implementation,” he said Tuesday by phone from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. “We will establish the transitional government of national unity and then we’ll engage in dialogue with the government regarding the 28 states.” The security for the interim government could be in place by the end of the month, he said.

Fighting broke out in oil-producing South Sudan in December 2013 after a power struggle within the ruling party split the army. It’s left tens of thousands of people dead and forced 2 million to flee their homes. President Salva Kiir and Machar signed a deal in August to end the conflict by forming a transitional government that would last for 30 months until elections. Rebels had previously said the new-states plan violated the pact, which was based on the original 10-region nation.

Added Instability

A failure to establish power-sharing, which should have occurred 90 days after the Aug. 28 deal, has added to instability and worsened the humanitarian situation, Festus Mogae, the former Botswanan president who’s overseeing the agreement, told the African Union’s security panel.

African governments should take “emphatic, stern measures” against South Sudan’s leaders and the 28-states decree shouldn’t postpone the transition, he said, according to a speech published Jan. 31 on the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission’s website.

“This violation of the agreement by the present government should not be allowed to demolish the entire structure of the peace process,” Mogae said. “Vital economic, humanitarian and transitional justice processes are contingent on the formation of the new government.”

The parties should form the transitional government and form an “inclusive, participatory national boundary commission” to review the decision to expand the number of states, the African Union Peace and Security Council said in a statement e-mailed on Tuesday.

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