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U.S. says disappointed by delay of South Sudan’s transition

From the left: Machar, Kiir , Museveni and al Burhan pose in Entebbe after the extension of the pre-transitional period for 100 days on 7 Nov 2019 (Sovereign Council Photo)
November 8, 2019 (JUBA) - The United States said disappointed by the failure of President Salva Kiir and his main peace partner Riek Machar to form the transitional government and called on the IGAD to establish benchmarks to assess peace implementation process.

On Thursday 7 November, Kiir and Machar agreed in a meeting held in Entebbe with the participation of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to extend the pre-transitional period for 100 days.

Machar refused the formation of the transitional government unless the two issues of the security arrangements and the state boundaries are resolved. He even went to warn that the ceasefire will be in jeopardy if the government is formed by November the 12th.

Kiir, for his part, is seen as seeking to maintain the status quo for the 28 states and refusing to disburse the funds needed for implementation of the costly security arrangements which will lead to form a unified army.

In a series of tweets on Friday, the Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Nagy said "Deeply disappointed" by the delay of the formation of the transitional government for more than three months.

"This inability to meet their own deadline calls into question their suitability to continue to lead the nation’s peace process," he said.

He further called on the IGAD which brokered the peace agreement and oversees its implementation to work with the South Sudanese parties to set clear benchmarks for progress during an IGAD summit.

However, Nagy thanked the regional leaders of Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda for attempting to mediate between President Kiir and Machar.

The US top diplomat for Africa called on the parties to continue to observe the ceasefire which is the only positive result after five years of war and warned against promoting a return to the war.

"We must review our relationship with the government in light of the delay. The U.S. is considering all possible options to put pressure on those individuals who would impede peace and promote conflict," he concluded.