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Breaking: South Sudan rival parties disagree on peace principles in Rome, Italy

Oct 09, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s peace talk in Rome, Italy, has kicked off the fourth round of talks between the loosely composed Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGNU) and the divided South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) on October 9th, 2020.

Sant'Egidio’s facilitator Mr. Mario Guiro hosting the Sant'Egidio South Sudan Initiative in Rome, September 9 -12, 2020(Photo credit: Courtesy/Nyamilepedia)
Sant’Egidio’s facilitator Mr. Mario Guiro hosting the Sant’Egidio South Sudan Initiative in Rome, September 9 -12, 2020(Photo credit: Courtesy/Nyamilepedia)

The talks commenced from 3pm in Rome, which was about 4pm East Africa Standard time, under the host, Sant’Egidio’s facilitator Mr. Mario Guiro .

The first session was opened with the blessing of the Holy Pontiff Pope Francis, which emphases the need to address the root causes of the South Sudan’s conflict, which is also the primary demand of the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance(SSOMA).

Speaking to the Secretary General of SSOMA, Cde. Deng Vanang, in Rome, he confirmed that the government position which advocates more for accommodation of the opposition leaders was presented by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial and SSOMA’s position was presented by General Thomas Cirilo Swaka.

“Nhial Deng Nhial followed in delivering the government position in speech, with General Thomas Cirilo Swaka on behalf of SSOMA delivering the publicly lauded best speech compared to that of the government shortly afterwards.” Said Deng Vanang in Rome.

According to Deng Vanang the government delegation refused to discuss the root causes of the conflict but insisted on its demand to incorporate SSOMA into the current peace arrangment.

Speaking on behalf of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, The IGAD Special Envoy Ambassador Ismail Wais, reiterated that the regional body will not re-open R-ARCISS for renegotiation but recommends that SSOMA should accept RTGNU’s position for possible “incorporation” of SSOMA.

“Igad special envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais showed his true color when he adamantly reiterated his usual stand not to re-open R-ARCISS but to incorporate SSOMA into it instead.” Deng Vanang said.

Speaking after the IGAD Special Envoy, the Acting Chairperson of the R-JMEC Lt. General Charles Tai Gituai reiterated the same – saying the parties should not try to reinvent the wheel.

Disappointed, SSOMA concludes that both RJMEC and IGAD support the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity or simply put, the government’s position.

“R-JMEC Acting Chairman repeated the same thing Ismail Wais stated, revealing their hidden support for the government in selling peace that is non-existent in South Sudan.” Deng Vanang continued.

Many ambassadors including the American Ambassador to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino, Ambassador Lewis M. Eisenberg of Florida, urged the embattled South Sudanese politicians to think about the suffering and the interests of their suffering populations, and not for themselves.

Ambassador Eisenberg, a prominent American financier, investor and philanthropist, mphasized the suffering of the South Sudanese people, adding that the innocent South Sudanese have suffered for more than 40 years and that their leaders should be considerate of their suffering.

“He then concluded by telling the South Sudanese to continue talking peace while they the Americans keenly listened.” Deng Vanang added.

Overall the main focus of the talks is nothing but an attempt to re-invigorate rivals parties’ commitment to the Cessation of Hostilities’ Agreement(COHA) which has been violated severals times in Equatorian region where the government forces, mixed with the SPLA-IO counterparts, have been constantly battling rival forces of  Gen. Thomas Cirilo.

The parties have signed a few Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, one in December 2017 and another at the beginning of this year in January.

The warring parties have continued to violate both agreements despites attempts by the peace guarantors, TROIKA, the region and now Europe to get parties to respect and abide by the documents they have signed.

The South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance(SSOMA) is a break away faction of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance(SSOA) comprising of disgruntled senior politicians who initially broke away from Salva Kiir government and then broke away from their initial parties .

The main members of SSOMA are the Real-SPLM, who broke away mainly from the Former Detainees popularly known as G10 or FDs; Thomas Cirilo’s faction of the divided South Sudan Salvation Front/Army(NAS), and Paul Malong’s South Sudan United Front(SSUF/A) that recently splited into SSUF-Malong and SSUF-Sunday de John.

Both the leaders of the Real SPLM, Cde. Pagan Amum Okiech, and Paul Malong of the divided SSUF/A were barred from attending the Rome peace talks.

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