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President Kiir’s 28 states are obstacle to peace in South Sudan: Troika

January 24, 2016 (JUBA) – A joint statement issued by the Troika member countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Norway, has blamed President Salva Kiir’s government for insisting on the 28 states it created outside the peace agreement, saying this has become an “obstacle to peace” in the young country.

The South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

The trio countries expressed what they called “deep concern” after the parties to the peace deal signed in August 2015 failed to form a transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) on 22 January as earlier scheduled due to the outstanding issues including fate of the 28 states.

“The Members of the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) express their deep concern at delays in forming the Transitional Government of National Unity, which was due to be completed today [22 January],” reads the statement extended to Sudan Tribune from Washington.

“The Presidential Decree establishing 28 states has created an obstacle to consensus,” the statement observed.

It said the implementation of the other provisions of the peace agreement including reviving the economy and implementing critical reforms in the country depended on the formation of the transitional government.

The statement however fell short of calling on President Kiir’s government to reverse the decision on the 28 states as a violation of the peace agreement, but rather called it an obstacle which the parties could resolve.

“We urge all parties to make immediate efforts to resolve this impasse and to form the transitional government as soon as possible. It is time for leaders on all sides to put aside partisan bickering and prioritize the interests of the South Sudanese people,” Troika further urged.

Troika countries participated in the mediation and sponsoring of the two-year old peace talks between the parties including the government, the armed opposition led by former vice president, Riek Machar, former detainees led by Pagan Amum and other political parties and stakeholders in the country.

The peace agreement, directly mediated by the East African regional block, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), was signed based on the existing 10 states. However the government after signing the agreement unilaterally dismantled the 10 states and created new 28 states, saying it responded to the demand of the people.

The armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) and other opposition parties said they will not recognize the new 28 states and will abide by the peace agreement which has maintained 10 states.

President Kiir in his recent comments said he will not reverse his decision creating the 28 states, saying this was a “red line.”