Rome peace talks to resume next week, official says

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Peace talks between the government and the holdout opposition group, South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance, SSOMA are scheduled to resume next week in Rome, Italy, a senior government negotiator has said.

The talks which were being held under the auspices of the Rome-based Sant’ Egidio Community, was put on hold in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In August, President Salva Kiir Mayardit reconstituted the government negotiation team for the peace talks with SSOMA, a coalition of nine opposition parties who were not signatories of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the spokesperson of the government negotiating team, told Radio Tamazuj last Friday that the peace talks will resume on 5th October 2020. 

“First of all, I want to confirm to your listeners that the peace talks in Rome will resume soon, the delegations from all parties are ready and the talks will take place on the 5th of October next week in Rome,” he assured.

Early September, SSOMA expressed reservations over the government’s new reconstituted negotiation team saying the team was not inclusive of all parties in the transitional government of national unity. 

However, Marial said the president had reconsidered the reservations and included representatives from other parties to the negotiation team, adding that they will travel to Rome before the agreed date of talks resumption.

The holdout group (SSOMA) was not available for comment.

Despite a recommitment to ending hostilities in December 2017, ceasefire monitors accuse the parties of violating the truce and engaging in armed confrontations in parts of Central and Western Equatoria states.

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