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Sudanese parties near agreement on sticky issues ahead of peace deal

South Sudan chief mediator shakes hands with Sudanese negotiator and member of the Sovereign Council at Khartoum airporton 7 July 2020 (ST)July 7, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Tut Kew Gatluak, head of the South Sudan mediation team, disclosed that the number of seats in the legislative council allocated to the armed groups is the only sticky issue in the talks for peace in Sudan.

Gatluak left the Sudanese capital to Juba after spending more than ten days. As he arrived on 25 June flanked with a delegation of the armed groups and a number of pending issues they failed to reach an agreement on it with the Sudanese negotiating team.

Speaking to reporters at the Khartoum airport he said the two parties reached an agreement on the outstanding issues that they were unable to strike a deal on it during the videoconference meetings between Juba and Khartoum.

He pointed out that the only remaining issue is about the percentage of the armed groups in the seats of the Transitional Legislative Council.

This issue, which he described as "simple" will not affect the peace talks, pointing out that a meeting on this respect will be held on Tuesday evening between the two parties in the presence of the mediation team led by Dhieu Matouk.

The armed groups initially demanded 140 of the 201 seats of the Forces for Freedom and Change in the transitional parliament.

However, sources close to the talks in Khartoum say now they demand 90 parliamentary seats but the FFC has offered 65 seats instead of the 50 initials seats.

A previous meeting held on Monday attended by Gatluak failed to reach an agreement on this issue.

However, the chief mediator said he would convey the promising results reached in Khartoum to President Salva Kiir so that he can extend invitations to the head of states and governments in the region to attend the signing ceremony of the peace agreement in Juba.

(ST)