By Sudan Tribune,
South Sudan said Tuesday it was conducting consultations to unveil home-grown peace deal with the armed opposition leadership under former vice president, Riek Machar, with indications that Juba had rejected the peace compromise proposal from mediators of the East African regional bloc, IGAD and its international partners.
“It’s no secret that the IGAD has been less interested in allowing the parties to negotiate the terms of the agreement to end this conflict,” Mark Nyipuoch, the deputy speaker of the national assembly told Sudan Tribune Tuesday.
The senior official of the ruling SPLM party claimed that the evidence of this “lack of interest” emanated from the recent IGAD-Plus proposal which he said divided the country and polarized the people instead of working out a way to bring them together.
He said there was need to give the two warring parties ample time for direct negotiations to come up with a home-grown solution rather than through imposed solution by the mediation.
“Bringing the two parties is a positive thing depending on the approach. A mediator is never a negotiator,” he said.
He strongly criticized the IGAD mediation for allegedly doing the same thing over and over again while expecting the same result.
“They are just working around the previous proposal and each time they come out, they give more divisive proposal,” he further claimed.
The parties, he said, should be allowed to negotiate so that they are able to reach an agreement to end “this senseless conflict.”
He said the government and the SPLM leadership were capable of ending the war with the rebels through peaceful dialogue without the help of the regional mediators.
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“Riek Machar himself can negotiate directly with government without the involvement of any third party mediating the way to resolve this conflict. He [Machar] did that with the government of Sudan when he broke away from the movement in 1991 and then went and signed the 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement and when he returned to the movement [he did the same],” Nyipuoch further stressed.
He added that the two agreements which Machar previously signed with Sudanese president Omer Al Bashir and late John Garang were never negotiated with the involvement of any third party.
The presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, separately told Sudan Tribune said president Kiir was still consultating with different groups and stakeholders in the country in order to come up with a unified position in response to the proposal of IGAD-Plus.
President Kiir, Ateny said, has also been soliciting ideas and inputs from independent opinion leaders and consulting leaders from all the 10 states in the country for guidance.
Ateny, however, revealed that despite the aforementioned continued consultations, the government had already rejected the regional proposal, claiming that the deal did not give the two sides an opportunity to sit down and negotiate over the contentious matters.
A host of outstanding issues on governance, security arrangements, various reforms, wealth sharing, accountability, justice and reconciliation as well as power sharing have remained unresolved between the two parties.
A face-to-face direct negotiations between president Kiir and opposition leader Machar collapsed on 6 March when they could not agree on almost every contentious matter in the negotiations to end the 20-month long civil war.
The two parties are expected to submit to IGAD-Plus results of their respective consultations by 6 August.