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GOV'T AND OPPOSITION CONSULTATIVE MEETING CONCLUDES IN ADDIS WITHOUT BREAKTHROUGH

Addis Ababa, 21 September 2019: Inter-Governmental Authority on Development/IGAD one day consultation meeting on South Sudan concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia without a breakthrough. 

Pressure has been mounting to the parties in Revitalized Peace agreement to expedite the implementation of September 2018 peace agreement, with only three months remaining before the pre-transition period to form a government of National Unity in November. 

There was little expectation before the opening session of Wednesday consultative meeting given South Sudan's government delegation was headed by a low-level government Minister of Information Michael Makuei. 

In the recent days President Kiir has reiterated his desire that he will only make face to face meeting with rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba, source from SPLA-IO told this reporter that Machar was in Addis Ababa but not in the venue of the meeting, " Our chairman is here to give us technical guidance, he is not in the venue of the meeting" the unnamed source said. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Ismail Wais, an IGAD special envoy for South Sudan, said: “After three months and 18 days since the consultation meeting that resolved to extend the pre-transition period was held, progress has been minimal.” 

Dr. Ismail Wais further said, "So far not a single cantonment site has been operationalized although in the past few weeks there has been some encouraging progress,". 

Mr. Wais pointed out that the parties to the agreement have failed to adhere to the security arrangement to create a unified single army.  

Another point on which the signatories to the agreement have not reached consensus is the determination of the number of the states and their boundaries. 

IGAD's special envoy to South Sudan said: “The Independent Boundaries Commission has completed its work but was not able to reach on consensus on the number of states.” 

“Therefore, today we find ourselves in the same position or situation that we were in more than three months ago, hence it is once again left to the parties to have a frank discussion and chart the way forward,” he concluded. 

The Wednesday's consultative meeting is being attended by delegates from the government of South Sudanese, SPLA-IO, South Sudan opposition alliance, as well as representatives of African Union, IGAD, the UN, EU, Troika and China. 

Delegates from China, EU, AU, and Troika reiterated their calls for the South Sudan government to make the fund available to implement the Revitalized peace agreement. 

Justin S. Kwaje 

SSLN

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