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NAIROBI - 18 Feb 2016

JMEC backers say 'all parties' should participate in transitional govt

A group of diplomats of nations backing the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), including the IGAD and Troika countries, met on Thursday in Nairobi where they cautioned against the formation of a transitional government in South Sudan without the participation of “all parties.”

This comes after President Salva Kiir's spokesperson announced that a new cabinet would be appointed Friday evening with or without the participation of SPLM-IO ministers. The armed opposition party have asked for Juba to be further demilitarized and for Riek Machar's bodyguards to arrive in Juba before formation of the transitional government.

The new 'JMEC Partners Group', in their inaugural meeting held today at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, said that steps to demilitarize Juba should precede formation of the new transitional government.

The diplomats called on the agreement's signatories, “once sufficiently represented in Juba”, to form a transitional government without further delay.

“In this regard, it is essential that all parties to the agreement participate in formation of the government; proceeding unilaterally would undermine the letter and spirit of the peace agreement. Issues such as the number of new states and the designation of state boundaries are best resolved within an inclusive process under the transitional government,” reads a statement issued after the meeting.

Representatives of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Chad, China, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, the African Union Commission, the European Union, and the United Nations participated in the meeting.

According to the diplomats, forming the transitional government “requires progress on agreed security arrangements for Juba, the cantonment of SPLA troops at least 25km outside Juba, and the return of SPLM-IO security forces.”

“We urge that these commitments be carried out expeditiously,” says the statement.

The JMEC Partners Group is scheduled to convene again in April in Addis Ababa, though the group also says it may also convene on an ad hoc basis as necessary.

Festus Mogae, the chairman of JMEC and former president of Botswana, was not present at the meeting, but instead was visiting Addis Ababa and on Friday is scheduled to make a report to the UN Security Council.