South Sudan’s main opposition group SPLM-IO will not take part in the transitional government should the deadline for its formation not be extended for an additional six months, an official said.
SPLM-IO youth league leader Puot Kang Chuol told Radio press on Monday that they are not willing to be part of the unity government in May.
“The [peace] agreement says we must canton the forces, train, and redeploy them together as a unified national army, unified national police and unified national security,” he said
He added, “We cannot form a unity government without achieving the unification of forces stipulated in the agreement. That is our basic reason.”
The armed opposition official said time has gone and there was no way the parties can accomplish all these activities in less than two weeks.
“Our position is that the government should extend the time, provide the resources to do what is enshrined in the agreement, and then we form the government. A government that all of us as South Sudanese will believe in, trust and say it is for all of us,” stated Chuol.
Chuol, who is also a member of the national pre-transitional committee, said forming a coalition government without proper security arrangements is a violation of the 2018 peace deal.
“Without a security arrangement, how will the government tell refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPS) to return home while there is no complete peace in the country? The argument that our people will lose hope is not true. What people need is a complete peace and stability,” he stressed.
He added, “If not, they [refugees and IDPs] will continue to live in the camps and PoCs [Protection of Civilian sites]. We are not helping our people; rather we are just playing with their intelligence”.
Riek Machar, who should regain his post as first vice president under the peace deal, told Reuters that the government and the opposition needed another six months before forming a unity government.
In September last year, South Sudan’s arch-foes signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
The peace accord provides for a new transitional government in May 2019 before elections three years later.