Joint Press Statement by SSOA and SPLM-FDs
3 August 2018
Since the “Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance” was initialed principally by the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO on the 25th of July, SSOA and SPLM-FDs delegations have been engaging the Mediation on the possibility of making some changes that will make it possible for other Parties to sign so that the document is owned by all. The discussion centred on Article 4 (number and boundaries of States) and sub-Articles 6.7 and 6.8 (National Pre-Transition Committee and its fund). Article 5.1(responsibility sharing in the States and Local Governments) was already bracketed in the initialed agreement.
On Article 4, the contentious issues were related to the composition of the Independent Boundary Committee, its decision making and the default position in the event that the IBC fails to reach a final decision. We gave several options on each of the three. For instance, we suggested that the default could be adopting the decision of the 55th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers dated 31 January 2016 or the seventy-nine (79) Counties as they stood on 9/7/2005 or the three regions or, as a last resort, arbitration.
The imposition of the 32 States was an illegality that contravened the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed in August 2015. It should have just been reversed since we are revitalizing ARCSS. Yet, we went this far because we are keen to bring peace to our suffering people. Our flexibility should not be seen to be a sign of weakness to the extent that we can contemplate legalizing an illegality by accepting a referendum as a default position. Also, in relation to NPTC, it cannot be formed by any other than IGAD since it was to work during the Pre-Transitional Period.
We met H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan who is also the Chief Mediator on 29 July 2018 and presented to him the issues we believe should be bracketed for us to be able to sign the Agreement on Outstanding Governance Issues on Sunday the 5th of August. He promised to look into these points. Yesterday, the 2nd of August, His Excellency the Minister informed us that he has made consultations with the Parties and that Juba has rejected to have our concerns taken on board and as such there was nothing he could do.
In view of this development, we would like to inform the public that we cannot sign the said agreement in its present form. However, we stand ready to ink it if and when our concerns are addressed by the Mediators as above.