A fresh round of IGAD-led talks in Ethiopia, which began last week, was seen as the last chance to bring about peace in the war-torn country.
However, despite some signs of progress, the negotiations were deadlocked and called off on Wednesday evening after both sides rejected a power-sharing deal proposed by IGAD.
Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, in his closing remarks said the peace talks made some modest progress and thanked the South Sudan Council of Churches for facilitating the dialogue.
The government in Juba unequivocally rejected any proposal seeking to remove the incumbent first vice president.
The current first vice-president, Taban Deng Gai, was appointed after President Salva Kiir sacked his former first deputy, Riek Machar, who left Juba following fighting in the capital in July 2016.
In a statement from Addis Ababa on Wednesday, South Sudan’s Information minister, Michael Makuei said the government’s position on the IGAD peace proposal will not change.
“The removal of the first vice president and the vice president, and sharing of reasonability are the main areas of disagreement” Makuei said.
In his part Mr. Manawa P. Gatkuoth, deputy head of the SPLM-IO’s committee for information, told journalists at the venue of the peace talks on Wednesday that the IGAD’s draft proposal would maintain the current status quo in South Sudan and was therefore unacceptable.
He argued that the proposal would hand more powers and a lion’s share of key positions to the current government in Juba.
“We proposed that the country should adopt a federal system but the IGAD proposal ignored it and supported the government position” Manawa said.
“We reject the proposal that maintains the current 32 states because it is a clear violation of the 2015 peace agreement and the 2011 constitution,” he added.
The top opposition official said all provisions of transitional security arrangements in the IGAD draft proposal is also not acceptable to his movement.
He pointed out that they had demanded for the formation of a lean government based on federalism.
The opposition alliance also rejected IGAD's peace plan, citing the difficulties it would face to approve it.
Emmanuel Aban, a leading member of the alliance told journalists that they will only account for 10 percent of all positions and this was a non-starter.