July 17, 2018 (KHARTOUM-JUBA) – Sudanese mediation team Tuesday announced that an agreement has been reached on outstanding issues of governance and the signing ceremony will take place on Thursday.
But, the South Sudanese government spokesperson Michael Makuei said the Sudanese mediators will give them the final draft agreement on Wednesday and they will determine their position accordingly.
On Monday Makuei voiced strong reservations on the text but said the final decision would be taken by President Kiir. For his part, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) spokesperson Kwaje Lasu said they were preparing a written response rejecting this proposal.
The proposed deal reduces the cabinet members to 35 ministers but creates a vice-president position for the SSOA. Also, it keeps the number of the legislators at 550 members.
The Sudanese foreign ministry issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying an agreement on outstanding issues of the governance chapter has been reached and the agreement will be initialled on Thursday.
The statement further said the agreement will be initialled on Thursday 19 July and formally signed on 26 July in a ceremony attended by the IGAD head of states and governments.
In response to the different statements, the mediation said they didn’t receive any rejection from the parties to the process when the proposal was read in a meeting held at the premises of the talks on Tuesday.
But it pointed out that they received some improvement notes.
“The appropriate notes will be included to the agreed text and the parties will receive the draft final agreement on Wednesday,” further reads the statement.
According to the IGAD special envoy to South Sudan who played the role of the chief mediator, there was a disagreement on three issues in the governance chapter: the number of legislature members, the number of the states and the responsibility sharing ratio in the executive and the states.
JUBA SAYS NO DEAL YET
Information Minister Makuei said no agreement has been yet reached because none of the parties accepted to sign the draft deal extended on Monday by the mediation.
He added that the Sudanese foreign minister told the different delegations, they received concerns from several parties but nobody rejected the deal. So he said they will look on it and give the negotiating delegations the final document to be initialled on Thursday 19 July while the formal signing day will be on 26 July.
So, the final draft will be given to us tomorrow (Wednesday) and by next tomorrow, if we agree we sign it and if we do not agree we will not sign it
The minister did not give more details about their concerns but on Monday he blamed the mediation for amending what had been already agreed and coming up with new proposals that have never been discussed before.
The opposition alliance in a four-page text to the mediation seen by Sudan Tribune detailed their notes stressing that their position had been ignored by the mediation during the revitalization process.
The position paper said they had been promised they would get the position of the deputy speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly or the Speaker of the Council of States. but in fact, they got none
The same on the federalism, the opposition umbrella also wondered that a provision on the matter was agreed in the Preamble of ARCSS however they do not understand why it is being avoided.
On the leadership of the National Legislature, the alliance said they had been promised with the SPLM-IO they will get either the deputy speaker.
Further, on the presidency, they alliance said they would prefer to see it based on regional representation. For the NTLA they said they prefer to have a parliament with “only 250 members up from our original 170”.
“The proposal falls short of addressing the main concerns of SSOA. Therefore, we present this response in the hope of continuing to discuss these issues so as to find a fair and just way forward,” said the SSOA.