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SPLM-IO leader declines consultation meeting on South Sudan’s state numbers

Kiir (R) speaks with Machar during the signing ceremony of the revitalized peace agreement on 12 September 2018 (UNMISS Photo)
February 13, 2020 (JUBA) - The SPLM-IO has rejected to participate in a consultation meeting convened by South Sudanese presidency on Friday.

The South Sudanese government on 12 February issued a statement calling on the government, speakers of the two chambers of parliament, state governors religious leaders and dignitaries for a consultation meeting to take place at the presidency on 14 February.

Also, all the peace signatory groups were conveyed to the meeting which comes in line with a request made by President Salva Kiir to consult "his constituents" before to report back to the IGAD Chair on 15 February on the compromise proposal to form 23 states in the country.

The SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar in a statement issued Thursday said that Kiir requested to consult with his own constituents and not with the parties and stakeholders signatory to the revitalised peace agreement.

"The SPLM/SPLA(IO) and parties not allied to President Salva’s party are therefore not included in the said consultations," Machar stressed.

He recalled that the government and the other signatories of the revitalized peace agreement have already failed to strike a deal over the number of states and boundaries through an appropriate mechanism designed in the peace agreement to resolve the issue and the recent South African initiative.

"The matter cannot be again brought back to the parties who have failed to reach an agreement many times before," stressed the leader of the main peace partner group.

On 9 February the IGAD head of states recommended holding a tripartite meeting between Presidents Museveni, Kiir, Prime Minister Hamdok and SPLM-IO chairman Machar.

The tripartite meeting agreed that President Kiir upon his request will consult in Juba on the 10 states proposal as the IGAD Council of minister recommended to choose either the 23 or the 10 states.

At the end of his statement, Machar voiced his support to the reestablishment of the 10state territorial administrative regime in the country.

"Finally, the SPLM/SPLA(10) welcomed the recommendations of the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) of 10 states, the recommendation of the IGAD Council of Ministers of 10 or 23+1 states and the outcome of the Tripartite Summit of the three Heads of State and Government of 10 states".

Reached by Sudan Tribune, SPLM-IO deputy media official Manawa said that they did not abandon their initial of the 23 states.

"We didn’t abandon our position but we agreed that to the compromise for the sake of the Peace Agreement".