February 9, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan peace talks have stalled over a text mediators and opposition officials want added to a provision that authorizes levying punitive measures against individuals who violate the peace process.
- South Sudan information minister Michael Makuei Lueth shakes hands with Lam Akol during the revitalization forum on 19 December 2017 (ST Photo)
The parties, multiple sources attending the ongoing talks said, also failed to reach a consensus on governance and security sector reform matters.
Government officials at the talks told Sudan Tribune on Thursday that they agreed on many issues, but were unable to sign the agreement on declaration of principles because their team rejected a text which says peace violators should be sanctioned.
“It is true talks have stalled, resulting in the failure to sign an agreement on the declaration of principles. We have failed to reach an agreement because of one paragraph in order to sign the declaration of principle. The session went into late evening yesterday without consensus and was adjourned. We resumed today without success as well”, a senior government official said on Thursday.
“Our disagreement with other stakeholders is one paragraph. It is the paragraph which says the United Nations should punish individual violators and spoilers. This was created by troika and the aim is to use it for UN Security Council sanctions. We cannot accept that”, added the official, who is also part of the government negotiating.
The government side reportedly also rejected a text to seal declaration of principles and a proposal approved by all the other stakeholders to reduce the size of parliament, preferring expansion.
The mediators, it is said, decided to form a mini-committee to discuss and find remedies to the deadlock on the two issues.
The second phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum opened Monday after the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement poorly enforced by the warring parties.The second phase will discuss the implementation of a permanent cease-fire which is part of the peace agreement, elaborate a revised and realistic timeline and a schedule towards general elections in the country at the end of the interim period.
South Sudan has been mired in conflict between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels led by ex-Vice President Riek Machar since December 2013. The conflict has killed tens of thousands and displaced almost over 2 million people from their homes, including over a million refugees who have fled into neighbouring nations.