The smell of peace is so close in South Sudan following the latest agreement signed between the two warring factions.
On Wednesday, President Salva Kiir and his archrival Riek Machar met and signed the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, where they committed themselves to a permanent ceasefire and pledged to finalize a deal on the pending issues in the governance chapter of the 2015 peace agreement.
In line with the declaration of principles, the peace partners agree to silence definitively their guns throughout the country within 72 hours based on the cessation of hostilities of December 2017.
Further within three days of the signing of Khartoum document resolve the outstanding issues in the security arrangements that they failed to settle during the peace revitalization forum in Addis Ababa.
Until the 30 June “the parties shall agree on all the ceasefire arrangements including disengagement, separation of forces in close proximity, withdrawal of allied troops, opening of humanitarian corridors, and release of prisoners of war and political detainees,” says the declaration.
The deal also paves the way for an economic integration between the North and South parts of former Sudan as the South Sudanese political leaders accept a joint collaboration between the two countries for the exploitation of the main source of income.
The deal was signed by President Salva Kiir and the leader of the main opposition group SPLM-IO Riek Machar and the representatives of the other opposition political groups among important diplomatic presence and media coverage.
However, the power-sharing or the governance chapter remains the main issue of disagreement because President Salva Kiir rejects that his main rival Machar take part in the transitional government tasked with the political reforms during the 30 coming months.
According to the 27 June agreement, the parties shall strike a deal on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” as soon as possible and before closing the current Khartoum Round of Talks.
However, Machar’s participation is not clearly included in the talks as it was not a problem when the peace agreement was signed in 2015. The issue emerged after the clashes of Jully 2016 in Juba and the resumption of hostilities again.
This is why the Special Envoy Wais requested the IGAD leader to “make a final decision to ensure unimpeded participation of Dr Riek Machar in the peace process”.
Khartoum Declaration of Agreement remained silent on this issue. It is not clear if the parties intend to tackle it in the third phase in Nairobi.
President Kiir and SPLM-IO remained silent on this point. Also, Presidents al-Bashir and Museveni didn’t disclose the content of the gentleman agreement reached by the two South Sudanese during a meeting held in their presence in Khartoum on Monday 25 June 2018.