South Sudan begins 3rd round of peace talks

South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with former rebel leader and First Vice-President Riek Machar (L) after a new unity government was sworn-in, Juba, South Sudan, 29 April 2016. South Sudan President Salva Kiir named a new unity government sharing power with former rebel leader Riek Machar, ending a conflict that erupted since mid-December 2013. According to peace agreement, the interim government will govern for the next 30 months before holding general elections. EPA/PHILLIP DHIL
South Sudan President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with former rebel leader and First Vice-President Riek Machar (L) after a new unity government was sworn-in, Juba, South Sudan, 29 April 2016. South Sudan President Salva Kiir named a new unity government sharing power with former rebel leader Riek Machar, ending a conflict that erupted since mid-December 2013. According to peace agreement, the interim government will govern for the next 30 months before holding general elections. EPA/PHILLIP DHIL

The third round of peace talks between South Sudan’s conflicting parties started on Monday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

This round of talks “discusses some issues that have not been resolved in the document of the peace deal signed on August 5,” said Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Ahmed.

“All South Sudanese parties are taking part in this round, scheduled to end on August 19,” added Ahmed.

He expressed optimism that the parties would settle those issues and reach a comprehensive peace agreement.

Meanwhile, South Sudan Information Minister, Michael Lueth, said the outstanding issues to be discussed during this meeting include powers of the president and vice presidents.

Other issues are representation in the judicial authority, as well as revision of the country’s administrative division and naming of new ministries.

He said these issues were not complicated and could be resolved within hours if necessary seriousness is provided.

Earlier, a South Sudanese opposition alliance demanded reconsideration of the administrative division of 32 states.

In October 2015, South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, issued a decree dissolving the Council of the States, which operated under the administrative division of 10 states, and establishing 28 states.

In January 2017, Mr Kiir issued a separate decree establishing additional four states.

South Sudan’s conflicting parties signed a final deal on August 5 in Khartoum on power-sharing and security arrangements.

The deal was signed by Mr Kiir, major opposition leader Riek Machar and representatives of other South Sudanese opposition factions.

It stipulates that Mr Kiir will continue his post during the transitional period, while Mr Machar will be the first vice president among the four vice presidents from different political parties.

Under the agreement, the transitional cabinet would be composed of 35 ministers, including 20 ministers from the government, and nine from Machar-led Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The deal stipulates a transitional national legislative body composed of 550 members, with 332 from the government and 128 from the SPLM-IO.

South Sudan has been witnessing a civil war since December 2013, which has killed about 10,000 and displaced millions of others.

In another development, at least 23 people have been killed and 52 others injured during fresh tribal violence in the western South Sudanese town of Tonj over the weekend, a local government official said on Monday.

The violence started on Friday after four local pastoralists from the rival Dinka tribe were killed during a foiled cattle raid, Tonj State Minister of Information James Dak said.

Dak said the community of the slain herders launched a counter attack on a neighbouring community which they suspected to have carried out the failed raid, leading to scores of causalities.

He said calm has since returned to the region after a joint military force made of army soldiers and police was deployed.

“After the clashes ended on Aug. 11, we confirmed a total of 23 people dead and 52 wounded from both sides,” Dak said. “Calm has returned to the area and there is no major security threat.”

For decades, livestock-related violence has been a major challenge among pastoralist communities in South Sudan as thousands of people are estimated to have been killed in violent cattle raids.

(Xinhua/NAN)


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