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Juba maintains objection to Machar’s participation in S. Sudan cabinet

May 12, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s government delegation to a recent meeting with IGAD mediators has reiterated its rejection to the personal participation of the exiled former first vice president Riek Machar in the future transitional administration.

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Riek Machar, center, walks to be sworn in at the presidential palace in the capital Juba, South Sudan Tuesday, April 26, (Photo AP/Jason Patinkin)

Juba declared its position in a consultations meeting held in Addis Ababa from May 10-12, 2018 including the government, the SPLM-IO and other groups, as the IGAD mediation on the other side has invited the stakeholders for the next peace forum from May 17-21, 2018.

"Our team met and gave the mediation our proposal giving out the way forward. We accept sharing of responsibilities and if this means a new agreement that results in the formation of the new government, we are ready for it," a member of the government delegation told Sudan Tribune on conditions of anonymity.

"We, also, made it clear that the responsibility sharing should not be a return to the conflict," he said adding the SPLM-IO "should be represented in the government if all they want is peace and stability to return instead of insisting on his participation".

However, the officials said they do not want to repeat the past experience. Also, he added that they cannot accept "people who do not agree to work (with the government) return to the same position" in allusion to Riek Machar

"Salva Kiir and Riek have taken the issues of the country personal and this makes it difficult to bridge the gap or even a consensus whenever they are given the opportunity," he emphasized.

The SPLM-IO in the past refused the exclusion of its leader from the government insisting that Juba cannot dictate who would represent the group in the interim government.

South Sudanese officials used to accuse Machar of being behind the bloody clashes that erupted in Juba on 8 July 2018 at the presidency between forces loyal to Machar and the presidential guards.

However, a UN conditional report revealed by the Associated Press in September 2016 claims that President Kiir and the then SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong Awan prepared and directed the fighting in Juba that led to the collapse of the transitional government and resumption of civil war in the country.

The consultations meeting tackled the outstanding issues in the power-sharing and the security arrangements.

In a related development, a member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance told Sudan Tribune they continue to demand exclusion of President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar from the government if the result of the agreement was to be implemented.

Here again, Juba maintains its refusal for any proposal aiming to exclude President Kiir from running in the elections that would be organised at the end of the interim period.