Bloc welcomes South Sudan’s decision to reduce to ten states

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 19, (Xinhua/GNA) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, has welcomed the recent decision by the South Sudan’s government to reduce states to ten as South Sudan President Salva Kiir stood down from his stance on 32 states, paving the way for the creation of a transitional government of national unity.

The statement was made by the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ismail Wais, as he welcomed the recent decision of the government of South Sudan to revert back to ten states.

“This is pivotal for the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) and our quest for lasting peace in the Republic of South Sudan.
“I congratulate the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Government of South Sudan for taking a bold decision for the sake of the country,” an IGAD statement quoted Wais as saying.

The IGAD Special Envoy also called on the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) to form the R-TGoNU at the end of the one hundred days extension.

He also urged the South Sudanese to work together in good faith and spirit of compromise in the few days left before the end of the one hundred days for the sake of peace in South Sudan.

Last week, a senior African Union (AU) Commission official had also expressed optimism that South Sudanese factions would establish a transitional government before a new, extended deadline expires in 12 days.

“As we speak, we are still working on the last issues remaining, that is the issue of numbers of the states,” AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui told a press conference last week at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the just-concluded 33rd AU summit.

“We are hopeful this issue (number of South Sudanese states) will be solved, and we can secure the transitional government within the remaining 12 days,” Chergui said.

The 55-member pan-African bloc had recently called on all South Sudanese parties to “unequivocally” adhere to the extended deadline of 100 days for the formation of an inclusive Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

The world’s youngest nation descended into civil war in late 2013 following a conflict between Kiir and former vice president Machar, creating one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace deal that was signed in August 2015 collapsed after renewed violence in the capital, Juba, in July 2016.

Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government.