NO NEW TERMS OF NEGOTIATION WITH THE SPLM-7, SAYS GOV’T
by Koang Pal.
February 17, 2014[JUBA] — The government delegation taking part in the peace talks in Addis Ababa says it will not set new terms of negotiation with the 7 SPLM leaders who have joined the talks as a third bloc.
Last week, 7 politicians who were released in the custody of the Kenyan government told IGAD that they would join neither Dr. Machar’s group, nor the government.
The spokesperson of the government delegation, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the government is in Addis Ababa to negotiate peace with those that took up arms only.
Mr Makuei told Eye Radio in Addis Ababa that the talks are between the government and Dr. Riek Machar’s group.
He said he was not officially informed of the participation of the 7 SPLM leaders.
“Any other person who has not taken up arms, we will talk with them inside South Sudan, because they are not in conflict with the government,” he said.
“The seven who were released have even refused to join the rebels; they are not a party now to the rebels. So they have nowhere to fit in.
“They are saying ‘we’re not part to the rebels, so we don’t need to accept them, we did not bring them’. When I am officially informed, I will have a response to that.”
The spokesperson of the 7 SPLM leaders, John Luk Jok told the press in Addis Ababa last week that they aim to broaden the search for a lasting solution in the country by taking part as a separate team.
Mr. Luk said they are joining the talks through IGAD’s invitation and the status of the detainees’ agreement signed by the two parties in January.
“Of course we were not involved in the military aspect of it, and since our role has been recognized by IGAD and the two parties – the government and the armed group in the SPLM – it’s very important,” said Mr Luk.
“Then we came in now to play our role as recognized, because the two parties signed a document saying they believe that these people [ the 7] can have a positive role to play in the resolution of the conflict.”
Last week, the deputy spokesperson of the SPLM/SPLA –in Opposition, Yohanis Pouk, told Eye Radio that although they believe the 7 politicians are part of their team, they would respect their decision to participate as an independent bloc.