Kiir sets preconditions for resumption of Rome talks with Gen. Cirilo


South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has put down new preconditions for resumption of the Rome peace negotiations with holdout opposition South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) led by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka saying the opposition leader must first answer certain questions.

South Sudan’s minister of presidential affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin who is also the chief negotiator for the government negotiating team at the Rome negotiation said General Thomas Cirilo is not serious in the talks that are meant to bring to an end the ongoing conflict in the Equatoria region saying Cirilo must first answer why he violated the ceasefire agreement.

“There are reasons which ceased the talks [and] until answers are found to those reasons then the issue of halting the talks is not the problem, the problem is, give answers to why [you] violated the ceasefire we have agreed,” Marial said.

“If we get the answers that are convincing to the people of South Sudan, and the government; then definitely the talks will continue because what we want and what the government wants is peace,” he added.

South Sudan’s Kiir government withdrew from the Rome negotiation on August 30 after a high-way attack resulted in the killing of at least five people including two Catholic nuns and President Kiir alleged that General Thomas Cirilo’s National Salvation Front (NAS) was behind the highway killing.

Kiir said at the time that the National Salvation Front (NAS) was taking advantage of “the government’s desire for the inclusive peace process to respect the agreement as a weakness” to attack and kill innocent citizens along major roads in the country.

General Thomas Cirilo later dismissed the claims that he was behind the highway killing saying “The statement is irresponsible, false, misguided, revealing yet again the lack of sympathy for the lives lost, and the usual wish to keep the country in a state of perpetual war and insecurity as the President prepares to launch a military offensive on SSOMA’s members’ position.”

“SSOMA holds the regime of Salva Kiir responsible for the highway robberies and killings in South Sudan. The road ambushes in South Sudan have increased dramatically, especially on Juba-Nimule road,” the SSOMA statement said.

“The government on several occasions has been displaying criminals suspected to have been behind these road ambushes and kidnappings on national TV. Most of these criminals, unfortunately, are members of SSPDF and the Tiger Division, the President’s personal bodyguards.”


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