“Unreasonable” demands delaying unified army formation: Kiir

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August 17, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan president Salva Kiir has attributed the delay in the formation of a unified military command to the “unreasonable demands” made by the opposition.

The unified force of instructors pose for a group photo in Juba, October 5, 2019 (Xinhua)

He cited the 50-50 representation demanded for by armed opposition groups.

The South Sudanese leader said reports from the Joint Defence Board (JDB) indicate some of those seeking representation do not have forces on the ground and have directed the negotiating team to expedite the process.

He accused other parties of using equal representation to recruit fighters with the view of wanting to bolster their military ranks.

“They want to use it as an instrument for recruitment, which is against the agreement. It is not what is in the agreement. These are unreasonable reasons, but I like I have always said, I will not be the one to derail the implementation of this agreement so that others with their own interest and agenda take advantage of the situation and use it as an opportunity to return the country to war. I have asked Tut [Gatluak] and those responsible for discussions to move fast so that the unified command is formed and to pass out those in the training camps as soon as possible”, a presidential source told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

Last week, President Kiir called for the immediate unification of the command of the forces and directed the country’s First Vice President, Riek Machar and Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol to present their list of nominees for the unified command.

The unified command consists of South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, South Sudan National Police Services, National Security Services, National Prisons Service, Wildlife Forces and the Civil Defence Forces.

Some opposition officials have accused President Kiir’s party of delaying the security arrangement implementation, citing their demand for 60% representation in unified force and 40% to the other parties.

Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, a member of the armed opposition under the First Vice President Riek Machar asserts that the negotiations have stalled because Kiir’s faction has refused to equal representation, pointing to 60 percent of the total number of the unified forces in contravention to the terms of the agreement.

“It was agreed that the new national army is to be formed of an equal number of troops from the two sides. The SPLM In Government (SPLM-IG) provides a half and the other signatories a half,” Gatkouth told Sudan Tribune in an interview Tuesday.

“However, the SPLM-IG now refuses to implement this agreement and demands to have 60% and the other signatories only get 40%,” he added.

The revitalized peace agreement calls for the establishment of unified forces made up of 83,000 soldiers to take charge of the country’s security during the three-year transitional period.

(ST)

Source: sudantribune