President Salva Kiir and key South Sudanese opposition leaders without exception have appended their signature on the agreements on governance on Sunday putting aside their concerns over the power-sharing and number of states.
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance and the FDs surprisingly were among the signatories of the agreement on the outstanding issues on governance without reservations.
Still, it is not clear why the holdout groups shifted their position and decided to join the deal. However, unconfirmed reports speak about a meeting with regional leaders who threatened to impose sanctions on the spoilers of the agreement.
The signing ceremony was attended by Presidents Omer al-Bashir, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire and Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen.
The deal was signed by President Salva Kiir, SPLM-O Riek Machar, SSOA chairman Gabriel Changson Chang, Joseph Okello for the OPP, and Deng Alor for the SPLM-FDs.
Presidents al-Bashir and Museveni co-signed the deal as grantors. While the representatives of the United Nations and African Union signed as the witness.
TALKS TO CONTINUE IN KHARTOUM
The Kenyan President Kenyatta praised the efforts done by President Omer al-Bashir to achieve the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 21005 and now to facilitate and mediate talks to end the nearly five-year conflict the South Sudan.
Further, he agreed with al-Bashir to keep the talks in Khartoum in order finalize the remaining issues which are mainly the implementation matrix of the peace agreement and the timetable for the return of the opposition leaders as well as the troops’ redeployment.
Machar, in his speech, thanked the Kenyan president for consenting the continuation of the talks in Sudan instead of moving to Nairobi as it was initially decided by the IGAD leaders last June.
He urged the IGAD, the African Union the and international community to support in the implementation of the deal, saying the evil can be behind the implementation process.
For his part, President Kiir reiterated his commitment to the deal and its “difficult implementation” and called again on the opposition groups to put aside their reservation saying in the peace talks there is no winner but “give and take for the sake of peace”.
Kiir invited the grantors, UN and regional bodies to monitor the implementation of the agreement.
He also joined Machar when he: said: “it is not enough to sign the agreement we have to implement it”.
The president further stressed that the deal is difficult to implement because of the important number of jobs it creates at the presidency with five vice-presidents, 45 ministers and 550 parliamentarians.
He said his government has no means to provide the needed accommodations in terms of offices, and mobility saying everyone would come asking for 5-10 vehicles and from certain marks.
“From where I can provide it,” he said.
However, al-Bashir reassured his anxious South Sudanese counterpart and pledged to do his best for the implementation of the peace agreement and provide support whenever there is a need.
Al-Bashir who seemed content with the agreement pointed that next September with the resumption of oil production South Sudan will have the needed means not only to provide the vehicles and residences for the transitional government but for the construction of roads and the destroyed infrastructures.
Also, he vowed that the grantors will stand by the South Sudanese parties until the formation of one army and that every citizen feels he is protected by his national army.
During the ceremony, several observers pointed to the complicity between al-Bashir and Museveni who are seen as the godfathers of the deal on outstanding issues on governance and power-sharing.
He said he considers that issues of identity and tribalism are the root of conflicts in the African continent, besides the opportunism of many African politicians who seek only their own interests.
The Ugandan president was keen to use some words in Arabic to explain his vision about peace.