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Khartoum extends South Sudan talks until 12 July

Signing ceremony of the Security Arrangements agreement in Khartoum on 6 July 2018 (Photo Suna)

July 8, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign minister El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed said talks on the outstanding issues in the implementation of South Sudan peace agreement will continue in Khartoum for additional three days.

The Khartoum round of talks between the South Sudanese parties on the outstanding issues in security arrangements and governance chapters of the 2015 peace agreement was initially scheduled to conclude on 9 July.

El-Dirdeiry disclosed the extension of Khartoum peace talks until 12 July during a meeting with the European, Troika and UN diplomats in the Sudanese capital after one-day marathon talks in Entebbe, Uganda on the outstanding issues in the governance chapter.

During the Entebbe meeting, President Omer al-Bashir and President Yoweri Museveni successfully persuaded President Salva Kiir to reinstitute Riek Machar in his position as First Vice President. In return, the SPLM-IO accepted the creation of a fourth position of vice-president for Taban Deng Gai, who chairs an SPLM-IO splinter faction and currently the FVP of South Sudan.

Also, all the members of the opposition negotiating teams who were transported to Kampala for the one-day meeting agreed to increase the number of cabinet ministers to 45 of which 30 posts go to the government, 10 to the SPLM-IO and 5 to the other opposition groups.

In addition, the parliament members have been increased to 550 MPs. the current parliament 400 + 100 for the SPLM-IO and 50 for the other opposition groups.

The Sudanese top diplomat in his second meeting with Troika and the EU diplomats detailed the agreement reached in Uganda on Saturday and briefed the foreign diplomats about the whole Khartoum round which started on 25 June.

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He further said the purpose of the extension of talks until the 12 July is to allow the parties to complete all the issues on the agenda of the negotiations.

On Sunday there were reports about the rejection of the outcome of Entebbe meeting by some groups among the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, saying it accepted all the demands of the South Sudanese government especially the post of the forth first vice president.

But the South Sudanese spokesperson Micheal Makuei Lueth announced in statements from Khartoum to the South Sudanese TV on Sunday that the final agreement on the governance is expected to be signed on 11 July.

Minister El-Dirdeiry said Entebbe meetings, which also included a summit between the three heads of states, reflects the determination of the Sudanese and Ugandan leadership to work together for peace in South Sudan.

He added that the coordination between al-Bashir and Museveni led to the signing of the security arrangements agreement in Khartoum on 6 July and the compromise reached in Kampala on the principles of an agreement on the power-sharing during the transitional period.

The foreign minister called on the international community to show their support to Khartoum round so as to achieve stability, security and peace in South Sudan.

In a statement issued on 29 June, the Troika countries welcomed the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement signed on 27 June and called for full implementation of the ceasefire agreement.

However, the US ambassador to the United Nations Security Council submitted last Thursday during a consultations meeting on South Sudan sanctions regime a draft resolution providing to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and to impose targeted sanctions on South Sudanese officials accused of spoiling efforts to achieve peace.

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