Juba expects new IGAD deadline for formation of govt

ADDIS ABABA – The South Sudanese government said Monday that it was expecting the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating talks between Juba and rebel forces, to set a fresh deadline for the formation of a transitional government in line with an earlier peace deal.

"We expect IGAD to give us another term to form [an] interim government," Information Minister Michael Makuei told Anadolu Agency.

Negotiators from both the government and rebels are currently in Addis Ababa to discuss implementation of an IGAD-brokered June agreement.

Under the deal, a transitional government should have been formed before August 10, which passed in the absence of any tangible breakthroughs.

"The first 60-day term, which was set to form the interim government, ended due to repeated suspension of the negotiations," Makuei said.

"We expect heads of government and state, who will take part in the IGAD summit, to give us some more time for the same purpose," he added.

"Currently, experts are consulting us on constitutional affairs and the formation of an interim government," he said.

The consultation process, which will continue until August 13, is "useful to reach a comprehensive peace agreement," he stressed.

South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when South Sudanese President Salva Kiir accused his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar, of plotting to overthrow his regime.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced in subsequent fighting, while large swathes of the population continue to face an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis.

In recent months, the two rivals have held on-again, off-again peace negotiations – mediated by the Djibouti-based IGAD – in Addis Ababa.

On Friday, IGAD chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin announced the resumption of talks in the Ethiopian capital, which he said aimed to put an end to "talks about talks."

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