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South Sudan gov’t, holdout opposition groups recommit to ceasefire in Rome

Photo: Government and opposition representatives signing the Rome Declaration to recommit to ceasefire

January 14th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government and holdout opposition groups have signed a document in the Italian capital Rome to recommit themselves to a 2017 cessation of hostility agreement in a move widely viewed as a step towards bringing the non-signatories to the negotiating table.

The agreement was signed by presidential envoy, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, on behalf of the South Sudan government, Gen. Paul Malong, Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka and Pagan Amum Okiech on behalf of the holdout opposition under the banner of South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA).

The three men – who signed on behalf of the opposition – are not part of the revitalized peace agreement signed by the government and several other opposition groups in September 2018. They had argued in the past that the agreement do not address the root causes of the six-year-old conflict.

The government and the opposition reaffirmed – during the meeting in Rome – their will to fostering political dialogue in order to facilitate further reconciliation and stabilization by addressing what they called “the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.”

“We agreed that the dialogue shall continue under the auspices of Sant’ Egidio in consultation with IGAD and with support of regional organizations and the international community,” they signatories said in the declaration.

The document also tasks the church to urgently convene a meeting with IGAD to discuss issues related to monitoring and verification of the ceasefire, which shall come in to effect on January 15.

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