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South Sudan opposition calls for African Union involvement in peace talks

July 10, 2018 (JUAB) - The SPLM Leaders (FPD) chairperson Tuesday said the Khartoum round of talks for peace in South Sudan is missing transparency and inclusivity and called for more African union involvement in the IGAD-led process.

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SPLM FDs leader and former SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum (AFP/Getty)

The call comes after a statement by the SPLM-IO clarifying its position from the outcome of a meeting held between its leader and South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda presidents last Saturday, saying that its chairman Riek Machar rejected Entebbe proposal which was verbal and not official.

“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) rejected the proposal as it only focuses on accommodation of politicians and ignores the radical reforms needed in order to effect fundamental change in our country. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) is not waging a struggle for the position of First Vice President, we are waging a protracted struggle for the future of our country,” said Mabior Garang de Mabior the head of SPLM-IO information committee.

In a statement on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the Independence of South Sudan extended to Sudan Tribune Tuesday, Pagan Amum said the peace process is facing serious challenges as the regional bock now has delegated the mediation to members states that have competing interests and come with “divergent and contradicting proposals”.

“We appreciate the current efforts of Sudan and Uganda to bring peace to South Sudan. Nevertheless, we regret that the process of negotiations and consultations in this session is marred by lack of transparency and are not inclusive,” he said.

On Sunday, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and the Other Opposition Parties (OPP) issued a statement saying they had been excluded from the discussions between the three heads of states and Machar in Uganda.

On Tuesday the Sudanese mediator filled a draft agreement on the power-sharing and governance issues including all the propositions discussed in Entebbe last Saturday.

The most important point in Entebbe proposal was Kiir would accept Machar as the first vice president and in return, the latter accepts the addition of a fourth vice-president during the transitional period. Initially, Kiir strongly rejected Machar’s participation in the 30-month cabinet tasked with political and institutional and economic reforms.

The draft agreement, also gives Machar 100 seats in the transitional parliament, against 50 for the other opposition groups while the running SPLM group keeps its 400 MPs. The same for the ministerial portfolios Kiir’s has 30 ministers, Machar 10 posts and others will receive 5 posts.

Amum said time has come for action from the African Union and the international community after repeated statements calling for a lasting and inclusive peace and threatening of sanctions on peace spoilers.

“Therefore, we welcome resolution of the African Union Peace and Security Council urging “the Ad Hoc Committee” to continue pursuing and further intensifying its engagement and support to the IGAD-led mediation process;” We further urge the AU, UNSC, the Troika and EU to act now by engaging actively in support of the mediation process,” said Amum.

Following Entebbe meeting, Khartoum announced the extension of Khartoum round of peace talks until 12 July.

Initially, the discussions had to move to Nairobi on 9 July.