South Sudan: Riek Machar in Juba to salvage peace deal
South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar is in Juba to help rescue the country’s peace deal as warring parties seem to be running out of time to form a new transitional government.
The political rivals in South Sudan this year agreed on a unity government months after signing a deal to end the civil war in that country last year.
The new administration is expected to be in place by mid-November, with hopes it would end the current political crisis.
A breakdown in relations between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Machar sparked a civil war, killing hundreds of people and displaced millions.
The new deal is to provide for five vice presidents for South Sudan and protect a power sharing arrangement.
Per the deal former Vice-President Machar is expected to return to his former position. The transitional government would govern for three years.
The most recent deal was signed in 2015 but it did not help to end the conflict. South Sudan gained independence in 2011 from north Sudan but fighting broke out two years later.
“The two will have a closed door meeting at the presidential palace today (Saturday),” a spokesman for Machar’s party the SPLM-IO, Manawa Peter Gatkuot, said after the rebel leader’s arrival on Saturday.
The key issues for negotiators has been guaranteeing the safety of Machar and his troops and how to de-militarise Juba.
Reducing the number of regional states in South Sudan to an agreeable number also remains a thorn in the flesh for negotiators.