Juba, January 29, 2020 (SSNA) — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) have clashed on Wednesday over best ways to handle the issue of the number of states seen as one of the key factors impeding the implementation of the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement, a reliable source with ties to the presidency says.
The source, who only agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity explained that a meeting between Kiir and JCE took place on January 29 and that the meeting was meant to try to find alternative means to resolve peace pending issues including demilitarization of main cities, budget for peace execution, unification of the opposing forces, the issue of the number of states and boundaries, implementation of the amended constitution, among others.
“They met today to discuss a lot of peace-related problems including states issue but their meeting ended in disagreement,” the source told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on Wednesday in Juba.
“JCE demands the president rejects any idea of reducing the number of states unless such a change benefits the Dinka,” asserted the source.
The Jieng Council of Elders is widely belied in South Sudan as a de-facto president of the country, raising questions whether Kiir has different agendas from those of the JCE.
The same source also disclosed that Kiir left the meeting unhappy and that he only told a few of his allies that he needs to make a decision on the states’ issue before February 22 dateline. The source further claims that it is unlikely a transitional government will be formed on the 22nd of February unless JCE changes its mind.
The South Sudan News Agency has also learned that President Kiir is worried that failure to find common ground on the pending issues, especially the security arrangements, could force the United States and other world powers to impose serious sanctions on the war-wracked young nation and individuals.
The U.S. has recently imposed sanctions on the country’s First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, causing panic among government officials.