South Sudan peace talks in Rome end in stalemate

By Deng Machol

Pope Francis kissed the feet of Salva Kiir during a prior retreat for South Sudanese leaders.Photo credit   (ANSA)

Juba – The peace mediated in Rome between holdout groups and Revitalized Unity government resumed on Friday last week ended in stalemate.

The peace talks have been pushed to 30 November 2020 after both sides failed to reach a compromise in Rome to create a conducive ground for the parties. 

In a four day discussion, the parties agree to stop the fighting.  The next round of talks will discuss the root cause of the conflict.

The Sant’Egidio-led mediation is aimed at supporting an inclusive peace agreement in South Sudan by persuading the hold-out group to join the fragile revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018.

It was between the government and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, SSOMA, who are non-signatories to the revitalized peace agreement resumed talks under the mediation of Sant’Egidio.

SSOMA is a coalition of opposition groups led by  Gen. Thomas Cirillo, former ex – army chief Paul Malong, and the former SPLM – Secretary General Pagan Amum, among others.

The political dialogue seeks to address what the opposition groups called “the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan” and facilitate further reconciliation and stability.

However, both opposition and government are optimistic to reach a deal in the next round of talk. 

The spokesperson of government delegation Dr Barnaba Marial said the parties have recommitted to secession of hostilities agreement. 

According to the statement opposition released, they described the talk as “productive discussion”.

Dr. Marial stated that they could not reach consensus on some contentious issues -especially on the type of federalism and the internal boundaries in South Sudan.

A statement by South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance – seen by this media agency– notes that the latest round of talks was just catch-up sessions to show commitment and good intentions for further dialogue.

“This round of peace talks focused on recommitment of SSOMA and R-TGoNU to Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA), participation in the CTSAMVM, and negotiation on Declaration of Principles to guide upcoming talks to address the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan,” said SSOMA, in the part of the statement.

The parties also signed a Declaration of Principle to guide the talks on the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.

South Sudan is now struggling to implement a fragile revitalized peace deal after emerging from the country’s five year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million from their homes, before it has devastated the country’s economy.

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