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 Kiir, Machar in talks to end stalemate over security 

By Simon Deng
President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President Riek Machar are holding discussions to end the deadlock over the security arrangements, a senior official assured donors on Thursday.
Bol Makueng, Secretary for External Affairs of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IG). A party led by President Kiir, said the two principals are already consulting each other on how to move forward on the peace deal’s implementation.
On March 22nd, the main-opposition SPLM/A-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) under Machar withdrew from the security mechanisms, citing “unprovoked” attacks on it’s positions by South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF) which is under president Kiir.
The SPLM/A-IO also rejected the three positions within the army and police offered to it by President Kiir.
“We will be communicating among ourselves because this country belongs to all of us, the First Vice President is promising that they will work hand- in -hand with President Salva Kiir, so that they avoid taking this country back to war,” Makueng told journalists after meeting envoys for the United States, Norway, and United Kingdom in Juba.
The opposition wants 1:1 ratio within the unified army command it claims was agreed upon by the parties during peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum in 2018.
“We have come to the conclusion to do things that are pending in the agreement, some of the challenges were pertaining to security arrangements, especially the unification of forces and that is already near finishing,” said Makueng.
Makueng also noted that one of the main challenges they are facing is the fact that SPLM/A-IO has huge number of senior -ranking officers than private officers, thus making it difficult to quickly integrate them into the unified armed forces.
“There were situations of misunderstanding, miscommunication which will be corrected when we are able to communicate among ourselves at Presidential level, and at all levels of political parties,” he revealed.
Kuol Atem, the SPLM Secretary for Political Affairs, corroborated Makueng’s statement, saying that the various parties to the 2018 revitalized peace deal are consulting each other, on how to conclude the outstanding issues mainly the security arrangements.
“The President and the First Vice President are in consultation, the President decreed the unification of (army) command which was rejected, but that will be resolved and the command will be one,” said Atem.
The transitional period is set to end in February 2023, and yet several critical tasks including the graduation of the unified forces, the enactment of the permanent constitution and establishment of transitional justice mechanism are yet to be implemented.

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