South Sudan

S. Sudan’s ruling party factions in government commit to ceasefire accord

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December 16, 2017 (JUBA) - Three factions of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) in the coalition government have signed a new deal recommitting themselves to ceasefire, saying reunification of the party is key to the resolution of the current crisis.

The country’s foreign affairs minister, Deng Alor Kuol, defense minister, Kuol Manyang and petroleum minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth signed the deal.

The group, documents Sudan Tribune obtained showed, recommitted themselves to cessation of ceasefire and stressed on the need to consolidate their relationship and common endeavor.

The signatures of the ministers who signed the deal show they represented three separate factions. Notably were the faction under President Salva Kiir, faction of the former detainees under ex-SPLM secretary general, Pagan Amum and the armed opposition faction under first vice president in unity government, Taban Deng Gai.

It is not clear whether the former detainees have resolved internal contradictions in which some of its members outside the government and in foreign countries are advocating for holistic approach while those in the government appears submissive to the views of the government and those of the armed opposition faction under the country’s first vice president which supports the views of the government in its entirety, representing a major shift in the drivers of the war.

The statement also urged the fighting groups to observe and recommit themselves to the cessation of hostilities. It pointed out that the reunified SPLM agreed to revisit the SPLM constitution and manifesto to ensure the SPLM redefine its ideological direction and agreed to ensure peace and security in the country and guarantee public safety and comprehensive security sector reform and professionalization of all security sector institutions to reflect national character.

The statement says the reunified SPLM recommits to and support establishment of comprehensive transitional justice and the political bureau shall be restructured in a manner that ensures timely decision making, internal cohesion and collective decision making.

"The reunified leadership shall develop party code of ethics and disciplinary procedures to be applicable and upheld by all members irrespective of their positions," it further reads.

The factions also agreed “to convene a national Liberation Council in Juba for the purpose of endorsing the Arusha agreement on the reunification matrix”.

President Kiir, the statement noted, will work with guarantors to provide security for those who need it.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni signed the new agreement as the guarantor while Betty Kigombe and Mohammed Alamir initialed the deal as witnesses.

The meeting of the SPLM factions was held in Entebbe, Uganda from 13-15 December.

Last month, the rival factions of South Sudan’s ruling party signed a unification agreement seeking to rebuild trust and confidence among them.

The deal, dubbed the “Declaration of Unification”, was signed in Cairo, Egypt under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi and Museveni.