Amid considerable presence of ambassadors accredited to Sudan, NGOs, IGAD envoy in South Sudan, civil society organizations, local and international media outlets; South Sudan rivals signed last Wednesday an initial agreement on power-share.

The Moments before Signing the Initial Agreement:

Several of the accredited ambassadors to Sudan including the US Charge d’ Affaires, Troika, Arab and African diplomats arrived in the premises of the Higher Academy  of Strategic and Security Studies after the Foreign Ministry issued its circular announcing that the Power-share deal to be signed at 11 a.m. on Wednesday 25th July, 2018.
At 11:00 the hall was full of several media outlets to document this important event which all was waiting for; but the consultations were not completed as expected and the compromise was in continuation.
NISS Director, 1st Lt. Gen. Salah Abadallah Gosh was in shuttle movement among the South Sudanese leading figures from the government and the opposition as we learn that there were still some reservations from both sides.
According to one of IGAD mediators who came from Addis Ababa to attend the signing ceremony, the Sudanese government is assigned by IGAD to supervise the issue represented by Minister of Defence, Foreign Minister and NISS Director.
The moves of the 3 Sudanese officials with the rivals of South Sudan continued up to 4 pm after which NISS left the place, a sign which indicated that there is a breakthrough.
The moves continued from one room to another till around 5:00 pm when we were asked to go to the big hall to attend the signing of the agreement.

The Agreement:

Former Sudan Ambassador in Juba, Jamal Addin Al-Sheikh introduced Foreign Minister to brief on the contents of the agreement. Foreign Minister, Dr. Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed welcomed the representative of President Salva Kiir, honorable Lual Deng, and leader of SPLM-IO Dr. Riek Machar, Martin Ellia South Sudan Minister of Cabinet Affairs, UN, AU, diplomats and IGAD envoy in South Sudan.
The 11-page agreement covered all the outstanding issues.
On the Presidency, the agreement stipulated that during the transitional period Salva Kiir will be the president, Dr. Riek Machar as first vice president besides other for deputies.
According to the agreement there will be 35 ministers’ cabinet out of which 20 ministries to the incumbent government, 9 for the SPLM-IO, 3 for SAWA, 2 for Former Detainees and one for other political parties.
The legislative council will include 550 MPs, out of which 332 for the incumbent government, 128 for the SPLM/IO, 50 for SAWA, 30 for other political parties, 10 for Former Detainees.
On the boundaries and states’ number there were reservations so a commission of 15 members will deal with the issue to come out with a compromise, and if failed within 3 months a referendum will be conducted before the transitional period.
He said that reaching this stage was not an easy task as it took them 19 continuous days with sacrifices from all sides, lauding the role of IGAD taskforce in this regard.
According to the Minister the pending issues include the local governance which was not agreed on but he added that the proposals were forwarded by all the negotiating parties besides the mediation to reach an agreement, affirming that these (bracketing) issues is normal and could be resolved.
After that the parties to the agreement signed the documents including the government with all components, the SPLM/IO.
Other Political Parties (OPP) signed partially, SAWA expressed reservations and the Former Detainees also have their reservations, but according to the Minister they will sign later on, adding that the civil society groups will also sign.
Foreign Minister, Al-Dirdiri signed as a guarantor and IGAD special envoy to South Sudan as a witness.

Happiness and Optimism:

IGAD Special Envoy told the media that they will continue their efforts to engage all the parties to catch up with the peace process, adding that this is a great achievement in the peace dossier thanking Khartoum for its efforts. He denied that the reservations of some parts might hinder the peace process, adding that IGAD initiative was to revive the peace agreement signed in 2015, concluding that the signature of the agreement will lead to restoring stability and ending the war between the parties to the conflict, concluding that they will continue the negotiation to put the final touching on the peace process.

Official Sigh of Relief in S. Sudan

South Sudan Minister of Information Michel Makwie expressed their happiness with this breakthrough, affirming their unlimited confidence on Sudan to achieve peace in South Sudan, adding that there are foreign parties which attempted to hinder Khartoum’s efforts and make its endeavours unsuccessful, but South Sudan government supported the Sudanese government to achieve this great breakthrough.