New government to be formed despite difficulties: official
South Sudan’s parties will try to meet a May 12 deadline to form a new government, despite the challenges the country faces, an official said on Saturday.
The acting executive director in the office of the president, Rizig Dominic Samuel said key requirements of the peace deal should be timely implemented, if the new government is to be formed next month.
“We believe and we know there are challenges, but we can solve these challenges,” he told reporters upon Kiir’s return from the Vatican.
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church had invited for a Vatican retreat President Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar. Also present were first vice president Taban Deng Gai and Rebecca Garang, widow of the ruling party founder John Garang.
According to Rizig, Pope Francis asked President Kiir and Machar to implement the peace agreement, despite difficulties.
“The pope also knows that the implementation of the peace [agreement] will have some challenges, but he urged South Sudanese leaders to overcome these challenges,” he said.
However, Riek Machar, who should regain his post as first vice president under the peace deal, told Reuters in Rome after attending the spiritual retreat that the government and the opposition needed another six months before forming a unity government.
The two-day retreat at the Vatican was held a month before the end of the pre-transition period of the revitalized peace agreement.
On 12 May, South Sudan parties are expected to form a transitional government of national unity. However, the September 2018 peace agreement has been met with missed deadlines due to lack of funds.