South Sudan’s main opposition leader Riek Machar on Wednesday called for a six-month delay in the formation of a unity government as President Salva Kiir’s government failed to push through a peace deal, reported Reuters.
Machar’s spokesman said the rebel leader did not believe he would be able to join a unity government on Nov. 12, the deadline agreed in September following months of talks, broken ceasefires and pressure from the United Nations, the United States, and regional powers.
“It’s not rocket science that the government in Juba lacks political will to implement the peace deal,” Machar’s spokesman Puok Both Buluang said.
Buluang also said the additional time would give time to resolve pending issues. However, he said that the extension would only be worthwhile if the government released funds it had agreed to spend on implementing the peace deal.
After splitting from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan soon plunged into its own conflict at the end of 2013 after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president. Troops loyal to both the leaders clashed in the capital Juba in December 2013 resulting in widespread, shutting down oil fields, forcing a third of the country’s population from their homes and killing more than 400,000 people.
The peace deal ceased the fighting. But South Sudan’s government has said it does not have the finances to meet some of the conditions of the peace deal which include disarmament and the integration of rebels into the army.
According to the international body monitoring the ceasefire, the South Sudanese government has allocated $10 million of the pledged $100 million so far.
Both sides have also disagreed on details of the deal, including the number of states South Sudan should have. Under the accord, they have agreed to hold elections after a transition period of three years.