S. Sudan’s opposition rejects president’s peace offer

Opposition leader Riek Machar calls on President Salva Kiir to reconsider idea of creating administrative areas in country

Benjamin Takpiny  | 16.02.2020 - Update : 17.02.2020
S. Sudan’s opposition rejects president’s peace offer South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar on Sunday rejected a peace offer by President Salva Kiir, which includes plans to reduce the number of states to 10 and to create three administrative areas in the country. 

On Saturday, Kiir proposed to divide the country into original 10 states -- a major demand by the opposition -- in addition to the creation of three administrative areas of Pibor, Ruweng and Abyei.

The proposal was aimed at breaking a deadlock which could pave the way for the formation of a coalition government in the country.

In a statement, Machar said he opposed the idea of forming three administrative areas, saying it "cannot be referred to as reverting to 10 states."

"We, therefore, call upon President Kiir to reconsider this idea of creating administrative areas," Machar said.

The issue of the number and boundaries of the states was a sticking point raised by the main opposition group -- Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) -- as a prerequisite to its participation in a coalition government.

When South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan had 10 states as set out in the country's constitution.

Kiir increased the number of states in 2015 to 28, and later to 32. He has now announced to reduce the number of states back to 10, plus three administrative areas.

He also issued an order late Saturday, relieving governors of all 32 states of their posts.

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