South Sudan to hold elections after three-years of power sharing

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar talk after signing a peace agreement aimed to end a war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed, in Khartoum, Sudan June 27, 2018. /REUTERS

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar talk after signing a peace agreement aimed to end a war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed, in Khartoum, Sudan June 27, 2018. /REUTERS

The declaration signed by South Sudanese parties states that they will share power for three years after which elections will be held.

President Salva Kiir and his rival, SPLM-IO’s Riek Machar, signed the declaration in Khartoum, Sudan. It has been christened ‘The Khartoum Declaration of Agreement between Parties of the South Sudan Conflict’.

After three days of intensive negotiations, the two leaders inked the deal on Wednesday, just days before the UN Security Council deadline of June 30.

The document provides a pre-transitional period of 120 days after an agreement on the ‘Revised Bridging Proposal’, which will be followed by the transitional government. The sharing of power will be in accordance with the Revised Bridging Proposal.

South Sudan Information Minister and government spokesman, Michael Makuei, however said on June 21 said: “Kiir is not ready in any way to work again with Machar in the next transitional government. We have had enough of him.”

The agreement also declared a permanent ceasefire throughout Sudan within 72 hours of signing based on the Cessation of Hostilities approved on December 21 last year.

The ceasefire entails agreements on disengagement, separation of forces in close proximity, withdrawal of allied troops and opening of humanitarian corridors. It was also directed that [prisoners of war and political detainees be released.

Igad and African Union states will deploy their forces to supervise the ceasefire.

The Machar side had opposed the proposal, his spokesman Mabior Garang saying: “We reject foreign forces coming into our land.”

The agreement also provides for adoption of security arrangements to build an inclusive national army, police and other security organs. The army is currently split between forces in the government loyal to Kiir and those allied to Machar in the opposition.

The 2015 Compromise Peace Agreement provided for the unification of the army after which joint patrols were to begin. This did not happen as war broke out again on the eve of the country’s fifth independence anniversary in 2016.

The new agreement also seeks to demilitarise the country by directing disarmament of civilians across the country.

The deal went through after the intervention of Igad and regional leaders, key among them being Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed and Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

The 32nd Extra-ordinary Summit of Igad heads of state entrusted Bashir with the second round of negotiations ahead of third phase talks in Nairobi under Uhuru.

Bintou Keita, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, praised Igad but stressed the need for comprehensive peace in South Sudan, not a bilateral deal between two leaders.

Representatives of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, Former Detainees and Other Political Parties also signed the agreement.

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