By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan president Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar have agreed on the deployment of all forces before the formation of the power-sharing government in November 12, this year to end the five-year conflict.
Dr. Machar arrived earlier on Monday in the company of the deputy head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and other senior council members.
Three-hours face to face talks between President Kiir and ex-rebel leader Dr. Machar focused on the discussion outstanding issues including security arrangements, number of states and their boundaries in line with the revitalized peace agreement.
This was a third time face to face meeting since they inked the revitalized peace deal with president Kiir in 2018. Machar was in Juba in October last year for celebrations to mark the signing of the deal.
The two rivals last met at the Vatican, Italy on the invitation of Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, in April this year.
South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013, when Kiir accused his former deputy-turned rebel leader for plotting a coup.
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.
With latest deal, returned Machar as the president Kiir’s first vice president, a position he held before the conflict broke in late 2013.
The two principals have broken-down the immense deadlock in the peace implementation process leading towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.
Kiir, Machar talks end the need to timely establish the security arrangements, especially on ensuring that the necessary Eighty-Three Thousand forces for the Protection of the Presidency are mobilized, trained, and ready for the task.
Speaking to journalists, the Chair of National Pre-Transitional Committee, Hon.Tut Gatluak reiterated the commitment of the two leaders to ensure that the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity is formed by November.
On the other hand, Henry Odwar – the deputy chairperson of SPLM/A-IO, reiterated that the two principals are agreed and ready to the formation of the transitional government of national unity in November.
He further described the meeting as a great sign of commitment to realization of the revitalized peace accord.
Odwar also said it focused much on deployment of the 83,000-strong force before the formation of the government of national unity.
“This evening our meeting concentrated on security arrangements, because it’s one of the fundamental provisions of this agreement and we deliberated on how we can Fast Track so that the necessary forces of 83,000 will be realized before 11th of November,” Odwar told the reporters.
However, the political expert said this will produce a meaningful outcome and put an end to the political mistrust and humanitarian crisis in the country, and that will be a great achievement.
The power-sharing arrangements under the peace deal were supposed to take effect in May, but the process was delayed by six months until November as both sides disagreed over the terms and security agreement.