Government trashes peace deal extension report

Government trashes peace deal extension report
Amb Albino Mathom Ayuel with President Salva Kiir in a past event. [Photo: Courtesy]

The government has trashed the circulating media reports that the peace partners have settled on the extension of the transitional period, pushing forward the elections.

Speaking to The City Review, Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei, said the parties are still debating the plan for ending the transitional period, and that as of now, no such deal has been reached.

Makuei, who is also the national minister for information, spoke after widespread media reports revealed that an extension of 32 months had been agreed upon by the principal peace partners, President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr Riek Machar.

According to a report by Sudan Tribune, the presidency had agreed to extend the deadline for the transitional period and the leaders had planned to engage the parties to the peace agreement for a discussion before presenting the proposals to the Council of Ministers, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), and then Parliament for a final vote on amendments.

The media outlet reported that an anonymous source who spoke who gave the information said that some parties wanted the extension to last 28 months while others wanted it to last 32 months. Meanwhile, Radio Tamazuj also reported that Ali Al-Sadiq, the acting Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, had confirmed to them in an exclusive interview in Juba on Wednesday that the presidency had agreed to extend the transitional period.

 “In Juba, I met with President Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President Dr Riek Machar, and Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi. The meetings I have had focused on the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement and the challenges ahead.”

“The remaining period is not enough for the elections to take place, so the idea of extending the transitional period came up during the discussions.” “This is what the parties have agreed on, and the president will announce it,” Ali Al-Sadiq said, as quoted by Radio Tamazuj.

But Makuei refuted the information in two media reports, terming them ‘‘unofficial’’ and geared to mislead the public.

 “We are still discussing the roadmap and people should wait until we finish the discussion. Then we will announce the outcome of the roadmap.” “We cannot declare to the public the position of the parties to the agreement now,” Makuei urged.

Additionally, yesterday Brig Samuel Chan Mut, the SSOA’s official spokesperson, told The City Review that the roadmap was not ready to be made available to the general public.

According to Brig. Chan, it would likely be released for public consumption next week after being discussed by the presidency this week.

Announcement pending

Last week, the minister for cabinet affairs, Dr Martin Elia Lomuro said the president would soon announce his plans for transitioning the country to democracy through free, fair and credible elections.

He assured partners that the peace agreement was stable and might not in any way throw the country back to conflict.

“I am aware of so many consultations going on. We will assure you again that in the next few days, you will see the president unveiling his agenda, to ensure that the peace agreement ends in an election that is free, fair and credible,” Lomuro said.

He urged the US to reconsider its decision of withdrawing her support for the peace monitoring bodies and channel funds in support of the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

“We South Sudanese have been through nearly 75 years of struggle since 1947. We have seen suffering, and we are very careful about the generations that are coming. I want to assure everyone that the peace agreement in spite of challenges is going to… end in the democratic election at the end of the transitional period,” he added.

“I am aware that everybody is concerned about how the transitional period will end, the transitional period will end with a discussion, and an agreement between the parties to the agreement.”