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SPLM reunification separate from peace revitalization: official

December 4, 2017 (JUBA) – A senior members of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM), which now split into three different factions, has clarified that the reunification process is a separate initiative from the revitalization of the peace accord mediated by regional leaders.

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Daniel Awet Akot (ST)

Daniel Awet Akot, who advises President Salva Kiir on military related matters, said revitalization forum would involve all armed and non-armed opposition groups in the country to chat the way forward to end the war, while the reunification process was only for the SPLM.

“Revitalization forum is a separate arrangement by IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] from SPLM reunification process. But the objective is the same. It is to stop war and return the country to peace. People are saying the current situation started within the SPLM and so they are saying SPLM should reconcile and unite,” Akot told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

He added, “That was what the Arusha agreement was trying to do”.

According to the top SPLM official, already in place is a team comprising of all groups to complete reviewing the document and come out with a time line for implementation of the 2015 Arusha agreement.

He said the group under the South Sudanese, President Salva Kiir was now working with other regional leaders to help with trust and confidence building in order to speed up the reunification process.

Last month, two rival factions of South Sudan’s ruling party signed a unification agreement to rebuild trust and confidence among them.

The deal, dubbed the “Declaration of Unification”, was signed in Cairo, Egypt under the auspices of the Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni Kaguta.

The declaration signed in Cairo is considered an important step in supporting peace and ending the war between the factions in South Sudan, which is a political entry point for the return of refugees and displaced persons to their areas of origin.

The various political factions involved also agreed that the Egyptian General Intelligence Service would coordinate with the signatory parties and follow up on the implementation of the agreement.

The Cairo Declaration, which contained names of Pagan Amum, a former political detainee and South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang, is widely expected to speed up implementation of the 2015 Arusha accord.

In January 2015, delegates from three factions of the SPLM party signed a 12-page agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, laying out key steps toward reunifying the party. The faction loyal to President Kiir, the SPLM-in-Opposition led by former First Vice President, Riek Machar, and a third made up of party officials detained when the conflict began in December 2013, signed the accord.

The SPLM, South Sudan’s ruling party, was initially founded as the political wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The party, in the aftermath of the civil war that broke out in the country in mid-December 2013, split into the SPLM-Juba faction headed by Kiir, SPLM-IO led by Machar and that of the former political detainees.

(ST)