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S. Sudan stakeholders react to IGAD document

ADDIS ABABA (AA) – Representatives of South Sudanese stakeholders, currently in Addis Ababa for peace talks aimed at ending months of fighting, are set to submit their respective responses to a document issued by the regional bloc mediating negotiations on the country's political transition.
"The agenda of the Friday plenary is the presentation of the reaction of all the stakeholders to the document, which was presented to them by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators the day before yesterday," spokesman for the government delegation to the talks, Michael Makuei, told Anadolu Agency.
"So today we are presenting our positions on the document; after the end of these presentations, we will be shown the way forward by the mediation," he said.
"It will be either they call off the sitting and come up with the third document, or they will allow us to start negotiating on the outstanding issues," he added.
According to Makuei, the document was based on demands set by all stakeholders.
"They managed to harmonize it [the document] and come up with one document," he said. "It is an all-inclusive document."
"It starts with the guiding principles [and later] goes into the system of governance, including the establishment of a transitional government of national unity and the duration of this government and its composition, mandate and competencies," Makuei said.
"It also talks about economic and financial arrangements, as well as the constitutional framework, besides the security arrangements, which include a permanent ceasefire," he added.
-Bilateral talks-
Makuei, who also serves as the government's information minister, told AA that the government delegation still preferred bilateral dialogue with the rebel coalition rather than multi-stakeholder negotiations.
"We still think we should go bilateral with the opposition – and we would," he said, adding that bilateral talks would likely expedite the peace process.
"Negotiation is the question of give-and-take. All the other stakeholders, what will they give? They only want to take. We want to talk with somebody whom we will give and he takes," he asserted.
"Not all stakeholders are competent enough to dwell on all issues," he went on. "Security is one example, with which no civil society group has anything to do."
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar, of plotting to overthrow his regime.
Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have since been displaced in fighting between the rival camps, pushing large swathes of the population into an increasingly dire humanitarian situation.
In recent months, the warring rivals have held on-again, off-again peace negotiations – mediated by the Djibouti-based IGAD – in Addis Ababa.
In June, both sides agreed to form a transitional government within 60 days – i.e., before August 10 – but failed to abide by the deadline.
The two sides are currently in the Ethiopian capital to discuss implementation of the June agreement and attempt to draw up a transitional government.
By Addis Getchew             

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