Resolve outstanding issues before unity gov’t is formed: SPLM-IO

October 16, 2019 (NAIROBI) – The armed opposition faction (SPLM/A-IO) will not be part of any government formed if outstanding issues in the peace agreement are not resolved, an official said Thursday.

“Our position as SPLM/IO is that if the outstanding issues on the security arrangements (that is the training and deployment of the unified 83,000 organized forces) and the political decision on the number of states and its boundaries is not resolved,” said Mawawa Gatkouth, the SPLM-IO deputy head of the information committee.

Last month, South Sudan President Salva Kiir was quoted saying the coalition government would be formed on November 12 regardless of whether the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar returns to Juba or not.

But the Gatkouth told Sudan Tribune that any government formed on November 12 without addressing the outstanding issues is not a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).

He said the SPLM-IO is fully committed to the implementation process.

“We are asking all the parties who are our peace partners to commit fully to the implementation of all the provisions of the R-ARCSS [Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan] as well,” stressed Gatkouth.

He appealed to the regional bloc (IGAD), regional leaders and the international community to focus on the full implementation of the R-ARCSS instead of pushing for R-TGoNU’s formation on November 12.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council appealed to the parties to the revitalized peace accord to continue meeting regularly to resolve outstanding substantive issues needed for the formation of a transitional national unity government.

The Council, in a statement, said the agreement signed in September last year, is a major step forward in the peace process and offers real hope for peace and stability in South Sudan.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup, allegations the latter dismissed.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.