November 21, 2019 (NAIROBI) – The recent extension of South Sudan’s pre-transitional period will not add value to the “fragile” peace agreement, a National Salvation Front (NAS) official said Friday.
The spokesperson for NAS, Suba Samuel Manase said November 7 meeting attended by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in Entebbe, Uganda was simply “another attempt to push-track the dying agreement to allow the architects of the agreement prove a point.”
“We in NAS anticipated this situation way back because we are dealing with regime unwilling to negotiate a genuine peace agreement. From the onset, the whole agreement was started wrongly, procedures used were biased, undemocratic, not participatory and coercive,” he told Sudan Tribune.
On November 7, Kiir and Machar agreed to delay key benchmarks in the peace deal by 100 days.
The Entebbe meeting was chaired by Uganda’s President Yoweri Musevei and also attended by the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka.
The delay in forming a transitional national unity government by November 12 came after the main opposition group threatened to opt-out of the deadline, saying the country’s security arrangements are incomplete.
Manase said NAS is less optimistic about the outcomes of the Entebbe meeting, saying all the negotiation strategies involved in the September 2018 peace agreement avoided looking at root causes of the conflict in South Sudan, which is a normal approach in all conflict resolution mechanisms.
“Instead, the mediators used the agreement as a document for the resolving the political differences between the president, his long term vice-president and the rest were to follow suit,” said the NAS spokesperson.
“So any attempt to correct this agreement at this latter stage can prove futile because most essential stages of this agreement has been avoided which should have generated confidence and credibility to the agreement,” he stressed.
The United States said it was “frustrated” by South Sudan’s leaders’ failure to form a unity government as scheduled, casting doubts on their ability to lead the peace process.
Meanwhile, the NAS official accused Juba of continuously violating a ceasefire accord signed in December last year.
“Since the agreement was signed in December 2018, the SSPDF [South Sudan Peoples Defense Forces] attacked our positions more than 60 times with impunity,” said Manase.
“To our understanding, the agreement has been subcontracted to Juba allowing them implement what they want, whom to work with, and who to attack,” he added.
South Sudan descended into civil war in mid-December 2013 when President Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup, allegations he dismissed.
In September last year, the country’s rival factions signed a revitalized peace deal to end the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.