South Sudan government under President Salva Kiir has resolved to return to 10 original States.
Kiir and his top government officials made the resolution on Saturday morning in capital Juba, few hours before a Tripartite Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The State House meeting attended by all presidential advisors, all ministers, members of the ruling SPLM political bureau and the leadership of other political parties allied to government, Members of Parliament and Council of states, decided to return to 10 states according to a statement released by the presidency.
“The Republic of South Sudan held a meeting on Saturday 15th February 2020 chaired the President Salva Kiir to deliberate on the sticky number of states and boundaries in the implementation of Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Crisis in the Republic of South Sudan,” said part of the statement.
“After a thorough deliberation in the matter and in the interest of peace and stability in the country, the Presidency resolved to return the country to 10 states and their respective counties,” said the statement.
Three administrative areas have been created including the contested Abyei, Ruweng Administrative Area and Greater Pibor Administrative Area.
Other officials who attended the meeting are Chief of Defense Forces and all his assistants, Inspector General of Police, Director General of General Intelligence Bureau, Director General of Internal Security Bureau and members of all media houses.
South Sudan originally had 10 states before the breaking of the civil war in December 2013. In 2015, president Kiir made a unilateral decision increasing the number of states to 33. Opposition strongly opposed the move and called for the return to 10 states.
The IGAD council of ministers and envoys recommended 23 states but both parties rejected it.
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar are expected to return to Addis Ababa today to conclude on the matter.
Security arrangements and the deployment of the UNMISS troops in the major towns, civilian centers, and the lifeline routes as demanded by the SPLA-IO, was also deferred to be decided today.
The 100 days extension, which was meant to buy time to resolve the contentious matters, is expiring on Tuesday.