South Sudan rebels urge Kiir to respect pact

2015-08-27 19:31
South Sudanese troops loyal to President Salva Kiir pictured at Bor airport after they re-captured it from rebel forces. (Samir Bol, AFP)

South Sudanese troops loyal to President Salva Kiir pictured at Bor airport after they re-captured it from rebel forces. (Samir Bol, AFP)

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Juba - A spokesperson for rebels in South Sudan expressed doubt Thursday that President Salva Kiir is committed to a peace deal he signed the previous day. There were no reports of fighting on Thursday.

While rebel and opposition leader Riek Machar is happy that Kiir signed the compromise agreement, the long list of reservations cited by Kiir signals "a lack of commitment," said James Gatdet Dak, a spokesperson for Machar.

"[Machar] thinks these are unnecessary and he says these were discussed during the mediation ... so there is no need to bring them up again," Dak told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Nairobi, Kenya.

The peace pact, designed with regional leaders mediating and backed by the international community, calls for a transitional government of national unity to be established within 90 days. Machar is expected to return to South Sudan's capital, Juba, as Kiir's deputy.

Machar used to be the vice president until he and Kiir had a falling out and the conflict erupted in December 2013 along ethnic lines.

Kiir, who signed the deal under threat of UN sanctions after declining to do so alongside Machar last week, said he has concerns about the deal's provisions for power sharing and the demilitarisation of Juba. Kiir had wanted to be able to determine the powers given to his two deputies, and he opposes the opposition being allowed to appoint two state governors.

National elections will be held in 2018 at the earliest, according to the agreement.

The US has urged both sides to honour the pact, warning of consequences for those who return to arms, and watchdog groups want strong international monitoring of the peace deal to be backed by the threat of sanctions for any violations.

Read more on:    riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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