“Critical tasks” were pending in the way of forming a transitional government in South Sudan, said the special envoy of East Africa’s eight-nation trade and security bloc on Sunday.
Ambassador Ismail Wais exposed the stark reality in his report presented to the 69th extraordinary session of the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Council of Ministers meeting, held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The meeting follows an IGAD ministerial consultative meeting with the parties of the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) signed in September 2018.
“14 months ago, the parties agreed to an eight-month pre-transition period that would lay the foundations for the formation of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).
“Critical tasks for the formation of R-TGoNU — mainly on transitional security arrangements, as well as determining the number and boundaries states — were still pending,” Wais said.
Just two days ago, the government of South Sudan and country’s People’s Liberation Movement/Army – in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) agreed to extend the pre-transition period by another 100 days in a meeting convened by Uganda’s leader in Entebbe.
The government of South Sudan wants to structure the future of the country into 30 federal states, while the opposition insists on 10 states.
According to an outcome document of the IGAD ministerial consultative meeting with the parties to the R-ACRSS, the government army and opposition forces need to withdraw their soldiers from civilian sites and populated areas.
The document “noted with concern that some civilian centers still remain occupied by SSPDF and SPLM/A-IO forces”.
South Sudan slid into crisis when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president in December 2013 on suspicion of plotting a coup, followed by a protracted civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and forced 4 million people to flee their homes.
Before a 2018 peace deal, five years of fighting between the two leaders crippled the country, with millions displaced and almost 400,000 people dead from violence and disease.