Altaghyeer: Khartoum

Mediators and latest intervention by Uganda succeeded in saving South Sudan’s power sharing agreement, which is mediated by the government of Sudan, from collapsing, and managed to convince those who previously rejected it to finally sign it.

It was brought to Altaghyeer’s knowledge that the Ugandan minister of defense, who arrived at Khartoum Sunday morning, engaged in closed negotiations with leaders of parties and groups opposing the agreement, including the leader of the opposition coalition Lam Akol and the leader in the group of ex-detainees Deng Alor.

The parties previously refrained from signing a provisional draft of a power sharing agreement, which was signed by the government of South Sudan and the main armed group led by Riyak Mashar. And held reservations about terms pertinent to representation ratios in the government at districts’ level, the number and borders of states and how to conduct the referendum scheduled before the formation of the interim government.

The Ugandan mediator convinced the opposing parties of signing the agreement after accepting the inclusion of their observations and reservations in brackets within the agreement, a suggestion that they managed to persuade President Salva Kiir Mayardit to accept despite his previous continued refusal.

Signing was delayed from its scheduled time for 6 hours in order to dissuade opposing parties and enable the participation of the Ugandan president in the ceremony after the insistence of the Sudanese president- who is mediating between South Sudanese parties to the conflict- on hid attendance.

Hundreds of South Sudanese gathered at the signing venue at Friendship Hall in Khartoum since early morning, dancing to the sounds of drums and demanding the agreement be signed and the war be stopped.

The South Sudanese president confirmed that his country had left the war for good after signing a power sharing agreement. And called the rebels to come home and work together to execute the agreement “the country is now open to welcome you as citizens to get involved in the political process, and I assure you that no one will be detained or murdered, and I will work with towards the implementation of this agreement”.

In the same context, rebels’ leader Riyak Mashar stated that he is committed to the agreement and its execution and turning a new page in the relationship with Salva Kiir, but he came back to invite the international community and IGAD countries to watch the implementation of the agreement step by step. And he added “we have signed agreements in the past that we didn’t commit to, but this time we will abide by this agreement and won’t go back to war again”.

The signing ceremony was attended by a number of presidents of IGAD countries, including the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Djiboutian Ismail Guelleh, Ethiopian deputy prime minister, Somalian prime minister, representatives of African Union, European Union, United Nations and United States of America.

Parties to the conflict signed a framework agreement last June providing for a comprehensive cease fire after 80 days of signing the final agreement and the formation of a three-year interim government with the sole function of preparing the country for free and fair elections involving everybody.

South Sudan witnessed a devastating civil war at the end of 2013 after disputes between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his ex-vice president Riyak Mashar that led to the death and displacement of millions of people.