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President Kiir (Right) and his First Vice President Riek Machar (Left).

Peace monitor encourages South Sudan parties to resolve ministerial dispute

South Sudan’s peace monitors have encouraged President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President Riek Machar to quickly resolve dispute over the sacking of two ministers before it derails implementation of the outstanding issues within the peace deal.

Kiir and Machar were expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the ministerial changes but the meeting was postponed to Friday.

“Revitalized Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) welcomes the decision of the President and the First Vice President to meet and discuss the issue of the removal of the minister of defense and veteran affairs, and the swapping of the two ministries,” RJMEC said in a statement issued in the South Sudan capital of Juba on Thursday.

RJMEC urged the parties to observe the letter and spirit of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) which it said is founded on collaboration, consultation, and agreement between the parties.

“If there is a deadlock between the parties to the agreement, a referral can be made to RJMEC pursuant to Article 7.11 of the R-ARCSS to engage the parties with a view to finding a compromise or recommending measures to break the deadlock,” it disclosed.

RJMEC noted that it is important for the parties to resolve the issue as soon as possible, so that the peace agreement can continue to be implemented in a timely manner before the extended transitional period expires within less than 24 months from now.

On March 3rd, Kiir sacked Angelina Teny the minister of defense and veterans affairs and also wife of Machar.

He also relieved the minister of interior Mahmoud Solomon without providing reasons.

Kiir also swapped the two ministries prompting Machar’s party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in opposition (SPLM-IO) to protest the decision, arguing that it violated the peace deal which calls for collegial responsibility within the presidency.

Under the 2018 revitalized peace deal, Kiir’s SPLM-In Government controls the ministry of interior while SPLM-IO is in charge of the ministry of defense and veterans affairs, but this has been reversed meaning the SPLM-IG is now in control of the defense ministry while SPLM-IO is in charge of the interior ministry.

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