A South Sudanese presidential aide on Monday belittled accusations that President Salva Kiir was hindering security arrangements implementation to strengthen his grip on power stressing his full commitment to the revitalized peace pact.
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President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in Juba, October 20, 2019 (PPU)
"President Salva Kiir is not at all an obstacle to the implementation of the peace agreement," said Presidential Adviser for National Security Affairs Tut Gatluak in response to statements by SPLM-IO Spokesman Manawa Gathuoth about his refusal to implement an agreement providing to from the new unified army on an equal share of troops.
Gatluak told the Sudan Tribune that Kiir "made it a personal commitment" to ensure the enforcement of the security arrangements and form the unified national army from the signatory groups.
"There is a political will from his Excellency the President of the Republic, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice-President Dr Riek Machar. They have directed the mechanisms to speed up the discussions. This shows there is a strong will at the leadership level," he said.
The IGAD Chair Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was in Juba for talks with President Kiir and his First Deputy Riek Machar over the stalled implementation of the security arrangements but he failed to bridge the gaps between them.
The presidential aide further said that Kiir had directed the chief of defence forces and members of the Joint Defence Board to tour the training centres of the joint troops to assure them of the government’s commitment to implement the revitalized peace agreement.
With regard to the share of the parties in the composition of the new army, he said the matter would be tackled through the joint mechanism. Also, he pointed out to progress made in the discussions by the reconstituted Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission.
"Everything is progressing well, and we are confident that our brothers in the mechanisms will expedite the discussions and we are hopeful that soon this will see the leaders form a unified command," he added.
SPLM-IO said they are ready to accept the IGAD proposed solution that the army command be formed of 45% from the former opposition groups and 55% from the government forces. However, they insist on equal share for the troops.
Military officials in Juba told Sudan Tribune that the high ranking military officers are not enthusiastic for equal representation.
Source: Sudan Tribune