South Sudan parties agree to form interim government

Leaders meet at Juba to iron out issues, agree to speed up screening of armed groups to absorb them in security forces

Benjamin Takpiny   | 11.09.2019
South Sudan parties agree to form interim government

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar have agreed to form a transitional government by the middle of November, the country’s information minister said on Wednesday. 

Both leaders, who met at the presidential palace in Juba, capital of South Sudan, also agreed to speed up screening and registration of their forces that will form the unified 83,000-force to provide security in the country.

Addressing media, Information Minister Makuei Lueth said both parties ironed out issues and agreed to establish a transitional government of national unity by Nov. 12, as agreed earlier.

Both sides had reached an accord last year that called for establishing a national unity government. But its implementation got delayed because the government had said it did not have enough money to fund disarmament and the integration of all the armed factions.

“We have made the progress since the first day. We met and discussed the security issues. The most important thing in the peace agreement is that all the forces will undergo screening and will be sent for training to become part of a national force,“ the minister said.

President Kiir said other outstanding issues will be also be resolved, as discussion between the leaders is progressing on a positive note.

He did not elaborate on the progress and remaining issues.

Machar’s deputy, Henry Odwar, told reporters the meeting discussed involvement of former top military officials Gen Paul Malong and Lt Gen Thomas Cirillo in the process. He said the peace agreement will be not be implemented without them.

South Sudan slid into crisis when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president in Dec. 2013 on suspicion of plotting a coup.

The country plunged into a civil war that has claimed tens of thousands lives and forced four million people to migrate from their homes. Both the leaders finally struck a peace deal in 2018, which remains to be implemented.

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