SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE (SSOA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 24 July 2018
Contact: Kwaje Lasu
South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) would like to issue this statement to update the public on the status of the current IGAD brokered talks taking place in Khartoum.
1- On Wednesday the 18th of July 2018, the Parties to the negotiations were served with a final draft agreement on Governance to be initialed the next day in a ceremony. The delegation of the regime in Juba communicated to the Mediators in writing that it was not prepared to sign the document that day. The Mediators decided to go ahead with the initialing ceremony regardless of whether the Juba regime initialed or not.
2- On Thursday the 19th, everything was set for the initialing ceremony. SSOA and other delegations were ready to initial the document at 5:00 pm local time. However, at about 5:15 pm, the waiting delegations were surprised to know that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan who is the Chief Mediator was holding a hurried press conference in another hall nearby in which he told the media that he had just received a letter from the Juba delegation stating that “they would want to be part of the process” and accordingly – he continued- he had decided to postpone the initialing ceremony. The delegations dispersed without direct communication from the Minister or his staff.
3- On Saturday, the 21st of July, the mediators met the delegation of SSOA to discuss the way forward regarding the talks. They said that Juba would like to revisit the draft agreement on the number of states and representation of the Parties at the State and Local levels of government. Juba would want to maintain its illegal 32 States and would not like to have SSOA and other Opposition groups represented at sub-national levels of government.
4- Our position is crystal clear. Whereas, we did not like some parts of the draft agreement, especially, the Presidency and bloated Parliament, we were ready to initial it with reservations because it included, inter alia, the very provisions the Juba delegation would want to expunge.
5- We would like to reiterate here that the 32 States were imposed in contravention of Articles 1.6, 15.2 and 15.3 of Chapter I of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) which the mediators are revitalizing. It defies logic to insist on an illegality while trying to work out another agreement. What better chance will it get, especially that the region is bent on maintaining the status quo?
6- Even the idea of an Inclusive Boundaries Commission (IBC) was a concession from us to help reach an agreement. However, it was conditional on four important points: (a) the IBC must be formed and complete its work within the Pre-transition, (b) its decisions shall be by consensus or a qualified majority, (c)- its membership shall include the Parties and non-South Sudanese, and last but not least (d) in the event that the IBC fails to reach a decision, the default position shall be as in the decision of the 55th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30-31 January 2016. That is, the ten (10) States.
7- SSOA delegations will continue to engage in the peace talks but will not compromise on fundamental issues related to our suffering people.
FDP; NAS; NDM; PDM; SPLM-FDs; SSNMC; SSPM; SSLM; SSUM; UDRA