South Sudan leader calls for calm after delay in formation of unity gov't

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 9, 2019
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JUBA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Friday called for calm amid fears of renewed violence after he and ex-rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to delay a much-awaited unity government by 100 days.

Kiir and Machar met in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Thursday where the two agreed to postpone the formation of the transitional government of national unity by more than three months, beyond the Nov. 12 deadline.

"My dear people, countrymen and women, I know the extension does not give assurance about security in South Sudan and it does not help to reduce your suffering," Kiir told reporters in Juba upon arrival.

"The 100 days extension is endurable if that will stop the return of South Sudan to war," said Kiir, noting that the decision to delay the unity government was the immediate option to rescue the September 2018 peace deal and stop the country from going back to war.

"I call on the army and other organized forces to maintain peace and accept my orders not to return South Sudan to war," Kiir said. "I call upon the parties to agreement be patient and accept the decision of the guarantors."

After failing to form the transitional government in May, signatories to the pact agreed to delay it until Nov. 12, but they again pushed it to February 2020 over unresolved security issues such as reunification of the rival armed groups and formation of a joint protection force.

The peace deal provides that South Sudan must form a unified national army of 83,000 troops before a transitional unity government is formed by November 12.

But the process has been marred by delays over lack of funds and logistical constraints, raising fears of a return to full-scale war if the shaky peace deal unravels.

"I will continue to engage all of you on the progress of the implementation of the remaining critical tasks of the agreement in the 100 days extension," the South Sudanese leaders stressed.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Machar leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to both leaders. The conflict killed tens of thousands and displaced millions both internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after the outbreak of renewed violence in July 2016 forcing Machar to flee the capital. As part of the peace deal, Machar with four others is expected to be reinstated as first vice president in the unity government. Enditem

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