Rome talks to resume next week

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Leaders of the holdout groups, from left: Gen. Thomas Cirillo, Gen. Paul Malong and Pagan Amum in Rome in January | Credit | Courtesy

Talks between the government and non-signatories to the revitalized peace agreement are set to resume next week in Rome, Italy.

The South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance, a coalition of opposition groups led by Thomas Cirilo, Paul Malong, and Pagan Amum, will meet with the government under the mediation of Saint’ Egidio from Monday, 5 October 2020.

According to the government’s chief negotiator, Dr. Barnaba Marial, a letter of invitation has been sent out to the concerned parties.

“…the secretary-general of Saint’ Egidio decided to inform the negotiators from both sides – SSOMA and government – that we can now resume from where we stopped,” Dr. Marial told Eye Radio on Tuesday.

The resumption of the negotiations comes more than six months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In January 2020, the parties signed a declaration in Rome to observe the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and further negotiations on root causes of political violence in South Sudan.

However, its constant violation made local civil society pressure the Vatican to organize another round of talks.

Inclusive government delegation

Meanwhile, President Salva Kiir has agreed to reconstitute the delegation to the peace talks to reflect the membership of the new transitional government of national unity.

Dr. Marial says this is after the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance complained about lack of inclusivity in the RTGoNU’s negotiation team.

“The President directed us to meet leaderships of these parties so that they can suggest for us the name of their representatives who will be part of the negotiation team,” he stressed.

Dr. Marial added that he had already held meetings on the matter with leaders of the opposition groups, including Dr. Riek Machar, Josephine Lagu, Joseph Bakasoro and Dr. Lam Akol.

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