JUBA, South Sudan
South Sudanese warring parties to a peace agreement have failed to agree on how many states the country should have, going into the peace agreement and beyond, observers said Wednesday.
A two-day meeting held in Juba, overseen by the Deputy President of South Africa David Mabuza and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special envoy to South Sudan Ismail Wais, ended in deadlock Wednesday.
The parties are now narrowing to only two options on the number of states, Mabuza told reporters.
“Where we are now we have nudged all the parties and we are only left with two views and these two views, we are going to escalate them,” he said.
He did not reveal what are the options.
“It took us sometimes and we thought we should not rush into a point where there is consensus but I can say, for the whole country to know, for people of South Sudan to know that we are almost on the verge of finding one another,” he said. “We are going to finalize the issue of the states and the boundaries in the next 10 days.”
According to opposition leader Lam Akol Ajawin, the meeting was looking for a win-win situation after the parties failed to compromise on the number of states.
“What is important now is that there is a proposal to arrive at some figure between 10 and 32 states,” Ajawin told reporters.
The Minister of Cabinet Affairs Dr. Martin Elia urged parties to the peace agreement to end the “political game” on the number and boundaries of states.
The number and boundaries of states were among the tasks to be completed within the pre-transitional period.
President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar recently extended for the second time the pre-transitional period by 100 days to allow for the completion of the remaining tasks.
The parties failed to implement the security arrangement such as cantonment of forces, screening, reunification, deployment and the agreement on the number of states and boundaries during the first transitional period that ended in May./aa