February 2, 2015 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese government says Monday’s agreement signed with rebels in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia could result in the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity in the country by April.
- South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, speaks to reporters in Jonglei state capital Bor on 25 December 2014 (ST)
Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth described the deal as a “milestone”, although certain contentious issues are yet to be discussed.
“We also agreed that on the 19th of this month, the principals plus the negotiating team will go back to Addis to go and continue talking and reach the final agreement not later than the fifth of March this year,” he told reporters in Juba on Monday.
“Up to the end of March  the negotiators will continue to work out the implementation modalities and by the 30th of March, all the proceedings, the whole agreement would have been signed so that the pre-transitional period starts on 1 April,” added Lueth.
The minister said the two warring parties did not agree on who will deputise South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, although the government delegation proposed “two vice presidents with equal status”.
Mediators from the East African regional bloc (IGAD) proposed that the first vice presidency be held by armed opposition leader Riek Machar, replacing the incumbent, James Wani Igga.
However, the proposal attracted fury from the Greater Equatoria region governors who rushed to the venue of the peace talks in protest against the proposal. They demanded that Igga be maintained as the second most powerful politician in the country.
Lueth said the government has proposed that two deputies be appointed.
“The government is saying there is no need for first president and a vice president. We are saying there will be two vice presidents with equal status, so that their competencies are delegated to them by the president in accordance with the provision of our constitution,” he said, adding that both sides remained fully committed to the inked agreement.
“All that we signed was the cessation of hostilities. All the other resolutions were resolutions of the African Union summit,” said Lueth.
“This time [we] are committed to respect and abide by provisions of the agreement,” he added.