In accordance with the peace agreement, the national parliament in Juba and the armed opposition’s national liberation council in Pagak would ratify the accord a week after signing of the peace deal so that implementation of its provisions can begin as an endorsed document.
South Sudanese rebels said they will ratify it by Thursday so that the next step of implementing the security arrangements would start in a workshop to be organized by IGAD in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where senior military officers from the two warring parties will participate in.
Speaker of the national legislative assembly in Juba, Magok Rundial, told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that peace and reconciliation has been placed as the top agenda of all activities of public institutions in the country but warned that the peace deal could be rejected by the parliament if found to have infringed on the national sovereignty.
"The parliament can reject it if it infringes [on] sovereignty, why not. The sovereignty is not about individuals. It is about the country and it cannot be compromised whatever differences and it is the responsibility to every citizen to protect it,” warned Rundial before pointing out "unity of the people and the country was paramount.’
The top legislator, who will lose his position in December according to the peace agreement, however said he hoped ratification of the deal would allow the rival forces to cease fighting in violation of the permanent ceasefire declared by the rival leaders after appending their signatures.
“We know this peace has been imposed which means there is something behind it. We can reject it but still those who will suffer will be our people who have always paid the price of political differences over issues they do not know,” said parliament speaker Rundial, stressing that president Kiir and the government cared much about the lives and the suffering of the citizens and so wanted to put an end to the conflict.
President Kiir and the government, he said, want this conflict to stop and the leadership of the assembly stands ready to mobilise the members to go back to their constituencies immediately after the agreement is ratified to sensitise and educate the people and the state governments as well as local people in their different capacities, whether as community leaders, youth, women to support the implementation of the agreement.
Rundial explained that the assembly was waiting for day when the deal would be presented to the house by a representative of the executive organ of the government. He blamed the executive for the delay in tabling the peace agreement before the parliament.
“The members are waiting for the day when it will be tabled. We are told it will be tabled soon, may be this week or next week. There is no fixed date. May be this is because the concerned institutions are preparing to present it,” he said.
“We don’t know the date yet but what we know is that it will be tabled because this is a requirement in the agreement. Once it is tabled, it will follow normal parliamentary procedures. The members will be divided into groups of specialised committees to study the agreement chapter by chapter and word by word in order to understand every single word and context before they can come up with the final resolution on the adoption of the agreement,” Rundial further explained to Sudan Tribune.
Analysts however predict that the parliament will have no other option but to ratify the peace agreement, owing it to the same heavy international pressures which made it possible for president Kiir to sign it on 26 August in order to avoid tough measures on the young nation.
They say the contradicting signals on whether to ratify it or not could only be meant to temporarily try to appease voices in rejection of the peace deal as the government is divided with some senior political and military officials opposed to the agreement.
The Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday organizes a tripartite meeting with his Sudanese and South Sudanese counterparts to discuss ways to settle the outstanding issues and implement border and security protocols agreed between the two countries since September 2013.
In press statements before to leave for Moscow, Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour underlined to importance of the visit, pointing that Russia is an important actor on the global stage and has strong economic relations with Sudan.
"Sudan looks for a bigger Russian role in the resolution of the outstanding issues between Khartoum and Juba," Ghandour said in an interview with Russian news agency Sputnik before his departure.
"At every opportunity, Sudan confirms its commitment to have good relations with the South Sudan. Thus, Sudan accepts any initiative or mediation aiming to repair relations between Khartoum and Juba, especially when it comes from a country like Russia" he further said according to the Sudanese official agency SUNA which also published the statements.
The initiative comes as Juba government has signed a peace agreement with the rebel leader and former vice-president Riek Machar ending the 20-month long conflict in the new country and paving the way for more internal reforms since its secession from Sudan in July 2011.
Khartoum recently expressed dissatisfaction about the slow implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. Officials pointed that the only implemented protocol is that one of oil exportation.
Sudanese and South Sudanese government trade accusation of support to rebel groups from both sides.
Also Khartoum says Juba stopped the implementation of the security agreement and the deployment of joint forces in a buffer zone on the border.
According to an agreement reached by the two head of states last year, the minister of foreign affairs from the two countries co-chair a coordination committee tasked with the follow-up of the discussions and implementation of the different protocols of the cooperation agreement.