June 21, 2018 (JUBA) – The SPLM-IO leader, Riek Machar has called for a comprehensive approach to achieve peace in South Sudan and rejected the current handling of the negotiations by the IGAD mediation.
Machar met for the first time since two years on Wednesday with President Salva Kiir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to discuss the outstanding issues in the implementation of the powersharing chapter of the 2015 peace agreement.
Reports after the closed-door encounter said the there was no progress in the outstanding issues.
In a statement released Thursday, the head of SPLM-IO National Committee for Information and Public Relations Mabior Garang said the meeting was cordial and the two leaders discussed the prospects for peace in broad terms.
He added Machar criticised the current model of negotiations adopted by the IGAD Secretariat which holds workshops for the parties and then make proposals for the parties to endorse it
“The imposition of an agreement on the parties will not work and all the opposition groups have rejected the recent “Bridging” proposal as not reflecting any of our positions,” Mabior said.
Instead, Machar proposed to revisit and use a model adopted by the IGAD during the talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM in Naivasha process which led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005.
“The CPA model allowed the warring parties to discuss amongst themselves what the problems and possible resolutions should be, with an IGAD Secretariat to record the areas of agreement between the parties,” Machar said according to the statement.
The other opposition groups complained that the mediators brushed aside their position papers and only considered the positions of the government in its proposals.
Also, during the face-to-face meeting, sources say the two leaders had opposed positions on many issues and that President Kiir reiterated his position that he prefers to see the SPLM-IO appointed as First Vice President another person but not Machar.
The IGAD Council of Ministers have concluded its meeting in Addis and the head of states and governments would meet this evening in Addis Ababa.
The outcome of the two meetings may be released tonight or tomorrow morning.