The regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which mediated South Sudan’s revitalized peace agreement has denied approving 23 states plus the contested Abyei region.

This afternoon, South Sudan Facebook users circulated reports that the regional entity has approved the 23 states proposed by opposition groups and regional mediators.

“To end the impasse over the number of states and their internal boundaries, the IGAD Council of Ministers has approved 23 states, one of the outstanding critical tasks, which has hindered the formation of the unity government,” one report said.

“IGAD Council of Ministers approved 23 states today in Addis Ababa. IGAD Heads of State and Government now in session likely to endorse the 23 states. It is over,” it added quoting ex-Machar spokesman James Gatdet Dak.

However, in a statement, IGAD executive secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu said they have not discussed the issue and that South Sudan’s peace process will only be discussed by the heads of state and government.

“We did not discuss the number and boundaries of states in South Sudan. All in respect of the peace process will be deliberated by the heads of state and government,” he said.