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South Sudanese will not accept to review 32 states : Kiir

President Kiir shows the governance agreement to the crowd at Juba airport on 6 August 2018 (Photo SS presidency)
August 6, 2018 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir said South Sudanese will not accept to review the 32 states but stressed that the revitalized peace agreement now has been signed and no one can contest it.

Despite the signing of the power-sharing and governance in Khartoum on Sunday, two groups from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) voiced their rejection of the deal.

They want that change of the territorial administrative system to be effective during the transitional period and not be settled through the Independent Boundaries Commission and ultimately a referendum if this special mechanism fails to settle it.

In his speech at Juba airport after his return from Khartoum Kiir was keen to wave the "Red File" of the signed agreement and to show it to the crowd who came to welcome him after the signing of the agreement on outstanding issues of governance.

"The red file, I am showing you is the peace agreement. I want you to see it once again. This is the peace agreement signed by all opposition groups, and if there is someone saying the agreement is not yet signed, he or she is a liar".

The South Sudanese president pointed to a discussion, probably the meeting of 8 July in Entebbe, between him and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar in presence of President Omer al-Bashir and Yoweri Museveni about the contested 32 states. He added that he told him people would not accept the dissolution of the current system.

"I told him that you have stayed in Pagak which is part of Maiwut. But if you tell people there that they will be annexed to Nassir, they will fight. If you tell Lou Nuer that Bieh should be annexed to Akobo, nobody will accept it, so I told Riek that my brother, you are just playing with fire," he further said.

Kiir further said that Machar had to drop his demand for the reestablishment of the 10 states and in return, he accepted to appoint him as the first vice president.

The discord between the government and the opposition groups was on the issue of self-rule that opposition groups see as the best guarantee to protect themselves from the "Dinka domination".

At the same time, they reject the "illegal" 32 states because it was imposed by President Kiir alone after the signing of the 2015 peace agreement while the issue had to be determined by the parties during the transitional period.

Also, the contested 32 states are rejected by the opposition groups because it does not protect the other ethnic groups from the "stranglehold" of some ethnic groups that control the power in Juba. They call for larger regional entities with more administrative autonomy and financial resources.

Until now, there are no official statements from the international community and the Troika countries that facilitate the process. Only, the United Nations chief who welcomed the governance deal "as an important step" towards a lasting peace in South Sudan.

"The Secretary-General urges all parties to work in good faith and demonstrate their commitment to fully implement and to finalize the revitalized ARCSS as soon as possible," further said the Farhan Haq, UN deputy-spokesperson.

Also, Human Rights Watch Associate Director- Africa division Jehanne Henry praised the agreement saying it presents an opportunity to move forward with much-needed accountability for atrocities committed during the war.

"The government should make it a priority to cooperate with the African Union Commission on the Hybrid Court for South Sudan by immediately signing the agreement to set up the court,” she further stressed in statements to Sudan Tribune on Monday.

President Kiir said the government negotiating team are still in Khartoum to discuss the implementation modalities, after what all the signatories will return to Juba.

"Within very few weeks, they will join us here, so that will be the time we will celebrate in a bigger way," he told the crowd.

(ST)